As the Seattle weather changes from good to better, it occurs to me: what to cook? The cold and rainy days so often yell “butternut squash!” or, “beef stew!” However now it’s March and I’m at a loss. But who better to ask than Christina Conrad of foodie with a life?
Christina and I have been friends for several years now and among outdoor yoga classes and bi bim bap dance breaks, she has hosted numerous girl’s dinner nights where she teaches me how to cook. This is not an understatement. I am often the least knowledgeable in the kitchen, and Christina is able to effectively assist me with the tips and tricks of the trade without physically holding my hand. But let’s be real, she’d probably do that too if I asked her.
So rather than inviting myself over to her perfectly Southwestern inspired apartment to pick her brain, I decided to pose the following questions to her electronically so you, her followers, could also benefit from my ignorance. Read on to learn more about Christina’s advice on how to navigate your kitchen as we enter the months before the summer equinox.
1. Like many city dwellers, I love the idea of an apartment herb garden. Do you have any advice on keeping them alive indoors?
CC: I don’t have any real tips for keeping them alive. I DO have great tips for killing indoor plants which include overwatering them then forgetting they exist; placing them in “cute” locations, like the hallway that doesn’t see sunlight; and using all the herbs at once and hoping they grow back within 24 hours. It’s a real gift. That said, I accessorize my apartment with cute planters while they’re alive and then replenish frequently.
2. Hiding under a throw blanket with my cat can only last for so many months. When I eventually come out of hibernation, what’s the best way to take advantage of these beautiful Pacific Northwest days and get active?
CC: I love going on urban hikes. It’s like discovering the city all over again, the smells are different and reminiscent of the end of a school year. I like to turn up my favorite old school Outkast album for evening jogs, although my running technique looks more like Phoebe on Friends with a hip hop soundtrack.
One of my favorite Spring “hikes” includes Parsons Garden in Queen Anne. It’s a gorgeous little oasis! I assemble a picnic of Parisian sandwiches made of ham and butter on fresh Le Panier baguette alongside a bottle of wine and a jar of marinated olives. It all goes into a small backpack, my favorite accessory for an active foodie on the go!
3. Spring is practically on top of us. What are the three things that need to be in my kitchen right now?
4. While the days are getting longer, they seem to be busier than ever. What recipe can I have on hand to keep my hanger* at bay throughout the day?
CC: As soon we daylight-savings hits in March I feel my energy switch into overdrive, so I love having homemade Lara Bars in the fridge and at the ready. On Sunday I usually stuff cut carrots, bell peppers and radishes into snack-sized Ziplock bags in preparation for the week. On busy days I throw an energy bar and a bag of veggies into my purse for smart snacking options.
5. My bar has been lacking innovation lately, and a girl can only make so many gin and tonics. What is your take on fresh cocktail for Spring?
CC: My favorite option right now is a limey-white-wine spritzer! Fill a glass with ice, add white wine, a splash of sparkling water and a wedge of lime. It’s so refreshing and feels a little special.
6. Finally, if I wanted to spend my tax return on one kitchen utensil this season, what might I find myself perusing Amazon for during my lunch break?
CC: I have a thing for drinking glasses and have had my eye on a Danish design by Orskov. They’re heat resistant yet so delicate. A variety of glassware means I can choose the best vessel for a beverage. Plus, when friends come over they pick a favorite.
*hanger – A lethal combination of hunger and anger, the result of waiting so long to eat that your blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels, impairing both your mood and your judgment. Particularly manifests itself when you are with a significant other and trying to make decisions about where to eat now that you’re both starving.
Example: Don’t take your hanger out on me! How should I know where we can find food at 4:00am in downtown Issaquah? I told you we should have eaten before we left.