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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homecooked Ideas for Cold Weather

When we started the food swap last summer, many people asked if we'd swap seasonally or year round. True, New England's growing season means we don't as much variety in the winter months and who really wants to venture out into January snowstorms? But skipping swaps for part of the year never occurred to us because we like to enjoy home-prepared food year round, even if it takes a little more ingenuity when fresh produce isn't as plentiful.

Lyn has already covered winter farmer's markets, which are a great way to support local agriculture year round. Here are a few additional ways to enjoy fruits and veggies even in the winter:
  • Fire up the slow cooker. After choosing up some root vegetables and other goodies at a winter farmer's market like the one at Somerville's Arts at the Armory, plug in your slow cooker, crock pot, or whatever your preferred moniker is, and in a few hours your kitchen will smell like a steaming bowl of savory goodness. Nothing like returning home from the cold to a warm chili or stew awaiting your arrival. Of course, crockpots make huge quantities of food, so come Sunday and our January swap, I'll be sharing some of this vegetarian black bean chili.
  • Yes, you can! Lyn and Tara introduced me to the wonderful world of canning, and it's a great way to use up extra produce in the summer months so you can enjoy the freshness of tomatoes or strawberries year round. Obviously this takes some pre-planning but it's definitely something to keep in mind for next summer. In a previous post, Lyn shared how to make red sauce and marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes - yum!
  • Get your grill on. Yes, I know it's too cold to grill on the patio, but a friend recently gave me a small indoor grill which I can't wait to try. It should be a nice change from slowcooked veggies, as those can start to taste the same after awhile if you don't change up the seasonings.
Fellow swappers, so you have other suggestions on cooking your way through cold New England winters? How do you get creative with local produce this time of year? Do tell!

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 comment:

  1. I buy local chickens (we are omnivores) and roast them with potatoes, leeks, scallions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli (in a million variations, not all together). Then, onto soup (more carrots, onions, garlic). I can get 4 dinners of roast chicken, 8 dinners of soup and 4 sandwiches for lunches or snacks. A good week's worth of meals. The chicken is always a bit different. The soup is always different. The sandwiches are whatever you want them to be. Never boring.