WIAW 103 – Brrr…

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Sometimes it feels as if I’m reporting on the weather as much as on What I Ate (because it is Wednesday…) And well – there are reasons for this.

WIAW 103 - Brrr... Inhabited Kitchen

One reason is that I do talk about seasonal local food, and I need you to understand what the seasons are like around here. I just read a piece about a local chef having conniptions at that phrase – because there are no local seasonal vegetables in New York at this time of year. When we talk about Winter Vegetables, we don’t mean produce coming ripe and being harvested in February… we mean the apples and root vegetables and apples and (if you’re lucky) cabbage and apples and maybe a squash here and there, and apples… the traditional storage crops. Which is the reason I have no trouble with the modern storage crops of frozen peas and green beans… and some citrus in season (which is never local, after all)

People in Florida are already talking about strawberries. It may be a month before I see even Florida strawberries in my stores – local ones won’t come in until June. There is a reason that a whole strain is called June-bearing – they ripen all at once in June! But while they put fresh strawberries on their Valentine’s Day table, New York City broke a 100 year old record for cold on the day. Two degrees below 0F. (That’s -19° Celsius… For most of us reading this, that’s Cold. OK, I have a couple of you in Canada and Sweden – and Minnesota – who laugh at this… but for most of my readers…)

Which brings up the other reason I talk about weather… Like many migraineurs, I am weather sensitive. It’s not that heat or cold bother me, but abrupt swings between them do. Like – oh, 45°F to -2° to 53° within a few days. So, this has not been a Good Week.

We have a few days where I vaguely waved Rich at the kitchen – “There’s a… thing… in a plastic thing… heat it. And add… there’s meat stuff. In a bag. In the freezer.” (Yes, aphasia is one of my symptoms – often the first. Makes life interesting…) Somehow we didn’t get any pictures of that process… (But that is the reason I always have something that can be heated… possibly with a few additions to make a meal.)

I did manage to pull together a day with actual pictures… sort of…

WIAW 103 - Brrr... Inhabited Kitchen

OK, breakfast. These days I usually wake up in reasonable condition, so that’s just my usual Morning Fog…  Porridge. I have experimented further. I’m back to the version I wrote about – I prefer it to any later attempt. I’m probably settled in here for the rest of this season – we’ll see what I do next Winter. That with a basic Orange Kefir shake, and coffee…

WIAW 103 - Brrr... Inhabited Kitchen

Lunch was Clear out the Fridge. First, I’d made this wonderful slow cooked white bean and butternut squash stew that… wasn’t very wonderful… There was too much water, and somehow I overcooked it, and seriously underseasoned it, and it was soggy (except for the bits of peel I apparently missed on the squash) and… I mean, we ate it, but…  Then I got a bright idea, and put it all in the blender (and added some more ginger) and as soup, it wasn’t bad at all. (Largely because that took care of the texture problem.) It wasn’t great, and this is the last you’ll hear of it (at least, unless I Fix It) but it was a lot better than it had been as stew. So we’d had some the day I figured it out, and then finished it here, with crackers. And then I had… something… Some sort of leftovers but I do not remember what, and I did not get a picture.  Oh, well. You got the idea…

Later in the afternoon I was a bit more together again. I had a big package of Italian sausage – I’d used some in the Sausage with Ceci – and while I froze half as it was for later use, I’d had the idea of browning it and freezing it the way I do hamburger meat. I cut it all out of the casings, and then added lots of chopped onion (because I do not want to drain off that fat – it holds much of the flavor!) So now I have a nice big freezer bag full of cooked meat and onion, which I’ll be able to just toss into things as is, without having to pull out a pan or take the time to brown it. An even quicker version of the Sausage with Ceci – this and a can of chickpeas. This in a jar of marinara sauce, or even a can of tomatoes with other seasoning added. Even this on pizza – I’m starting to eye it as something to try making myself… Commercial crusts seem to be more and more readily available – even gluten free (though whole grain gluten free? Not so much.)

WIAW 103 - Brrr... Inhabited Kitchen

So anyhow, I cooked the sausage and onion, put most of it aside to cool and then freeze, looked at the rest… I sliced some mushrooms and added them. I added about a cup of chickpeas left from the previous batch I’d cooked. Then, for variety, I added some of those frozen peas – and some pear tomatoes I froze last Fall, when we had a sudden influx right before the first frost. Amazing how good those taste when it is snowing out…  A few quick shots, and dinner.

Is anything fresh starting to come in where you live? (And yes, I’m perfectly happy to hear from the Southern Hemisphere!) December was so warm, I’d hoped we’d have early greens that overwintered, but I’m sure this weather killed anything that made it this far – we’ll have to wait for new crops. I finished the escarole in the freezer – still have some kale “muffins” – still have some of the roasted tomatoes (I think they’re going into a pasta dish sometime soon…)  After record breaking warmth in December and record breaking cold in February, it’s anyone’s guess when the first Spring vegetables will come in!

Meanwhile – let me make some more soup… Brrr…

(And Laura is talking about 90° weather in San Diego!)

OK, then, dancing around Jenn’s party...   It’s Wednesday – what did you eat?

WIAW 103 - Brrr... Inhabited Kitchen



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