Today... & Rethinking Winter Veggies

today

Rethinking Winter Veggies:

Here are two questioning comments I hear often around changing the diet to a whole food and seasonally based one:

  1. There are no vegetables that grow in Northern NY in the winter time. I have to purchase kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are grown in Florida and California. Otherwise, what would I eat?
  2. OK, so I am getting to know the local vegetables that are available in late fall and winter but what do I do with them?
My root veggie picture,     inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

My root veggie picture,

inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

A list of winter storage vegetables available in Northern NY:

  • cabbage: red and green
  • winter, hard squash (there are many varieties)
  • beets
  • carrots
  • turnips
  • rutabaga
  • celeriac
  • radish
  • salsify
  • burdock parsley root
  • parsnip
  • potato
  • onion
  • garlic

Farms and stores to purchase local (winter) vegetables in Northern NY: (I am certain this is not an all-inclusive list; investigate and find a farmer who grows good food near you!)

CSA Farms for Winter Veggies: (Again, not an all-inclusive list BUT to find more, go to www.gardenshare.com, Gardenshare's Local Food Guide and find a farmer near you who offers what you are looking for.)

 

OK, now for the cooking part. I am not going to put recipes here. I am more in favor of people learning to improvise in the kitchen: grab what you have and be creative based upon time honored methods of cooking and seasoning. Trust me, it is easy. Take a deep breath and just relax and let the cooking flow!

  1. Mashed potatoes are yummy! Try any of these root veggies in the mashed version, adding milk and butter. Try several root veggies steamed up and mashed together. Hint: When you steam, simmer, or boil the root veggie: use the least amount of water necessary and simmer gently. Maybe an inch of water in the pot, depending on the pot size and the amount of veggies. (Do not "rolling boil" them to death; it kills the flavor and the nutrients. As you boil off the nutrients you are boiling away the flavor!)  Pour the "simmer" water off into a coffee mug and drink it. There will be just a little bit of water left by conservatively adding water and simmering gently.
  2. Roast any or all of the root veggies. Chop into bite size chunks, coat with your favorite oil sturdy enough to handle the oven heat, and roast for 35-45 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes and stab with a fork after 30 to test for tenderness. You want to create crunchy, cooked veggies, not mushy veggies.
  3. Soups, stews, stir fries are always good options.
  4. Squash, well... it is squash, roast it up. Steam them if you are short on time. Oven roasting can take 1 hour or more, steaming takes 20 minutes. A butternut squash, raw, grates up nicely into a winter veggie slaw. Just add chucks of apples, maybe a few raisins, and an olive oil - apple cider vinegar dressing seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  5. Cabbage is yummy in soups, stews, and stir fries. Saute' a pan of onions, potatoes, and cabbage and serve with your favorite protein.
  6. Make cabbage and grated root veggie slaws. (If you click that link back there, you will get one recipe from me! But... it is one I have given you many times!) This is my nightly favorite to add a "raw" salad to the winter meal fare: good fiber, good nutrients, and good enzymes from raw foods!

The above slaw is grated: red and green cabbage, celeriac, purple and orange carrots, and a Braeburn apple. The apple was so juicy I only added a bit of olive oil, a dash of cinnamon, and called it "dressed!"

 

 

 

    Winter Food Blues

    It is that time of year... I am sick of winter root veggies, squash, and cabbage.  I know, on the tail end of it, there IS good things coming.  I get impatient. I long for the green things sprouting out of our local soil.  To survive until the local farmers and my garden has some stuff to offer up, I play around with food. (Truthfully, I play around with food all the time.)

    I am waiting, very impatiently, for the wild leeks.

    I do have tiny stinging nettle tops poking up in my garden.  I have popped off a couple of nettle tops and indulged in the raw green-ness of it.  They are so young that they leave no sting behind on the tongue or in the throat.

    Dandelion greens are out there too.  All survival food to nourish my cells and my soul!

    So a dear friend turned me on to Balela, a Mediterranean salad. Immediately I thought: "What a fun idea and release from winter food."

    davids

    David's recipe, displayed above:

    Ingredients:  all ingredients are organic

    • 1 15-oz can black beans
    • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
    • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 2 stocks green onion, chopped
    • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (white or apple vinegar should suffice)
    • two organic tomatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped mint
    • unrefined sea salt & pepper to taste

     

    mine

    My improvised Balela, using what I had on hand:

    Ingredients: again, all organic

    • 1 15-oz can kidney beans (no black beans in my cupboard)
    • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
    • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup organic lemon juice, Lakewood Organic from the Potsdam Coop
    • Chopped chives from my herb garden
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar from Martin's Farm Stand
    • about 25 frozen cherry tomatoes from The Kent Family Growers winter CSA, thawed and chopped in 1/2
    • 2 tbsp chopped oregano from my herb garden (no parsley yet!)
    • 1 tbsp lemon thyme from my herb garden (no peppermint, deer ate it!)
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • red pepper flakes to taste
    • unrefined sea salt & pepper to taste

    Just before I indulged, I placed pine nuts on top and some sheep milk feta.     Very YUMMY!

    I know David is eating and enjoying Balela, as well, in LaFayette!

    Stay tuned for tomorrow's Winter Food Blues Recipe... how I Spring up the root veggie kraut to make my taste buds sing (instead of them whining about more winter food and thinking the green stuff will never grow!).

    Hang in there... local, spring food is right around the corner!

    Gustatory Guru of Gastronomy

    # 3 & 4 image for book

    Gustatory Guru of Gastronomy

    So recently, I received a very sweet email, thanking me for my support in cleaning up this divine person's diet and contributing to their vibrant health.  And... "Gustatory Guru of Gastronomy" was the "alliterative moniker" she used for me!

    Seems a lighter label than Diet “Dr. Doom” from an earlier blog post inspired by an encounter with a "health" chump of mine!

    I find this to be true of people who are ready, on the cusp of making healthy changes in their lives:

    When you are a stick of dynamite, ready to blast off into health and healing, changes are easier to accomplish and feel good about!

    I light the fire under you and inspire you to activate your beautiful mind. You then peel back the layers to uncover your perfect soul. Healthy changes happen because when you feel good, you want to feel better.  What a ripple effect!

    butterfly

    And... when one is not quite ready to dive headlong into major changes (Maybe you are one for a more subtle metamorphosis!), I help plant a seed.  A seed that will bloom and grow in your life, when the "soil" and conditions are right for growth.

    seed

    Recipe:

    Ethiopian Smothered Brussel Sprouts and Carrots with Turmeric 

    1-2 tbsp butter, ghee, or toasted sesame oil

    1 medium red onion, finely chopped

    Unrefined Sea Salt

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    ¾-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or use dried ginger powder in a pinch!)

    2 tsp ground turmeric

    1/2 lb carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite sized chunks

    2 lbs Brussel sprouts, cut in half to make bite sized pieces

    How to throw this together into a scrumptious pile of food:

    Saute' the onion in butter, add ginger and saute' for 1-2 minutes more

    Add carrot and Brussel sprout chunks

    Let simmer in a cover pan for 10 minutes or so (I like the veggies to have a crispness to them)

    Sprinkle turmeric over veggies, add crushed garlic cloves and stir well.

    Turn off heat and let sit, covered, while you finish getting the table ready.

    Serve:  over red lentils.

    I bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup red lentils,  and gently return to simmer.  Shut off heat when it returns to simmer and keep covered.  I then take the dog for a good 1/2 walk and the lentils are ready when I come out of the woods!

    Options:

    Use cabbage and potatoes instead of carrots & brussel sprouts

    Add garlic, ginger powder, and turmeric to 1 cup pasture raised milk in your blender.  I also add 1/2 to 1 cup shredded coconut.  Blend to a puree and pour over veggies, stir well and gently re-warm.

    Use coconut milk with the above spices.

    ethiopian carrots  Brussel sprouts

    As you can see, I added a few raw cashews on top!

    The veggies are all local, seasonal, and organic.

    The spices, coconut, and cashews... well, not so local!  face