Magnificent day, gremolata

Wow! It is beyond glorious here today: 70s, blue skies, windy, sunny. Perfect! I spy buds on the uppermost reaches of our tulip tree, tiny arugula sprouts are up, and I've weeded, trimmed and mulched two of my flower beds. I adore being in my yard- other than the rare transportive book, it's really the only time I'm able to leave literally everything behind me. I don't bring my phone, and I don't miss the email ping. If I'm working while the kids are playing with a sitter, I almost forget I have them. Have I eaten? Who knows. I am immersed in the immediate now, and it is time I treasure and attempt to make more time for. I'm about to go post the recipe for the sweet potatoes with hazelnut gremolata from last night. It was and is delicious, definitely something I'll make many times in the future. What is a gremolata, you might ask? Well, it's a condiment traditionally made with chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. There's usually a bit of oil in there too, to serve as a binder. As with many things culinary, the basic gremolata often serves as a foundation for creativity and increased complexity regarding component ingredients and flavors. Last night, for example, I replaced the lemon zest with freshly ground coriander and added chopped hazelnuts to the mix to add texture to the roasted potatoes. I also added a dash of red pepper flakes for both color and zip, but to be honest, my touch was too light and the pepper was largely invisible. You can use a different citrus zest -subbing orange or grapefruit for the lemon, for example- or an herb other than parsley, and this flexibility is fun and liberating. So, keep the gremolata in mind because it's easy to make and an easy way to add a bit of ooh-la-la to whatever you're making.