Winter Recipe Challenge

Garlic, yellow onions, russet or purple potatoes, Napa cabbage, collards, carrots, parsnips, beets, and rutabagas. . . that is the text I received last week from one of the farmer’s I work with. This is the list of produce members of the farm’s CSA received this week.

I get this list a few days before the share pick up and go to work collecting, testing, and adapting recipes to accompany the produce. It is particularly fun doing this work in the winter as we are blessed to live in a place where one truly can eat locally year-round. And since the bounty is actually so diverse here in the winter I have eaten well for many winters (buying at the farmers’ markets here) without eating many, if any, rutabagas or turnips. With this new gig, however, that’s changed and I am forever grateful.


So the winter recipe challenge is as follows: If you have been or would like to be buying local produce this winter and are curious how best to prepare something new to you.. .. or if you need a new idea for an old standby, post a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond next week with ideas or recipes. Or if you have favorite tricks and recipes, please share those as well!

The choices are certainly fewer this time of year than at the height of the growing season, however, the possibilities are not. And by having one’s grocery shopping choices eliminated (or narrowed) by the farmer (or the market vendor) we can spend our creative energy making the most of these delicious veggies that have stored up a summer’s worth of sun for us to enjoy this time of year.

And if you are curious about CSA (and happen to live in the Portland area) I will be teaching a class with Shari Raider of Sauvie Island Organics on February 4th where we’ll not only cook with local veggies but have Shari on hand to answer questions about our winter (or any season) veggies, the connection between farmer and eater and all that goes into growing food. Join us for what’s sure to be an interesting few hours of good cooking and conversation. I will be working with Sauvie Island Organics this year to create recipe packets for their CSA as well and if you sign up for their share this month you get a nice discount on any/all Cook With What You Have classes this year.

On another local note, Slow Food Portland is hosting a panel discussion on small-scale meat processing in our area. The event is next Thursday, January 26th. Visit Slow Food Portland for details.

Don’t forget to submit your comments with winter veggie questions or favorite preparations of yours, and check back next week for lots of new ideas on how to prepare them!

Happy Winter Cooking and Eating!

The Beauty of Winter Veggies

 

Radicchio from Ayers Creek Farm (at the Hillsdale Market every other Sunday throughout the winter)

 

I recently wrote a gushing post about my love of winter veggies for Culinate. But one post is not enough. I haven’t been to the Hillsdale Farmers Market–one of two year-round markets in the Portland area–for 10 days or so. And I missed the other one, which is right in my neighborhood–the People’s Coop Farmers Market–last week. Both are community treasures. And I will head over to the People’s one this afternoon. My fridge, however, is still packed with baseball bat-sized leeks, dense winter squashes, beets, celery root (celeriac), and radicchio  from my last trip to Hillsdale. No matter what the weather the farmers and other  vendors are there with such a variety of produce that I am still sometimes taken aback at our luck of living in this climate. Though I try to grow kale and some greens throughout the winter with little success, it’s actually only partly the climate and just as much the skill, creativity and determination of our regional farmers that enables these beautiful crops to thrive in our wet, temperate climate.

Winter time cooking is often associated with slow-cooked soups and stews, braised meats and the like. However, it’s also possible to throw together fresh, hearty salads this time of year and they are a nice counterpoint to the richer, sweeter flavors of those stews and roasts.

 

Radicchio, Chickpea, and Chopped Egg Salad

 

Yesterday for lunch (and for my husband’s lunch he took to work), I tossed some of this beautiful radicchio with chopped hard-boiled egg, capers, chickpeas (that I had previously cooked and frozen for just such meals) and a lively dressing of garlic, Dijon, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. It was robust, fresh and absolutely delicious.

Happy Cooking and Eating!

Katherine

P.S. My February classes are starting to fill so if you’re interested in the Favorites one or the Rice & Beans from around the World one, sign up online or let me know you’d like a spot. I’ve also just scheduled some lunch-time classes that are going to be loads of fun and shorter and cheaper but with a full meal as usual so check those out as well.