All seasons have their unique bounty, but winter seems to have the most specialized produce. We have become capable of enjoying many previously seasonal only items year-round because their method of production as well as ease of transportation have improved so dramatically in recent years. I welcome hothouse basil and tomatoes. I relish imported papayas, pineapples and mangoes. Join us in celebrating the bounty of winter’s harvest!
Cranberries, pomegranates, and butternut squash are examples of fruits and vegetables that have too short a season for me. One must plan ahead to be able to use them for more than a few months though cranberries can be frozen, pomegranates can be juiced and cooked, and butternut squash pulp can be frozen. However, fresh cranberries thrown into a stew, or the lovely pomegranate kernels tossed with a salad, or the chunks of butternut squash that liven up chowder are wonderful culinary experiences that are short-lived. So let us enjoy them while we can.
The cooler weather typically brings about a willingness to spend more time in the kitchen. The warmth is welcoming and cooking comforting and relaxing. Our desire is to fuel our bodies and relish the warmth and flavors that nourish us throughout the winter. Polenta is my starch of choice this winter. I am in no way a purist. More often than not, I use regular cornmeal instead of the coarser ground polenta only because it is what I have on hand. And if it is of fine quality and prepared properly, it can be just as good. So let’s embrace and explore the abundance of our seasonal fruits and vegetables and brighten our table with the bounty of winter’s harvest–you’ll love it!
Recipes to celebrate the bounty of winter’s harvest
Basic Savory Polenta-Creamy, Sautéed and Deluxe
Wild Rice and Pomegranate Salad
Red Skin Potato and Leek Salad
Tuna Steak Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney and Napa Cabbage Coleslaw
Prawns, Scallops and Red Bell Peppers with Sautéed Polenta
Pecan Baked Catfish Fillets with Celery Root
Braised Lamb Shanks with Cranberries
Braised Swordfish with Pomegranate and Pears
Salmon and Butternut Squash Chowder
Seafood and Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
Curried Butternut Squash
Pomegranate and Coconut Milk Ladyfinger Parfait