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Archive for the ‘Season Cycle’ Category

We eat a good bit of tofu in our house, at least one meal a week, & I’m always looking for new ways to serve it that don’t go too far into the make-it-taste-like-meat realm. If we wanted to eat meat… we’d eat it, you know? This is one of my favorite dinners for late winter, when the nights can still be raw & local spring veggies aren’t yet in the market. It’s quick to make, nice & filling, & a satisfying burst of color & flavor on a grey day. It’s adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, my be-all-end-all cookbook for many, many years.

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Tofu & Butternut Squash Curry, Thai-Style

Serves 4-6

2 decent-sized leeks, about an inch in diameter

2 T oil (veg or olive)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T minced fresh ginger OR 1 t ground ginger

1 T Oriental-style or sweet curry powder

1 t brown or turbinado sugar

3 T soy sauce

1 can coconut milk (we use light/lite style)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1/2 inch cubes (see this post on how to manage it without taking off a thumb)

1 block firm/extra firm tofu, silken or traditional, drained & cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 c fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, OR 1 c frozen peas, OR 1 c thinly sliced red/green bell peppers

Sriracha, lime juice, salt & chopped fresh cilantro to taste

1 c cooked basmati/jasmine rice per person

Start by prepping your vegetables & tofu… I handle leeks a bit differently than I was taught in culinary school, where we used only the white parts to add flavor & a delicate texture to a dish. Leeks can get spendy, & there’s no way I’m tossing what amounts to half the weight & most of the nutrients for the sake of a bit of snobbery. Look for leeks that are firm & reasonably clean – they’re grown in mounds of earth to get those long, pale legs, so expect at least a little dirt. Chop off the root end & the straggly ends of the leaves, then slice them in quarters lengthwise. Chop into small strips about 1/4 inch wide, toss them into a sieve & rinse really well under cold running water. This step washes out the inevitable sand pockets & dirt that lurk between the leek’s translucent layers. You can rinse the quarters whole before chopping, but I find I inevitably lose half of it into the sink when I do it that way.

Drain your tofu & slice it into 1/2 inch slabs. Press the slabs between several layers of paper towel with a cutting board on top while you get the curry started. This step helps force out some of the water, allowing the tofu to absorb more of the flavorful sauce once it gets added to the pot.

Dismember your butternut squash, as detailed here.

Get your rice fired up, if you don’t have any pre-cooked. I soak & free-boil my rice, a process I detail in this post.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add your oil & the leeks, stirring often until they collapse & start to go slightly translucent. You can add a pinch of salt to the pot to help this stage go a bit faster, if you like. Add your garlic, ginger & curry powder, & stir for a minute or two til fragrant.

(On the topic of curry powder, look for a light, sweet curry for this recipe. If you have access to an Asian grocer, S&B is my favorite brand. If not, use a plain, sweet yellow curry powder, preferably not too heavy on the cumin if you can manage it.)

Add your prepared squash to the pot, & stir for a few minutes to coat it evenly with the spice & leek mixture. Add your coconut milk, sugar & soy sauce, plus enough water to just cover the squash (3-4 cups is usually about right). Stir well & bump the heat up a bit to bring the whole pot just to the boil. Back the heat off til you have a nice, gentle simmer, & let things bubble away for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the squash is quite tender, turn off the heat & give the pot a few pulses with your immersion blender – this helps emulsify the mixture into a rich, silky sauce. If you don’t have an immersion blender or like a more rustic texture, you can totally skip this step.

Turn the heat back to medium/low, & add your tofu, green beans/peas/peppers. Simmer away for a few minutes til the veggies are just done but still crisp, & taste for seasoning – you’ll probably want to add about 1/2 t salt at this stage. Stir in the optional lime juice & cilantro, & dinner’s ready.

Serve over hot rice with a few shakes of sriracha, & have a happy belly.

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It seems like we’re holding our breath right now, waiting for spring to properly arrive. The nights are still pretty cold, & it’s too soon for anything local in the way of delicate spring vegetables, so much of what we’re eating are the traditional winter holdovers: potatoes in every shape & form, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, broccoli, & of course, winter squash.

I think winter squashes as a whole get a really bad rap – everyone loves a pumpkin, but mention acorn, buttercup, kabocha & folks tend to recoil. I blame the health food movement of the 1970s, which made steamed & stuffed acorn squashes the ubiquitous (& often flavorless) vegetarian offering at many a Thanksgiving feast. Handled incorrectly, winter squash devolves easily into watery yellow mush which no amount of salt, soy sauce or nutritional yeast can salvage.

Roasted, baked, or simmered carefully, however, & winter squash condenses into a rich, blaze orange wallop of flavor & nutrients that marries beautifully with sweet & savory ingredients. It stores well, & is an inexpensive but deliciously healthy hybrid of vegetable & starch to get you through the long grey winter.

Handling & preparing winter squash can seem a challenge to the uninitiated; they are heavy. And hard. Flippant recipes that direct one to “simply peel & dice” a winter squash can reduce even the most enthusiastic cook to tears. My advice: start small, & carry a big knife.

As a rule, winter squash varieties can be easily substituted for one another, so if it’s your first time, look for a nice compact butternut squash, with a wide, straight neck & a smaller bulb at the base. The neck is solid flesh, with no seed cavity to mess with, & is very easy to peel & cut if you have the right blade.

(If you don’t have a nice, big, heavy chefs knife in your arsenal, do yourself a favor & pick one up. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – one of my favorite knives was an $8 utility number from the local restaurant supply store. Just look for a solid tang, where you can see the metal of the blade running through the handle itself, & a handle made of wood or hard composite. It should feel heavy & solid in your hand, & be long enough that you can use your non-working hand to apply pressure down on the tip when needed – 10-12 inches is ideal (Go on. I can hear you sniggering.) A plain, tapered blade is the most versatile, especially if you’re not investing in multiple knives; save the cleavers & serrateds for when you’re ready to branch out.)

Every cook has their own way of handling their ingredients; I’ll describe how I treat winter squash, but it’s by no means the only way to handle them. I know folks who swear by vegetable peelers & hammers, & more power to them if that’s what works.

To dice winter squash, first cut off the stem & blossom ends of the squash, just a 1/2 inch slice or so to get rid of the tough parts. Then, cut the whole squash in half; if it’s a round squash (acorn, buttercup, pumpkin, etc.), just hack it straight down the middle; if it’s a butternut, cut right where the straight neck starts to flare out into the bottom bulb, & then cut the bulb itself in half. Take your time, use steady, slow pressure, & use the heel of your other hand to help push down on the far tip of the knife. Needless to say, keep your fingers up & out of the way. If the knife sticks in the squash, gently pick the whole thing up by the knife handle & tap gently on your work surface to break the surface tension between the blade & the flesh. Once you have manageable halves, use a sharp-edged spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out the seeds & fibrous netting.

Now the peeling bit. Set a chunk of squash flat-side down on your work surface & cut just under the skin, from top to bottom. Use a gentle sawing motion, & if your knife is reasonably sharp, it should cut through fairly easily. Repeat around the circumference of the squash til the whole thing is peeled. When in doubt, cut a little deeper – the pale layer of flesh just under the skin can be unpleasantly tough, so don’t be shy. Once peeled, you can whack the flesh into 1/2-1 inch chunks as your recipe dictates.

If your recipe calls for pureed squash, you’re in luck. Roasting winter squash is an easy way to get velvety smooth, dense puree. First, preheat the oven to 350F, &  find a baking sheet or shallow casserole big enough to fit your squash times two. Hack your squash in half & scrape out the seeds & fibers. Pour about half an inch of water into your baking dish, & set the cut sides of the squash down into it. Bake for 30-60 minutes, or as long as it takes for you to be able to easily insert a paring knife through the skin – the time will vary depending on how big/thick your squash is. Let the halves cool enough to handle, then use a large spoon (or that ice cream scoop again) to scrape out the cooked flesh. Give it a quick whirl in a food processor or run it through a ricer/smash it with a potato masher & voila! Tasty, fully cooked, non-watery squash.

Next, I’ll give you a few ideas as to what to do with your freshly diced/pureed squash…

 

 

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Gone to seed…

Yes, we’re still here… Needless to say, last fall got a bit hectic. And then Christmas happened. And suddenly it’s nearly a year since I started this blog & nearly six months without a post. Time to fix that… thanks for hanging in there!

Regardless of what that sodding groundhog thinks, spring is on its way, & it can’t come soon enough this year. We’ve been cursed with an unnaturally warm winter here in south central Pennsylvania, with only one decent snowfall since November. I know there are many out there who would celebrate a season free from shoveling & salting & snow days, but I see winter as a very necessary pause in the year. It’s my re-set button, forcing me to slow down & reflect & breathe before launching into another year. No such luck this turn of the wheel, it seems, so I’m chomping at the bit to get spring underway.

It’s still a little early to start digging (and tempt Mother Nature into flinging us into a freak deep freeze), so I have to content myself with the planning stages of this year’s garden. We’ve only got so much space, most of it automatically spoken for by the large variety of tomatoes we like to grow, but that doesn’t stop me from poring over heirloom seed catalogs like some girls browse the make-up counter…

Top of the pile this year is the Landreth Seed Catalogue. The oldest seed house in America, Landreth puts out an annual catalog that is well worth the $5 cover price. It is beautifully printed by a small press in Baltimore, & is a refreshing change from the glossy magazine-style catalogs. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, packing a ridiculous amount of information into some variety’s entries while being maddeningly vague about others, but the reproductions of antique seed adverts, detailed plant biographies & thoughtfully curated collections make up for that. The Landreth catalog is one to pore over for weeks, to pass along to trusted friends, to dogear & mark up & generally treat like a working heirloom. At least, until next year’s edition arrives.

A new company for me is John Scheepers, and I am indebted to my mum for passing their catalog along to me. Delicately illustrated with tinted line drawings, their catalog makes up for a more modest selection of varieties with very thorough descriptions, detailing optimal growing conditions, yield, appearance, flavor & suggested uses in a concise, easy to browse format. John Scheepers is also one of the oldest & most prestigious flower bulb importers, so check out their main site for pretty things to brighten your flower beds…

While they no longer offer a printed catalog, it’s worth firing up the computer to browse through the offerings at the Victory Seed Company, especially if you’re looking for unusual plants. They’ve got an especially lovely selection of beets, & if y0u’ve wanted to try your hand at growing ornamental tobacco, they can get you started. I particularly enjoy their annual & bi-ennial flower selection, as there are lots of old fashioned varieties that you don’t often find anymore.

A relative newcomer to the seed world, Seeds of Change has rapidly become a well respected powerhouse, offering a carefully curated selection of quality certified organic seeds & starts. They are particularly sensitive to the non-traditional gardener & have a great section of their site devoted to urban & container gardening. Best of all, they offer their print catalog in downloadable PDF format, so you can print your own & save a bit of time & a few trees.

Aaaaand of course, there’s the Burpee catalog. While it won’t win too many points for artistry or esoteric varieties, there’s a reason Burpee’s one of the most recognized names in home gardening – they are fast, easy & accessible, & their ready-to-ship plants are a boon for gardeners without the patience or time to grow their own from seed. I will say, Burpee has noticeably stepped up the organic & heirloom offerings in recent years, & they carry several of our go-to varieties. They aren’t particularly cheap, & I’ve heard mixed reviews of their seed performance, but they’re a pretty safe, well established source.

So, that’s a partial list of what I’ve been poring over these grey February days. Another few weeks & I’ll place our orders & get started on our makeshift seedling nursery – I’ll be saving our lettuce boxes & clear egg cartons in earnest. What are you doing to get ready for planting season?

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Oh August, you are making July look like the dog’s breakfast… After weeks of temps in the high 90s, August has been deliciously kind to us – mid 80s during the day, mid-60s at night, & torrential downpours every few days to keep the garden happy.

And happy it is.

Thus begins the succulent & slightly overwhelming tomato season, when each night’s foray into the back forty yields yet another armful of ripe-to-bursting fruit, when the kitchen counter is overrun & we start to wonder what in blazes we were thinking putting in so many plants. And then my mum brings over a handful from her garden, too. It’s a delicious problem to have, I’ll admit.

I’ll be making a big batch of oven-roasted tomato sauce later in the week, but right now, we’re taking advantage of the bounty & eating as many garden-warm tomatoes as we can stand, usually dressed with basil & garlic paste, a slosh of olive oil & balsamic vinegar, & a scattering of salt & freshly-ground pepper. So this…

…plus this…

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Becomes this:

I’ve been using my basil & garlic paste on all kinds of things this summer – it’s quick, easy, & encourages me to harvest the basil before it goes to flower. It stays green for a few days in the fridge, & encapsulates the simple decadence of the late-summer garden.

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Basil & Garlic Paste

Appx 2 cups fresh basil leaves, stripped from their stems (we grow mainly sweet basil, but Genovese makes a nice spicy paste)

2-4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled & quartered (use more or less depending on your garlic tolerance – 2 is nice & savory, 4 will slay minor dragons)

Appx 1/2 – 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pulse basil, garlic & most of the olive oil in a food processor until finely ground, adding more oil as necessary to make a fairly loose, wet paste. Season with salt & pepper if you like (I don’t, as I prefer to season each dish individually). Transfer immediately to a small glass jar, cover tightly & refrigerate until needed.

The extra oil helps seal out the air, slowing oxidation & keeping the paste green. As there’s raw garlic involved, I’d use this within 4-5 days at most – uncooked garlic + anaerobic environment (i. e. stored in oil) = chance for botulism. Always keep any kind of raw garlic & oil preparation refrigerated.

(By now you’re probably wondering why on earth I didn’t just make pesto… don’t get me wrong, home-made pesto is a thing of beauty, & feel free to add 1/2 a cup of pine nuts & 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan to the mix if you’d like to make your own. In all honesty, I find the extra fat from the nuts & cheese too heavy for the delicate flavor of sweet basil – the basil becomes a background flavor, rather than the star of the show. But that’s just me – pesto your hearts out, if you so desire.)

To use, swirl a large spoonful of basil & garlic paste into a medium bowl of hot pasta, mashed/steamed potatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, sauteed summer squash, scrambled eggs, bocconcini, roasted eggplant… you get the idea. Spread it on toasted sourdough, top with a few warm slices of tomato & have the best lunch summer can offer. Drizzle it over home-made pizza just as it comes out of the oven, like we did the other night…

Yes, I took pictures. And yes, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

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While my friends & family in England are bemoaning one of the colder summers on record, we here in south central Pennsylvania are in the midst of a truly disgusting swelter. Highs in the 90s & touching 100 in the next few days, with all those tantalizing rainclouds evaporating before they provide any relief. We’re down to a few gallons of water in the rain barrel, so let’s hope the skies turn in our favor soon.

Our garden’s persevering, with the basil & oregano clearly being the happiest about this heat. We’ve cut huge bunches & made basil-garlic paste & hung the oregano to dry (which is tempering its spiciness, thankfully – I don’t know what we did, but this year’s oregano is blisteringly hot when eaten fresh). The yellow squash has put out some nice fruit, & our neighbor’s eggplant is ready to start picking. The tomatoes are taking their sweet time, with barely half a dozen cherry tomatoes being ripe enough to eat so far. The plants themselves are huge, though, so we’ve got high hopes for August’s harvest.

Meanwhile, a family’s got to eat… but turning on the stove is the absolute last thing I want to do when the temperature’s pushing triple digits. We grill on occasion, & I’ll freely admit that in our house, cereal & yoghurt & fruit often counts as a decent summer dinner, but we do try to make a proper sit-down of things, even in the heat.

One of C’s favorite dinners is what we charmingly refer to as Pick-a-Nibble. I’ll slice & steam some new potatoes & some green beans, then rifle around in the fridge for whatever leftovers might lend themselves to dinner – a bit of cold pasta, some nice cheese, jarred roasted peppers cut into strips, leftover salmon or faux meatballs, tinned chickpeas tossed in a bit of oil & lemon juice, a few soft-boiled eggs, slices of cucumber… you get the idea. It’s easy, fun & pretty on the plate, & is a good way to use up the piddly half protions of things that tend to get forgotten in the back of the fridge.

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Here’s a proper recipe for you, if you can call it that. We’re making this almost every week right now, & it’s perfect summer food – crunchy & cool & salty & a tiny bit sweet from the corn. I serve it with home-made bread, tortillas/flat breads or corn chips, sometimes with a nice avocado diced up & scattered over the top. A slab of grilled salmon rubbed with a bit of lemon juice & pepper would elevate it to a more substantial meal. Don’t roll your eyes at the tinned corn – our local grocery chain’s organic brand is pretty fantastic. You can substitute frozen, or freshly-cut-from-the-cob corn as you have it.

 

Too-Hot-to-Cook Salad

1 16-ounce tin of black beans, drained & rinsed

1 16-ounce tin of corn, drained & rinsed

Half a hothouse cucumber, diced (about half an inch square)

1-2 jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed & diced OR 1 large ripe tomato, diced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, whatever you have on hand)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons za’atar (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

Combine the lot in a large bowl, adjusting the seasoning & dressing as needed. Chill for half an hour or so to let the flavors meld. Crack open a nice cold summer brew, stick your feet in the kids’ wading pool & become one with the heat… ohmmmmmmmygodit’shot.

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My family is English, down to the core. My cousins & I are the first generation born off the island, so to speak, & the love of green rolling hills & a decent cup of tea courses through our veins.

While English food is, as a rule, not known for being particularly exciting, there’s a glory to its resourcefulness. The weather is not kind to heat-loving tomatoes & peppers, but root vegetables thrive – potatoes of all shapes & sizes, carrots, parsnips, swedes, onions…

These noble roots form the foundation of British culture & carry us through the long winter months, providing good ballast against the cold & a fine dose of vitamins (A, C, potassium,  B complex & more) & fiber. Mix them with the dark leafy greens that withstand cooler temperatures & you get lots of iron & calcium, too.

And they are, if you’ll excuse the pun, dirt cheap.

Hey, thrift is sexy!

What follows is a very loose template for a fine range of soups, endlessly tweakable according to what’s in the fridge or at the market. The amounts are vague, the method casual – if you feel better working with a proper recipe, let this be your first foray into the wild & tasty world of cooking by intuition. It’s really, really hard to mess this up. Start with vegetables that you know & love – once you’re comfortable with the basic method, start experimenting. Add a new veg, switch up the seasonings, leave it chunky, add some cream… see what happens.

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Root Vegetable Soup

Start with your favorite heavy-bottomed 4-5 quart pot – this size makes enough for 3-4 meals for 2-3 people.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil or butter to the pan, & set it over low heat while you chop the vegetables.

You’ll be pureeing the soup when it’s all said & done, so there’s no need to be overly fussy about chopping things neatly. Just make sure that everything’s roughly the same size, & remember that the bigger the pieces, the longer your soup will take to cook…

Peel & chop a large onion (yellow, white or red) OR 2 nice leeks. If you’re using leeks, slice them first, then put them in a sieve & wash them under cold running water to get rid of the inevitable grit.

Add the onions/leeks to the pot, along with 2-3 bay leaves, & nudge the heat up to the lower end of medium. Give them a good stir to coat with the butter/oil, & let them cook until soft & translucent. Don’t skimp on this part – a nice long cook brings out the sweetness – & stir frequently to ensure nothing gets overly brown.

Once the onions/leeks are well underway, attack the rest of your veggies. Start with about 6 medium potatoes (yellow are my favorite), diced & added to the pot. Peel, do not peel, it’s up to you – not peeling is faster, gets you all the vitamins from the potato skins, & you don’t throw anything away, so there’s my vote. Dice 2-3 carrots (again, peel ’em if you want to) & 2-3 stalks of celery if you have it & toss them in with the potatoes. Again, give it all a good stir & let the pot hang out over low-to-medium heat for a few minutes.

Now, what did you find at market this week? 2-3 turnips? A thumping great rutabega? A few parsnips? A gorgeous bulb of fennel? 2-3 sweet potatoes? A charming little butternut squash? 1-3 of these options is perfect – more than that & you’ll need a bigger pot. Peel the rutabega/sweet potatoes, or peel & de-seed the butternut, chop the lot & into the pot it goes.

Add your seasonings: 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, a few cloves of crushed garlic, maybe a teaspoon of celery seed or dry mustard powder depending on what you’ve got in house. This is not a heavily seasoned soup – the focus is on the vegetables themselves.

Stir to coat everything with the seasonings, then add enough hot water to cover everything by about half an inch.

Yes, I said water, dammit. With good quality ingredients & proper seasoning, you don’t need stock. If you have it on hand, go ahead & use it, but it’s in no way necessary. Buy some new herbs & spices with the money you save not buying pre-made stock…

Crank up the heat to high & stir the pot often until everything comes to a full boil. Then lower the heat til you’ve got a nice active simmer – you want an industrious simmer, not a rolling boil, so your veggies cook thoroughly without getting overdone on the outsides.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, at which point most of your veggies should be getting tender. Now’s the time to add your greens, if you want – a few nice handfuls of spinach, collards, kale, mustard or turnip greens, roughly chopped.

Stir & keep the pot simmering until the largest pieces of potato/carrot are very tender. Take the pot off the heat & let it cool for a few minutes. Grab your immersion blender & buzz away til your soup is nice & smooth, adding a splash of water or milk if it gets too thick to blend nicely.

I’m not one for gadgetry as a rule, but a decent immersion/stick blender is well worth the investment. It allows you to puree soups & sauces right in the pot, without the scalding hot mess of using a traditional blender or food processor. I’ve had mine for 15 years or so, & it has paid for itself a hundred times over. You don’t need anything fancy – the $20-30 versions are just fine for everyday use… If you don’t have one, use a blender/food processor, or even a potato masher to break up the vegetables into something of a puree.

Now, add salt & lots of black pepper, then see what else it needs – a bit more thyme? A splash of white wine? A dollop of sour cream? If you used sweet potatoes or butternut, try a few shakes of curry powder, ground ginger or cinnamon.

And that’s it! Serve nice & hot with crusty bread, a bit of cheese & a nice green salad. The leftovers freeze beautifully, too. I make a pot of this in one variation or another almost every week during the winter, including one based on pumpkin, with coconut milk, ginger & curry. Make a batch of your own & let me know how it turns out…

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Season Cycle

Oh Daylight Savings Time, you arcane & double-edged sword. While the extra light in the evenings will be lovely, I’d really started to enjoy getting up with the sun, instead of before it.

Springing forward does have its benefits, though, the most obvious being that it heralds the end of winter. I love winter, really I do, but this year I am more than a little pleased to see the arse end of it.

See, I had this notion back in the fall to really step up the local & seasonal produce in our diet. It made sense from both a financial perspective & an environmental one – why on earth was I shelling out for Chilean-grown red bell peppers in the middle of December? The quality was never fantastic, the price was at times horrific, & it embarrassed me more than a little to think of the food miles involved.

I made a few exceptions from the start: fresh salad greens (though we did favor spinach heavily, cooler-weather crop that it is), hot-house cucumbers (my weakness), tinned & frozen vegetables, & frozen fruit. The rest of our produce-buying was limited to the quintessential winter vegetables (roots, alliums, brassica, hardy greens, mushrooms). We went for organic, locally-grown, or both as was available. The bulk of our shopping was done at the local farmers’ market, & each week I asked what produce was local (not an idle question – a good bit of market produce is shipped in from warmer climes).

I might be a bit biased, but we ate exceptionally well this winter. Limiting the fresh ingredients I had to work with forced me to get far more creative than if I’d had peppers, squash, fresh berries & tomatoes to fall back on. At no point did I feel like we were sacrificing anything – we had lush curries, savory pies, all manner of Asian-inspired meals & easily a dozen different soups. The salad greens & cucumbers satisfied our cravings for cool, fresh things, & the occasional smoothie (with frozen berries, bananas & mangoes) provided a welcome fruity treat.

We also saved a fair amount of money – I’m not organized enough to be able to give an exact amount, but our grocery bills were definitely smaller this winter. Some of that is due to the deliciously economical root veggies I stocked up on every week, but not buying tomatoes at $4/pound definitely helped.

We’ve also lost weight. Jesse’s been hitting the gym more often this winter, but I’ve been just as meditative as ever (yes, that’s what we’re calling it) & have misplaced several pounds. I’m blaming the ridiculous amounts of orange & deep green veggies we’ve been eating, & the fact that we haven’t craved the usual stodgy winter classics (mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, half a loaf of bread) nearly as much this year.

But what I wouldn’t give for a bowl of fresh garden peas & a punnet of red raspberries right now. Clearly, the body is ready for a change of seasons.

Before the delicate spring vegetables start appearing at market, I’ll post a few of our favorite meals from this winter: The Cheapest Soup Ever; tofu & butternut curry; & fish not-pie. See what’s in season in your neck of the woods, & let me know what you’ve been making with it.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the bulbs come up, poring over seed catalogs & fantasizing about warmer weather & lunches of sun-warmed tomatoes fresh from the garden…

:sigh: All in good time.

 

All photos taken by me, at Central Market House.

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