april 11 grass

A couple Octobers ago, surrounded by golden maple leaves and whistling breezes and the smell of bonfires in barely twilight, I was walking out to my car with a guy from my Travel Writing class. Inhaling deeply, smiling while I did, I kept telling him, in probably five different ways, how much I loved it all—the season’s smells, its temperatures, how the leaves revealed their true colors, hidden from us the rest of the year. He listened, pretty politely I think, and then, when I’d reached a stopping point, he started talking about spring.

baby buds

I remember how his face changed, how his voice raised when he said green—all the different shades of green! the leaves and the grass and the trees! the newness of it all! I have to say, while I’ve always been an autumn girl: he got me thinking. And a few months later, when the spring he’d been waiting for arrived, I saw it with his eyes.

buds on branches

I know that weather comes and weather goes—but that’s just the thing. Constantly, monthly, the world around us is changing, irrespective of us. It doesn’t matter what I do; the weather marches on. January can feel like just yesterday, yet I only need to look out my window and see how far we’ve come from it (this is Day 102 of the year, how crazy is that?). And the changes of spring in particular signal so much hope: What was dead now lives! What was barren bears fruit! What was brown and dry is flowering and green!

These are changes worth celebrating, both because they’re beautiful and because they hint at deeper truths: we are changing, we are capable of new hearts, our lives are filled with new beginnings.

cream of asparagus

And, just as we are all set against a great backdrop of The Weather, with its changes and blessings and inconveniences, so we are all part of a greater story of Life, one bigger than any one of us, one that keeps moving forward, whether we realize it or not.

cream of asparagus soup

My friend was definitely on to something. Spring! Spring! I see it now.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Adapted from A Sweet Spoonful

If you ask me, there’s no better way to usher in spring than with a bright green, creamy asparagus soup, studded with lemon juice and as bright and fresh as the beautiful days we’ve been having around here lately. As long as we’re talking about it, you really ought to head over to Megan’s site for her post, as well as to look around. She’s a blogger embracing new beginnings of her own lately, and it’s been inspiring to watch.

1 pound fresh asparagus
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 teaspoons thyme, divided
1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, divided
1/2 cup organic sour cream
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus, and cut stalks into two-inch pieces. Cook asparagus, broth, onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon thyme in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bringing it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover, simmering for 10 minutes. Next, process mixture until smooth, using either an immersion blender (recommended!) or a food processor. Return to pan.

In a small bowl, whisk flour and milk together, and then add it slowly to the asparagus mixture, whisking until blended. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, continuing to stir for another five minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, salt, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest and remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme.

To make garnish:
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest. Top each bowl of soup with about two teaspoons of this mixture and garnish with thyme, if desired.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Gemma

    Autumn and Spring are my favourites, there is so much change but so few extremes – lovely. As for this, I long for the start of the asparagus season. No sign of it yet here but as soon as it comes I will be eating it with abandon until it vanishes again. Gx

  2. Megan Gordon

    Aww, Shannalee! This has made my day! I’m so happy you liked the soup, and thank you for your sweet words about the blog–lately such a labor of love. Time, time–never enough hours in the day! Cheers to new beginnings, and a happy Monday.

  3. Tim

    Wonderfully written. And the soup looks good.

  4. AllisonMN

    i’m an autumn girl as well. i absolutely LOVE october and the changing of the season. spring on the other hand is quite nice, but i think i’ll always be an autumn girl through and through. the soup looks divine and perfect for this time of year. thanks.

  5. Kim

    Spring has always been my favorite season. The flowers, the newness of it all…I just love it. Will never liked Spring though – he’s from Washington where Spring means 50 degrees and rain every single day for months on end. After almost 8 years in California, he’s finally starting to come around :)

  6. Kathryn

    I realized it was the 102nd day of the year today as well!

  7. Sara

    so gorgeous – it looks hearty but not heavy, as soup should be. and yes, the ‘hinting at deeper truths’ part… so true.

  8. Niki

    I admit, I do love fall, the colors are different, the season brings it’s own crop of fruits and veggies, the air seems so crisp out… But I also love spring, especially the way your friend, and now you see it. If I could live in a world that alternates b/w spring and fall every 3-4 months, I’d be so happy. :)

  9. Gina @cakeandcordial

    Mmm… asparagus. Still waiting for the local crop to reach the greenmarket. I do love the greenery of spring time and the little surprises of flowers popping up all over, but I am like you and the autumn is the best time for me! I love hauling out sweaters after a hot sticky summer and feeling the cool breeze and seeing the bright colours.

  10. Caitlin

    Such a true sentiment – whenever you are feeling jaded about something, just find someone who is truly inspired about it. Listen to them. You’ll look at things with brand new eyes. While I’m a fall girl, I can definitely appreciate others’ love of spring. It really is a beautiful season.

  11. jessiev

    YUM. such good fresh food is one of the reasons i love spring!

  12. Shannalee

    Gemma, Yes! It’s the moderate temperatures, the lack of extremes, that I enjoy so much. Crossing my fingers for you on the asparagus front – must be soon, right?

    Megan, I really love your site and the beautiful things you’ve been writing. Keep at it!

    Tim, Thank you so much!

    AllisonMN, Nothing wrong with that! :)

    Kim, It took eight years!? I so get that. I do have to say though, rainy days sound kind of like a nice spring. Maybe that’s because I’m not from Seattle?

    Kathryn, Congrats on keeping up with P365 so far! It’s been a fun journey, right?

    Sara, Thank you so much. I love that you get it.

    Niki, Oh my gosh. ME TOO. Sign me up for that paradise.

    Gina, I just love all the autumn lovers coming out of the woodwork on this post. Kindred spirits, you all are.

    Caitlin, Right? Thank goodness for fresh perspectives.

    JessieV, Good point – that is a beautiful part of spring!

  13. Kim

    Yeah, I like springtime rainy days too…but I can see how they would be annoying if it rained pretty much every day from oh, October to July :)

  14. Shannalee

    hahaha that would stink!

  15. Pingback: Around the Internet Kitchen: Tying the Knot | Macheesmo

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