Happy first day of spring from the hill country of Eastern Portugal. We took a big walk around this estate, Torre de Palma, after a Sunday afternoon rainstorm. I was singing Joni Mitchell about going to a party down a red dirt road. The clay soil clung so heavily to our boots that they created ankle weights for an additional workout.
Today is also Palm Sunday. In the village where we had lunch, mass was just letting out. The church bells were ringing at noon, and people were walking home with giant stalks of rosemary in their hands. I think it was their local version of the palm fronds.
We had a light lunch of local sheep cheese, Iberico ham, and thick slices of mushrooms only half cooked in olive oil and garlic. This was a little revelation to me. I always slice mushrooms too thinly and cook them too completely. They should still be raw and springy in the center, more like a slice of artichoke heart. Keeping things simple and a little raw seems like a good way to head into a fresh season.