The holidays have flown by and we are now looking forward to spring. What to eat that’s in season this month? Global warming is mixing up our seasonal temperatures leaving even our produce confused! Right now you will still see some Fall Produce that is pretty good as well as some early spring options but this month let’s focus on some winter cooking methods.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), raw vegetables are actually very ‘cold’ in nature cooling the body even more, which could put your body out of whack weakening immunity. If you aren’t in the mood for salads and raw veggies there is probably a good reason – especially if you live in cold climates. Keep in mind vegetables’ versatility and try some different cooking methods.
Roasting: This is my personal favorite, and the combination possibilities are endless. Chop up vegetables, toss in just a bit of oil, salt or other seasonings, and pepper. Bake at 350◦F on a cookie sheet until desired tenderness is reached. This is a great option for sweet potatoes, beets, brussel sprouts, onions, leeks, and parsnips.
Sassy Tip: Throw some peeled, whole garlic cloves in with the veggies – they are fantastic for your immune system and taste delicious as roasting takes out the sting and brings out the sweet.
Soups: Fabulous for vegetables, and you get a few meals for all your efforts. You don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to make soup either, you can use some shortcuts. Pick up an already prepared mirepoix – which is typically onions, carrots, and celery- to take some of the chopping time out, sauté until soft, then add a carton of organic soup (Pacific brand has some great flavors) and let simmer for 15 minutes. Not only is this quick, but you also just seriously boosted the nutrients.
Sassy Tip: Trader Joe’s sells a mirepoix for about $2.50 and a carton of soup for $2.99.Now you have a healthy meal for 4 for less than 6 bucks.
‘Chips’: These seem to be all the rage these days but try making kale or collard green ‘chips’. Rinse, dry well, and de-stem greens. Tear into bit sized pieces, toss with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, place on a lined cookie sheet, then bake for about 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350◦F or until crispy. This also works well for sliced leeks too, which make a much healthier casserole topping than the crispy fried onions in a can. Get creative and try another winter vegetable, just slice thin enough to get the crisp.
Sassy Tip: Try crumbling those kale chips and sprinkling over popcorn – delish!
Winter Fruits: Grapefruit, tangelos, persimmons, kiwi, and oranges.
Winter Veggies: Cauliflower, chicory, fennel, cooking greens (chard, collards, and spinach), leeks, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and turnips.