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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!

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nathalie #

    I would love some ideas on how to use parsnips. I use them in soups and roast them with other root vegetables, but I have pounds of them and would love some creative ideas. Thanks for doing this!

    January 18, 2012
  2. I totally agree about how nice it is to have your choices limited.

    I wrote about root veggies on PFM website—a twofer recipe—roasted one night, pureed with water to turn into soup the next day with the leftovers.

    The nice thing is that you don’t really get sick of it if you vary the vegetables and the herbs and spices.

    Someone made a shaved celery root and carrot salad for me the other day. Cumin and a little cider vinegar as the main flavoring. Could even make a nice topping for a sandwich.

    January 18, 2012
  3. candace ford #

    I like to saute onions in some olive oil, when they are softish I put in a couple of tablespoons of any color curry paste and some garlic, mix it in with the onions and let it cook awhile longer. Add a can or two (depends on how much you want to make) of cocoanut milk and start adding vegies. I like potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips, but I have added (after the harder things are nearly done) broccoli and beets and zucchini. I don’t know why squash and cabbage wouldn’t work as well.

    January 19, 2012
  4. Maryann #

    Cabbage. Thats my challenge. I live in the other Portland (Maine), and seems like you can buy cabbage locally pretty much year-round here in maine. I love the idea of eating it, but can never seem to find enough uses for one head. My biggest flaw with cooking with cabbage seems to be adding too much to whatever I’m making. I find it can overpower a dish in flavor and/or in volume. Its also a tough sell for my young kids (can’t blame them – I hated it as a kid!). If you have any ideas on cabbage – i would love to hear them!

    January 24, 2012
    • Oh yes, I love cabbage Maryann and will post some ideas for you on tomorrow’s post. And a particularly kid-friendly one too!

      January 24, 2012
  5. Amber #

    I would love some help in creating a squash and/or beet pasta sauce to replace tomato-based pasta sauce – we think my hubby my have intolerance to tomatoes. It also seems a great winter sauce since beets and winter squash are frequently in same weekly share.

    I found a recipe and attempted it, but the flavor is off – I think maybe the soy sauce plus herbs? I used a herb de provence mix. It ended up a little bitter… Any help would be great. I think it could become a great heavy hitter. I attached the recipe I tried down below. I used blue kiri winter squash and kestrel beets.

    January 28, 2015

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