December 5, 2011

Thriving on Winter's Bounty

Winter Squash Lasagna
It's wintertime even though this second week of warm and breezy weather might have me believing otherwise.  But, it's definitely December and while eating seasonally in the Spring and Summer was easy peasy, and the Fall wasn't too bad either, learning how to cook (and eat) the leaves and roots of winter is not quite as joyful. At least not at first glance.  What to do with all of the spinach, beets, carrots, parsnips, winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes!

I have an extensive collection of cookbooks, but lately I've been relying on two in particular.  The Winter Harvest Cookbook has shown me that the winter dinner table can still be diverse and satisfying--exciting even!  Tonight we ate a traditional farmer's skillet supper of bacon, potatoes, and kale--we added eggs to the mix for a hearty, warm, and filling meal.

Last night I baked a winter squash lasagna with crimini mushrooms, butternut squash, and romano and mozzarella cheeses.  Red wine, garlic, tomato sauce and a from scratch bechamel sauce made for a complex flavor combination.  Roscoe finished his plate clean and Merritt was close behind him.  I was pleasantly surprised, and happy to cook squash beyond my old standby of caramelizing it. (note: if you've never made Ina Garten's recipe for caramelized butternut squash, you must.  It is fantastic--but wow, it is also possible to use butternut squash in other ways too!)

The recipe for Winter Squash Lasagna can be found online here. Gingered beets and brussels sprouts, cabbage with coconut, and chestnut risotto are just a few of the recipes that are going to save me this winter--i just know it!

The other book that I keep returning to is called Simply in Season.  What I love most about this book is the way that it's organized. Corresponding to the four seasons, there are four sections and within each section is a list of the seasonal produce that you might expect to find at that time of year.  Every page offers a new recipe and the seasonal ingredients used in each one are highlighted from the larger list found in the margin, which means you can search by ingredient with a quick flip through the pages.  It has a great reference section in the front too. Root vegetable crumble (with cashews!), stuffed beets, and golden carrot salad are up next.

I also want to check out the kid version, Simply in Season for Children.

If you eat seasonally, how do you cope with the bounty that winter offers?


  1. oh wow - love Ina G & happen to have a butternut squash on the counter

  2. Fate! Once the squash is cooked you can also puree the squash (and all the gooey bits and butter left over) with some heavy cream for a twist on ye old mashed potatoes. It's another recipe of Ina's and it's perfection in the Fall and Winter.

  3. What a great post for inspiration J! I haven't been very creative lately...mostly bean soups from Griff's beans he grew and dried. I usually end up relying on roasting or slow cooking these days because I need to be speedy! I have a really good recipe for a kale, bean and sausage soup that I love. I do love squash casseroles and soon I will be making collards for new years and this winter on occassion with leftover (frozen) smoked turkey from Thanksgiving. I need more people to feed to get me motivated ;) That chestnut rissoto sounds sooooo good.

  4. Ok, trying the maple roasted butternut squash recipe right now ... squash is cubed (sort of) & i used the "good" olive oil. Since my husband is allergic to garlic, i left that out & sub'd extra pepper (potential mis-step? we'll see). No pancetta on hand, so i'll use dry unsalted almond slices instead. Salivating over the heavy cream idea ! We have some heavy 'whipping' cream in the fridge, so might try that. Or perhaps the cream top on the fresh farm milk that just purchased? Anticipating the yum ~


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