Spring recipes for all weather conditions

In years past, the season change from winter to spring has brought about a bumpy dinner routine transition for me. Committed to my winter set of recipes, I’ve been known to serve heavy soups on days far too bright and balmy for the meal. This year is all the more perplexing given the changeable weather. There seems to be glorious sunshine one day, torrential rain the next. 

I’m leaning into our current climate conundrum with recipes that brighten the dinner table regardless of the conditions outside. These take advantage of in-season produce and come together quickly. They allow me to spring into action (forgive the pun) based on the day’s skies. 

Watercress and leek soup

As I write this article, it is absolutely teeming down with rain. Tomorrow is meant to be warm and sunny. This reality has earned my soup recipe top billing in this piece of spring favorites.

If you’re reading the article on a warm day, consider saving the dish for the next time we have a weather flip. I suspect we’re in for a few more this April. After all, isn’t it the showers of this month that bring May’s flowers?

Watercress season has just begun. I like to toss the bright and nutrient-packed green into salads, because the vegetable’s peppery attributes provide a bright punch. But I believe watercress really shines in this soup. 


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 small leeks, cleaned well and diced
  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and rough chopped
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 small zucchini squash, washed and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock ideally homemade or best quality store-bought
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Irish grey salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper (I grind the mill 25 times because we’re big black pepper fans)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium. Once butter fully melts, add leeks and sweat for 5 minutes. Add watercress, potatoes, zucchini, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes more. Pour stock over vegetables and bring to boil. Simmer covered until all vegetables very soft – about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth using immersion blender. Serve immediately or can be made up to two days ahead and reheated. 

Make a meal by serving heaping bowls of the soup beside your favorite wholegrain bread topped with butter, smoked salmon and capers.

Seafood tostadas with spicy crema 

Welcoming spring with gusto is easy thanks to my super simple seafood tostada recipe. It’s also quick to prepare. 

I can get this dinner on the table in 30 minutes. 


  • 1 1/2 cup Mexican Crema, such as El Mexicana Brand
  • 2 tablespoons prepared red harrisa
  • 1 pound cooked seafood (I like a combo of lump crab and shrimp-meat)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon (1/2 for dinner squeezing)
  • 8 tostada shells
  • Chopped lettuce for serving
  • 1/2 cup shredded cotija cheese for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees
Prepare spicy crema by combining Mexican Crema, harissa and the juice of 1/2 lime (for non-spicy version, omit harissa)

In a medium bowl, combine avocado, tomatoes, spring onions and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and set aside.

Place crab and shrimp into a medium serving bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon over top. Mix and set aside. 

Heat tostadas in oven for 3-5 minutes.

I put everything on the table and let the family assemble their own. 

Spring Clean Lemonade
Regardless of weather conditions, April is a great time of year to declutter. After a morning of spring cleaning indoors or out, this adult-only lemonade is ideal for toasting your efforts. 

My abundant Meyer lemon tree is brightening up our backyard in all its yellow citrus glory. Pouring some of the happy hue into our glasses is equally welcome on a soup or tostada evening. 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 lemons, preferrable Meyer
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup Cointreau
  • 1 cup vodka
In a small saucepan, make a simple syrup by simmering 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature. 

Juice lemons directly into a pitcher. Then, add cooled syrup, cold water, Cointreau and vodka. Stir with vigor. Add lots of ice to the pitcher and serve. 

For a family-friendly version, omit alcohol from lemonade and instead add two additional cups of cold water. When serving, add 1 ounce of Cointreau and 1 ounce of vodka to each “grown-up glass.” 


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