Plenty of winter to come & I'm looking to liven up the menu
January 21, 2010 2:08 AM   Subscribe

Winter produce, both fruits and veggies, looking for ideas.

Veggies: I like to roast them, but need more recipes.

I've got a couple of stock recipes that I use for roasting winter vegetables, typically basting before they go in the oven (e.g., making chermoula from onions, garlic, ginger and lemons, basting, roasting, serving with bread on the side) but I'm looking for more ideas.

Anything that livens up swede, carrots, onions, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts or cauliflower is welcome (we like and can obtain all of these without a problem).

Also looking for interesting recipes for winter fruits; we can regularly get bananas and all sorts of citrus fruits. Again, I've got a few stock recipes such as clafoutis, but am looking for more.

We're constrained by London's street markets, which I only mention as we're not interested in the big chain stores range of not-from-this-hemisphere exotic fruit & veggie (we're frugal and exotics are anything but).
posted by Mutant to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Broccoli: #1: peel the stems and cook in quite much rapidly boiling salted water, no lid, until tender but not mushy (requires a few tests); toast some chopped garlic and chopped flat-leaf parsley in a good few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan while the broccoli drains; when they get brown, insert broccoli, some more salt and add freshly crushed black pepper, carefully turn a few times, serve.
#2: cook as before, mix salt, lemon juice and olive oil, pour over broccoli
#3: make a light bechamel (white flour, butter, milk); cook broccoli slightly less soft; put in oven dish, sprinkle with pepper and nutmeg, cover with bechamel, and finally with grated parmesan. Into the oven until nice light brown and so on.
(#3 is also a classic for cauliflower).
Usually, organic broccoli is way better than any other, and frozen broccoli - well, I have never managed it to speak to me.

Brussels sprouts: clean off outer leaves, rinse and cut a shallow cross into the ends to enable even cooking; cook as the broccoli - also without lid (keeps the goodies greener). My improvised treat yesterday: I slowly and carefully light-browned a few tbs of butter, added (immersed...) an onion in narrow wedges and slow-cooked/caramelized the onion while the sprouts (and a few carrot cubes) were getting soft, which takes a while. Then I drained the sprouts/carrots, and browned them in the onion butter. Pepper again...
But sprouts can also be cooked as above and then simply browned butter. Careful heat regulation a must, they taste nasty if the butter gets too brown. Sprouts do benefit from nutmeg. Always buy the non-wilted kind. Some people find sprouts hard to digest, which is sad, because they can be very good. Sprouts need to be firm and middle green; if they are too light green, someone has been peeling off too many layers of wilted leaves someplace behind the counter. They actually do that kind of things.

Simple and best carrot salad: peel or scrape nice firm carrots. Grate carrots on the large holes of the grater. Watch knuckles while doing so. Mix with olive oil. Add a philosophical amount of crushed garlic. Mix. Add salt. Mix again. Add freshly pressed lemon juice. Mix a last time. I never got why people use sunflower seeds in carrot salad; they overpower the carrot-lemon subtlety.

Try to find any of Marcella Hazan's Italian cookbooks: lots of great veggie recipes in these.

And let me tell you, there's nothing that livens up a Swede in January.
posted by Namlit at 3:07 AM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cube potatoes, roast with plenty of cayenne. Serve with a spicy/smoky tomato sauce (A small amount of Thai fish sauce is the secret ingredient in mine, maybe dark soy sauce could substitute if you are veggie).
posted by emilyw at 3:42 AM on January 21, 2010

And let me tell you, there's nothing that livens up a Swede in January.

You take that back. They're delicious braised with butter and chicken stock and a bit of garlic. Also in bashed form (aka mashed) with butter, black pepper and grated fresh ginger. They make an excellent soupy risotto-y thing when diced and sauteed with bacon and onion, followed by arborio rice, chicken stock and parsley.

I like Rotmos too- a mash of mixed swedes/neeps, potatoes, and carrots. I like to stir in some peas too.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:53 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's a couple of roasting recipes; from Nigel Slater
Roast Parsnips with Honey and Thyme and Baked Beetroot with Goats' Cheese and Caraway.
Roasted Carrots and Beets from Jamie Oliver.

Spiced potato and cauliflower (Aloo gobi) is wonderful if you can get it right, though it can be tricky not to overcook the colly. Lots of recipes on the net for that one.

Cumin seeds liven up most roast vegetables, especially potatoes.

Finally a recipe for braised carrots:
500g Carrots cut into rounds about as thick as a pound coin.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Generous knob of butter or couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
Good stock (vegetable or chicken) just enough to cover carrots in pan.

Melt butter in heavy-based pan, ideally big enough so you have a single layer of carrots in it.
Cook cumin seeds for a minute or so, then add carrots and fry for 4-5 minutes.
Add stock so carrots are just covered, cover pan and cook for 15 or so minutes.
Season to taste.
Most of the stock should have evaporated at this point, what's left makes a light, but tasty gravy for vegetables.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 4:21 AM on January 21, 2010

Equal volumes grated raw carrot, beetroot, and apple. Dress with balsamic vinaigrette.

Coat brussels sprouts in a small amount of olive oil and chilli powder. Roast.

Boil swede and lentils in stock until tender, season with curry spices, blend smooth.

Parsnip, swede, potato and celeriac mash with butter and garlic to top veg or fish pies.

Braise marrow and swede in stock, butter, and nutmeg. Serve over rice.

Winter root veg fajitas. Add roast veg to tortillas with chopped coriander, salsa.

Use veg peeler to slice ribbons of parsnip, carrot. Braise with butter and rosemary and serve over tagliatelle.
posted by Cuppatea at 4:31 AM on January 21, 2010

-Bananas Foster
-Tasty desserts with persimmons
-Blood orange mimosas
-Orange marmalade or a mixed-citrus marmalade (can re-use for chicken a l'orange)

-Make a winter vegetable stock; you can use it later to, e.g., braise cornish game hens with more winter veg or make a stew
-Potato and parsnip gratin
-Cream of broccoli soup
-Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon
-Roasted root vegetable souffle
posted by melissasaurus at 5:07 AM on January 21, 2010

You've got swede, you've got potato, you've got onion. You really should be making pasties. Here's my Cornish grandmother's recipe, as best I remember it.

If you're a meat-eater, buy some skirt from your butcher - it's the only cut for pasties.

1. Cube the skirt (1.5cm cubes is about right).
2. Cut the swede and potato into little slices (say 2mm x 1.5cm x 1.5cm if you want to be scientific). If you cube it, you're evil and wrong. Chop the onion coarsely.
3. Mix it all together in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.
4. Make up a batch of pastry. The proportions are 4 parts flour to 1 part butter and 1 part lard, plus a pinch of salt. Rub the fat into the flour (or process it). Sprinkle in a little cold water and mix to make a nice stiff dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, wrap and chill. This should make about 4 pasties.
5. Roll out the pastry into four circles about 3-4mm thick.
6. Pile a handful of filling on one side of the circle. Brush round the edge with water and fold the other side over to form a semi-circle. Crimp the edge. This is a fine art involving taking little pinches of pasty around the edge and folding them over so that each overlaps the next. Doesn't matter if you make a mess as long as it's sealed.
7. Brush with beaten egg, prick a few times with a fork and bake for an hour or so at 190-200C.
8. Cool for a while before eating.

Vegetarian option - no meat, add extra onion and cubes of cheddar cheese.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:14 AM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Actually, don't cube the skirt. Little slices will again work better.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:15 AM on January 21, 2010

I like brussels sprouts either caramelized w/onion and bacon (I think someone posted that above), or sauteed with preserved lemon.

One of my favorite cauliflower recipes is gobi taktakin (this recipe is basically how I make it; you could probably also just toss the cauliflower w/the oil and spices and roast it that way, if you prefer roasting. I like to add some extra-hot crushed red pepper and some whole cumin seeds, just for some extra textural variety. You can also make it into an entree by turning the heat off, breaking a couple eggs into it, and stirring it vigorously until the residual heat from the cooked cauliflower cooks the egg -- if you leave the heat up, the eggs will turn all gross and nasty from overcooking, so it is imperative to turn the heat either off or all the way down.)
posted by kataclysm at 6:08 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best broccoli ever: Put in a pan with water. Steam 2-3 min until bright green but underdone, drain. Continue on high heat until water is all gone, and broccoli starts to squeak, and then add sesame oil, soy, mirin, and sesame seeds and saute until done. Eat it all. (Works with eggplant too but takes about five times longer.)

Cauliflower: roast it in the oven. For the love of god DO NOT STEAM IT. Season it however you please as it's close to a blank canvas. (Or puree it into a soup...)

Brussel sprouts: Quarter and fry these. Ideally in bacon fat. They caramelize beautifully and actually become tasty. I like to season with a little sherry and maple at the end - but any acid/sugar combo will do.

Parsnips: boil and mash with the tiniest amount of truffle oil (eyedropper quantity) and a dangerous amount of cream. Weird thing about parsnips, they cook much tender-er if you boil them without a lid.
posted by mek at 6:10 AM on January 21, 2010

Perhaps not what you hand in mind, but make hand pies! Handpies work for both fruit and vegetables and they are quite easy to make--although it is an afternoon's project. The pate brisee is actually quite simple and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for a while. The pies can be baked and frozen as well (I bake them to just shy of done, and then reheat in the oven). It's an excellent use of the leftovers, too.

Pate brisee:
1. Cube and chill 2 sticks of unsalted butter.
2. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar in a food processor.
3. Add the butter cubes and pulse just until you get a coarse texture (8-12 seconds total pulsing).
4. Drizzle in a couple tablespoons (or up to 1/2 cup of water) and pulse some more until the
mixture begins to hold together but is not wet or sticky. I add a little, open the machine and squeeze it in my fist to test.
5. Divide dough into two balls, pat into discs, wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour before using.
Hand pies:
6. Roll the chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness, cut out 6-7 inch circles.
7. Put about 3 tablespoons of filling on one side of the circle, fold over, crimp, and use an egg wash to seal.
8. Bake at 375 15-25 minutes until brown. If you're planning to freeze them, stop cooking before they are fully browned, but after they have changed color, let cool, wrap and freeze.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:21 AM on January 21, 2010

If you can get fennel root, it makes a really nice salad with tangerines or other sweet citrus and shallots. I also like a fennel salad with beets and balsamic vinegar.
posted by carmen at 6:41 AM on January 21, 2010

If you pick up a nice free-range chicken, you can make Thomas Keller's roast chicken with root vegetables (leeks, rutabaga a.k.a. swede, turnips, carrots, onions, and red potatoes).
posted by letourneau at 6:46 AM on January 21, 2010

Fresh beet-root is great grated into a salad.

The best ever roasted sweet potatoes: peel then slice them into 1/4 inch thick circles. Toss them in olive oil. Place in a single layer in a pan lined with tin foil. Cover pan tightly with tin foil, and place in a cold oven. Turn oven on to 425F. After half an hour, remove top tin foil. Wait 15 minutes or so, then carefully flip the potato slices. They will have developed a nice brown crust on the bottom... Another 15 minutes or so, and you're done. The reason you put them into a cold oven is so that they spend more time in the 320-degreeish-range where the starches best convert into sugar. Mmmmm! (Recipe from Cook's Illustrated.) Very seriously worth your time.

Also: this American had never heard of a swede before this morning -- at least not the vegetal type. We call them rutabagas here, and my hometown is well known for its International Rutabaga Curling Championship, which is another awesome way to liven up some veggies if you ask me!
posted by wyzewoman at 8:00 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

What you need, sir, is the least popular recipe ever. Roasted cauliflower with garlic and anchovies. God damn.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:21 AM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

I find turnips and rutabagas to be interchangeable, but I recently learned that some people have a really strong aversion to rutabagas -- though not turnips. Anyway, my point is that I usually by turnips from the farmers' market -- not rutabagas, because they don't grow well around here -- but I think this would work with the swedes too.

Roast 'em. Cut into 1/2" thick cubes or slices, toss with olive oil, s & p, and roast at 400F until they're browned and tender. Stir a few times while cooking. I also love them roasted with some Granny Smith apple thrown in. The turnips take longer to cook (and rutabagas would take even longer), so throw the apple in when the veg is about halfway done.

And for cauliflower, here's a recipe I typed up this morning for another purpose. (It's also what I'm having leftover for lunch, so I can verify its deliciousness.)

Pasta with cauliflower

Take one head of cauliflower. Cut into slices about 1/2" thick.

In a hot pan, with olive oil, lay the cauliflower flat and brown it. Once the first side is browned, throw in a chopped onion. Add salt. Flip cauliflower, brown on second side.

Once cauliflower and onions are browned, add chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, and dried thyme or oregano. Add about 2 cups of stock. (Chicken and veggie both work.) Simmer, mashing the cauliflower occasionally. When liquid has reduced to about a 1/2 cup and cauliflower is tender, add a glug of milk, half & half, or cream. Heat for a few minutes more without boiling.

Toss with penne. (You can let the penne finish cooking in the sauce before it's fully reduced. This makes it yummier.)

Remove from heat and add generous amounts of parmesan or asiago and a good grating of lemon zest.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:23 AM on January 21, 2010

Going back to my pasty recipe, I can see I made a pig's-ear of the pastry instructions. What I should have said was that 400g flour + 100g butter + 100g lard should make four pasties.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:23 AM on January 21, 2010

Mustard sauce makes roasted winter vegetables delicious!

I don't have a recipe in front of me, but here are the basics:

Make a roux. Then whisk in 1 cup of stock (vegetable or chicken) and a spoonful of dry mustard powder. Simmer, whisking often, until the sauce is thick. This can take a while depending on your desired thickness. Add salt, pepper, and/or bottled mustard to taste. Pour into a small bowl, sprinkle with paprika, and spoon over roasted vegetables.
posted by expialidocious at 1:21 PM on January 21, 2010

We're constrained by London's street markets,

I'd hardly call you constrained by those markets. London has a vast number of markets and I'm insanely jealous. Now, one thing you could do if you have time is make your way to Brixton market or one of the other markets that caters mostly to immigrants, where you very might well find items that fall into both the exotic and the frugal category.

My dad makes mashed brussel sprouts with plenty of salt, pepper, and butter. This is the dish that made me stop hating brussel sprouts.

If you can get your hands on very unripe bananas (the skin should be deep green) you can cook them as a starch. One recipe I made that was a big hit was to take the very green bananas, slice them thin, put them in a steamer and cover with a piece of fish and steam until both the fish and banana are cooked through. I topped it with a tomato sauce but you could do something else (although as I recall tomatoes were available cheaply in the markets all year round).
posted by Deathalicious at 10:44 PM on January 21, 2010

Mutant, you'll have me betraying my old Wisconsin roots, but boiled dinner is one of the best things to do with those winter veggies. This is literally the only thing my dad knows how to cook, he learned how to do it over a woodstove on a Northwoods farm, and I learned it from him.

1 small head of white cabbage or half of a large cabbage (assume each person eats a quarter)
1 small rutabega (aka swede), about the size of your fist (or half a large one)
2 carrots
4-6 waxy potatoes
1 large or 2 small onions
smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, or salted beef

Cut the cabbage into eight wedges about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Leave the core attached (this is my dad's trick to make sure that the cabbage holds together and is easy to portion out on plates). Cut rutabega and carrots into smallish cubes, half to 3/4 inches. Quarter potatoes and onions. Cut the sausage into a few smaller lengths.

The method is really to steam more than boil. You basically add the ingredients to the pot in the order of their cooking time, with the potatoes and cabbage last, so that you can take it off the heat as soon as they are done.

Place the rutabega into a covered pot with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. Season with bay, salt, pepper and let it simmer over low heat until the rutabega begins to soften a little. Then add carrots and onion. Then the sausage. If it needs a little more water, you can add it. Lastly add the potatoes and cabbage. When the potatoes are done, it's ready to serve.

A generous splodge of butter to sink into the layers of cabbage once it's on the plate finishes it off. Good with mustard, but flavorful enough without condiments.
posted by amusebuche at 1:27 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Winter Citrus including Triple Citrus & Star Anise Marmalade recipe
posted by netbros at 2:44 PM on January 22, 2010

Though it's not just for winter, I recommend checking out Seasonal Ontario Food. Recipes are tagged by ingredients and relevant months.
posted by parudox at 3:21 AM on January 23, 2010

And let me tell you, there's nothing that livens up a Swede in January.

You take that back. They're delicious braised with butter and chicken stock and a bit of garlic....
I'm guessing Swede in this context does not mean what my Michigander brain wants it to mean...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 5:54 PM on February 4, 2010

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