Bird friends, perfect spring fare

Just outside our bedroom window, a bird family has set up camp in a gutter. For the most part, I'm thrilled by this as I love watching them fly to and fro. However, they talk as much as do Jack and Oliver; I mean seriously, the amount of chatter is unreal and at all times of the day and night. Oliver woke up at some horrible in-the-5s time this morning, and I finally put him in bed with me. At one point, he asked, "what is that noise?" The birds. Sheesh.

In a state of queasy dizziness, I got both boys to school this morning with bookbags properly packed and teeth brushed. Since then I have been flat as an unleavened pancake in bed, falling in and out of sleep. This is really a bummer. And I suspect it means I won't be back in the kitchen today as I'd hoped. Instead, I'm daydreaming about meals to be enjoyed later this week when it's supposed to be definitely warm and definitely sunny (unlike today's 20-degree swinging between clouds and chill and "partly-sunny" nonsense): Spring, for the love.

Shaved asparagus and zucchini salads sound fresh, crisp and marvelous. I love springy veggies that exude tiny pops of crunch and water when you bite into them and sever their cellular structures. The same goes for spring peas, tiny turnips and bright little radishes. All of these items pair well and look lovely alongside salmon, whether you poach, roast or grill it. And don't forget the abundance of fresh herbs this time of year- wow! Mint, basil, chives, dill, thyme, sage, rosemary, tarragon, parsley, cilantro. Blend them with abandon and you won't be sorry.

Lemon always screams spring to me too even though it's an ingredient I incorporate year round. A lovely lemon pound cake with a simple lemon glaze is a perfect dessert and often one that tastes better the next day. Anyone planning to celebrate a mom this Sunday, keep lemon cake in mind for a great brunch/lunch finale. Kids of all degree of pickiness will gobble it up too. And fresh lemonade is easy and versatile: add some ginger, or basil, or mint. Add some seltzer for a spritzer or some liquor for a kick.

I've got recipes posted for all of these foods, so get cooking, and have fun!