Being involved in the Dark Days Challenge has me scrambling to come up with inventive ways to use local winter produce, some of which I've never seen or heard of before. Thanks to the greater interest in our area of eating local in season foods, our farmers are learning to extend their growing seasons and exploring more types of cold-hardy produce. I've been doing a lot of "what is that and how is it used?". A few weeks ago while surfing around Amazon.com I came across the Winter Harvest Cookbook by Lane Morgan.
This book has been around since 1990 and I can't imagine how I missed it! I sent off right away for the revised and updated 20th anniversary edition. The book starts off with a descriptive alphabetical produce list of winter veg, fruits and grains. You'll find old friends like apples, beets, and cabbage but you'll also find new (or new to me anyway) things like cardoons, gobo, and orach. The second section of the book is dedicated to recipes using all these wondrous things, leading into part three which covers menus, resources and a recipe index. I know the Winter Harvest Cookbook is going to become stained and dog-eared very quickly and I'm considering adding the e-book version to my reader as well.
Michael and I LOVE roasted vegetables. Roasting concentrates and intensifies a vegetable's flavor in a way that requires very little embellishment from other ingredients and spices. But gilding the lily can be a good thing and Andrea Chesman's The Roasted Vegetable will take you there.
Andrea starts off with basic roasting equipment and techniques then leads you into a dazzling array of recipes that will keep you happily satisfied for a long time to come. There's a lot here to provide inspiration to anyone eating local and seasonally through the winter and more good eating for the rest of the year. This book has happy belly written all over it!
Reading ingredient labels will make your head spin. Enriched wheat flour. That sounds healthy, right? Well, maybe not. First they extract all the healthy stuff like the bran and the germ, leaving behind your basic plain white flour and then they put other stuff back into it making it "enriched". It's not the same as reading "whole grain flour". Confusing, huh. Then you get to the multiple-syllabic additives which appear to have more consonants than vowels that you can barely sound out and don't offer a clue to what they are or what their purpose is. TAA-DAA! The Center for Science in the Public Interest to the rescue! Their page titled "Chemical Cuisine: Learn About Food Additives" lists dozens of food additives, defines them, and rates them in categories called Safe, Cut Back, Caution, Certain People Should Avoid, and Avoid. If you always wondered what phytosterols are, you'll find the answer here.