When I was a kid I hated January. I loved November (my birthday month, and Thanksgiving) and I loved December and the lead up to the holidays. When all the excitement was over, my little kid feelings (which are the biggest feelings) were in a free fall. School started again. There wasn’t any more candy. No more lights and Christmas music.
For years and years now, much as I love the holiday season, I tend to think of January as the real start to winter, and I’m glad to see it come. It is the real time of hunkering down and getting in the swing of winter and all its glory. To me that means burning candles, reading books, getting out for winter walks, and eating a lot of potatoes and parsnips. My baby enjoys three of those four things. These next couple of weeks we’ll be working on the love of food. I think he’ll be a natural, since putting things in his mouth seems to be the main event of any given minute.
All the candle burning and walking doesn’t always make up for this being a challenging time of year for many of us though. Short, cloudy days can leave one feeling rather bleak and cooped up. I hadn’t realized I was feeling that way until I was in the root cellar on what felt like the first sunny day in forever, last week. There will be more where that came from though, I’m sure.
Until then, I hope you all can bask in the left over summer sun that has been hiding in the vegetables! Squash and carrots and beets can add a splash of color to a winter plate. Perhaps you’ve started off this year with some new goals, or aspirations. Mine is to eat more squash! I’m so obsessed with potatoes, all the time, but I want to mix it up. And eating more squash really isn’t mixing it up so much. I’ve got some pesto thawing in the fridge right now – more stored up summer sunshine – and I love a big spoon-full on delicata halves.
I hope this New Year has been good to you so far, and that you’ve been good to you as well. And I’m sure our winter veggies will brighten your meals, and hopefully inspire more slow, good food!
For the hunkered in farm crew,
In your share this month:
Beets, green cabbage, carrots, onions, parsnips, red and yellow potatoes,
Delicata and Kabocha squash
Cabbage Soup -from the Smitten Kitchen
1 pound pork butt, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups water
3 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 cup sauerkraut, plus around 4 tablespoons juice
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 onion, diced
2 cups fresh cabbage, shredded thin
Place the pork in a medium stockpot with the chicken stock, water, allspice, bay leaves, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate to cool. Skim fat from stock, leaving a few “eyes” of fat for flavor.
Add sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes. Add potato and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sauerkraut juice.
As you may know by now, I am not much of a recipe person, but I wanted to pass on something I’ve made a couple of times, and enjoyed. During the summer season I love making zucchini fritters for lunches on the farm. When the weather turned cool last year I found myself wondering about a winter veggie version of farm-fritters.
Roughly, this is what I do:
Grate a delicata squash, a carrot or two, a potato or two (and parsnips too, why not?) and lightly steam. Turn out into large bowl and add 3-4 eggs and ~3/4 cup flour. Eye ball it so it looks lightly battery, i.e., add another egg if necessary. Add salt to taste.
Spoon onto a heated pan with cooking oil, and fry on both sides until crispy brown. Serve with pepper and whatever condiments you like!