“Winter” is definitely the key word here!
Last weekend we made an unusually short foray to Nat Bailey Stadium where our Winter Farmer’s Market is held each Saturday. Seems like at this time of year it’s short rations for local veggies…so the trips are short ones!
Eating seasonally is a very good thing. Fresh, local food, getting to know the farmers, chatting people up while selecting your produce and by purchasing local it means produce doesn’t travel from all over the world causing all sorts of issues, not to mention that the climate is changing (according to most sensible people.) So we have to consider that what we may have access to now may, at some point, no longer be available here. I’m thinking that this may encourage our local growers to find ways to become more able to grow different produce throughout the year.
The bottom line is we are getting to the time of the year when we’ve eaten our own weight in squash, carrots, rutabaga, turnips, celeriac, cabbage, beets and potatoes…all delicious veggies for sure, except for those bloody parsnips! And it’s fun to try out new ways to prepare them…especially love Lacinato kale braised with pancetta, onions and garlic. All I can say is thank god for my collection of Ottolenghi cookbooks for their never ending ability to inspire me!
When fall arrives, I look forward to playing with the gorgeous assortment of veggies at the Farmer’s Market…the colours alone are amazing! But by now (February), We’re becoming kind of burned out on squash! Heck, I even cheated and bought some of those tiny French beans at a small grocery store! I hope the local veggie gods forgive me! Psst…have you ever tried Kumato Tomatoes? Well…tomatoes are another cheat for me…I am unable to give up tomatoes once they are out of season…it’s a huge character flaw, I know…but what can I say?
So, when spring finally arrives and we get our first sightings of green at the market, we are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves. Please don’t expect me to believe that asparagus, other than locally grown, is good…it’s not…but it took me a few years to get that and so what if it’s $8.00/lb! Back in the day…there was no locally grown asparagus unless you grew it yourself! Duh, why didn’t I think of that when we first moved here over 30 years ago? I could have planted some asparagus crowns and by now we would have an incredible patch of the stuff!
Time to head to the kitchen to begin prep. for dinner…on the menu board tonight…braised chicken thighs with leeks, carrots, celery, Irish Whiskey and Scrumpy (a rough cider, in this case made from wind-fall apples), Icelandic style red cabbage, with blueberries, last but not least, Yukon Golds mashed with rutabaga. So as you can see a lovely winter meal…but…it’s Just February and not to wish the time away…BUT BRING ON THAT ASPARAGUS!
Here’s to snuggling in with a glass of whatever warms you and enjoying the remainder of the fall harvest and let’s make a toast to those farmers who grow our produce all year round! Salute!
Here’s a few of the favourites here @#5 that I’ve been making this winter…hope you like them as much as we do!
Ottolenghi’s Sort of Waldorf. https://www.oracibo.com/recipe/ottolenghis-sort-of-waldorf-2/
Butternut Squash Gratin With Leeks. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-gratin-with-goat-cheese-and-hazelnuts-240412
Braised Lacinato Kale. https://www.oracibo.com/recipe/braised-lacinato-kale/
Pickled Red Cabbage.https://www.oracibo.com/recipe/hawksmoors-pickled-red-cabbage/