I am officially settled into winter. It is time for winter comforts like crisp and oozey gratins, hot soups and stews, and hearty braised greens. It's amazing how many wonderful vegetables are growing even in the winter, from dark greens like collard greens, spinach, and kale to root vegetables and gorgeous winter squashes. And abundant earthy mushrooms.
Eating locally and seasonally, either through a CSA or by shopping at a nearby farmer's market, focuses your attention on all that is growing around us and helps establish a wonderful deep connection with the earth and mother nature.
I have some new winter recipes this season. First is a delightful spicy tagine, a steaming hot stew of sweet potato, turnips, and carrots seasoned with toasted cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds and topped with a spicy homemade harissa sauce served over couscous.
Next, I have three comforting, delicious gratins, ranging from healthy to rich: a Swiss chard (and other greens) gratin, a cauliflower gratin, and a fennel, potato, and leek gratin. I also make two tarts: a leek and red Swiss chard tart and a leek and epoisses tart.
A couple exciting winter pasta dishes include spicy squash penne, braised kale spaghetti with toasted bread crumbs, fennel frond pesto over orccheitte, and spinach cannellini bean spaghetti with garlic chips.
Soups on the table this winter include a broccoli and leek soup with broiled cheddar and a butternut squash and fennel soup with fennel chips. I also have a delicious carrot cilantro soup to take you into spring.
I experimented with collard greens to make a traditional Gujarati dish called patra or patarveliya that is typically made with taro leaves. A layer of paste made from chick pea flour, tamarind paste, lemon juice, green chili, ginger, and spices is spread over the leaves. Then the leaves are folded and rolled, and then steamed in a pressure cooker. Once cooled, the rolls are sliced and then sauteed with mustard seeds and sesame seeds and topped with grated coconut and chopped cilantro. One of my favorite Indian vegetable dishes is pav bhavi, a mix of cauliflower, potatoes, peas, and carrots cooked with tomatoes and spices and served over buttered toasted bread. And for New Year's Day, I *had* to make Indian spiced black-eyed peas and braised collard greens to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.
Below are my meal plans for December and January.
Week of December 11:
red kuri squash
Our CSA Meal Plan for the Week:
Day 1: Swiss chard and spinach and turnip greens gratin
Broccoli soup with broiled cheddar
Day 2: Patra... steamed collard green rolls with chick pea flour, spices, and tamarind
Dal made with three lentils, udad, masoor, and channa
Day 3: Pav bhaji... cauliflower, potato, carrot, tomato, onion, peas with toasted bread
Day 4: Spicy vegetable tagine with sweet potato, turnip, carrot, and harissa over couscous
Day 6: Spicy red kuri squash pasta
Roasted fennel, potatoes, onions, and garlic with rosemary and thyme
Day 7: Indian spiced black-eyed peas and braised collard greens
Day 8: Indian spiced winter squash
CSA menu plan for the week:
Day 1: Braised kale spaghetti with toasted bread crumbs and parmesan
Lemon and parmesan roasted broccoli
Day 2: Aloo gobi... Indian spiced cauliflower and potatoes
Day 3: Fennel, leek, and potato gratin with parmesan
Day 4: Spinach, beet green, turnip green, and kale gratin
Day 5: Roasted beets, fennel stalk, and barley with caraway seeds and parmasean
Day 6: Leek ragu with crackers
Butternut squash arugula salad with pepitas
Day 7: Carrot salad, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, and ground cumin
potato sabzi with ground peanuts, lemon, and green chilis
Day 8: Butternut squash and kale farro
Week of January 22:
CSA menu for the week:
Day 1: Sweet potato, turnip, carrot tagine with spicy harrissa
Day 2: Fennel frond pesto over orecchiette
Broccolini with garlic and crushed red pepper
Day 3: Roasted beet salad with herb dressing
Leek and red chard tart
Day 4: Butternut squash soup with fennel chips
Leek and chard stems toast with dijon
Day 5: Spaghetti with spinach, cannellini beans, and garlic chips
Day 6: Leek and epoisses tart
Day 7: Carrot cilantro soup