Saturday, January 14, 2012

Embracing Winter: Eat Good Food

How would we survive winter without good food? Hot cocoa on coming in from hours spent in a winter wonderland, cinnamon rolls to savor after sleeping in on the weekend, steaming bowls of chili on a chilly evening, savory chicken soup when you are ill, broiled grapefruit to begin a workday, or tomato soup with grilled cheese when the snow begins to fall.

Here are a few cooking ideas to help you savor winter:

Have a dinner party -- one of our favorite books growing up was Old Man Rabbit's Dinner Party. His party wasn't about fancy food or important guests but about warm food for all in winter in a cozy, loving atmosphere. (I think I must buy this book somewhere.....)

--have an international themed dinner
--have a soup and salad dinner
--serve breakfast for dinner
--have a progressive dinner in your own home using different rooms
--invite the last person you would think of for dinner

Enjoy hot drinks -- tea is my favorite, but hot chocolate and coffee are nice too!

--have a tea tasting -- or coffee tasting (invite friends to sample 4-10 different kinds)
--try a tea/coffee you've never tried before
--put an electric kettle in your bathroom and make yourself a cup of something envigorating first thing in the morning
--buy a new teacup or mug just for winter drinking

Do some kid-friendly baking with your own kids, friends, nieces and nephews, grandkids, etc.

--doughnuts (did you see the post on The Cooks Next Door?) I have a GF recipe to try!

Make pancakes -- a winter comfort food for sure. These days we hardly eat them for breakfast because we don't have time but they serve us well for lunch and for Sunday evening snack. There are so many wonderful kinds:

--chocolate chip
--maple walnut

Bake Bread -- oh the memories of the smell of freshly baked bread in my mother's kitchen! A most nurturing thing for a small child. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The possibilities are endless:

--cinnamon raisin

Eat pie. Pie is my favorite. Think of winter pies:

--shoofly pie
--maple walnut
--apple, always apple
--pumpkin (this doesn't have to be for fall only)

Once in awhile, make a cake.

--Victoria sandwich
--spice cake
--one egg cake
--coffee cake
--pound cake
--angel food cake with fluffy whipped cream icing

Try new vegetables. Why not experiment? It's the time of year for healthy beginnings and getting back to basics.

--make beet salads
--try kale chips (my kids' favorite)
--stir fry swiss chard
--make potato leek soup
--try a raw kale smoothie (my favorite)
--eat spinach salad
--eat carrot salad, grapefruit-spinach salad, pineapple with mint and ginger
--add fresh ginger to fruit, soups, stir fries, tea (keep it in the freezer and grate from frozen)

Eat soup every week, or even every day.

--white bean and kale
--carrot ginger
--potato leek
--red lentil
--split pea and ham
--kale and sausage

Make something over and over again -- last winter I made this Pork Sausage, Fennel, and Navy Bean Stew more times than I can count.

Eat tomato soup and grilled cheese. This recipe is the easiest EVER and tastes amazing.

Read good cookbooks. Check books out of the library. Buy a new food magazine. Look at sites like Food Gawker, Pinterest, and Taste Spotting to be inspired.

A few of my favorite cookbooks to read in winter:

Nigella Kitchen
Nigella Lawson -- How To Eat
River Cottage cookbooks
Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way DVD's
Kitchen Diaries (Nigel Slater)
Nigel Slater -- especially Appetite
Roast Figs Sugar Snow

Take some time to cook! And tell me what you make.......


Soul Journeys said...

I've just recently discovered Nigellas cooking and its fab! Loving the way she cooks with such good ingredients yet such easy style! I'm a total nigella convert!!

Stephanie said...

I love when you post recipes because I am always looking for new things to make for dinner. I didn't realize that The Cooks were back to posting, so I'll have to go catch up over there. Let me know if you attempt GF doughnuts and how they come out.