Winter

What's More Fun Than Saying Lemonquat?

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by Susan Russo

lemonquatecakewholeIs there another name as fun to say as "kumquat"? Yes. Lemonquat, limequat, and orangequat (also called mandarinquat). I didn't make these up; they are citrus hybrids -- part kumquat and part lemon, lime, or orange, respectively.

A soft-spoken, affable farmer named George T. Schnurer, who owns and operates Betty B's Ranch in Ramona, California, sells a wide variety of cheerful citrus, including orangequats, lemonquats, and di rigeur Meyer lemons.

Though the juicy sweet-tart orangequats have a robust orange flavor that I love, I am positively smitten with the lemonquats. You might expect given their name that lemonquats are overly sour or acidic. They aren't. Like lemon drops, they're rather sweet with hints of tartness.

Lemonquats like kumquats are entirely edible. Though wonderful raw, they're simply amazing in baked goods. Despite their playful name and unique flavor, there aren't too many recipes for lemonquats, that is, except for hard drinks. Since this is G- rated blog, I figured I'd do something more wholesome, like cake.

Kabocha

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by Jessica Harper

kabochaI am all about kabocha squash.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I do have other obsessions, but today it’s squash.

I bought some of the stuff (aka Japanese pumpkin) at the Farmers’ Market in Santa Monica last weekend, from a vendor who had very nicely already pre-seeded, pre-peeled and pre-cut it. (Actually what I am all about is people who pre-do things like this since if I had to do them myself I would never eat the food that requires such tasks.)

Anyway, all I did was steam the squash till it was tender, then whip it up in the food processor with a little salt and pepper and a tablespoon of coconut milk and it was dreamy.

Kiss your butternut squash goodbye, my friends. This one is much smoother and sweeter. Needs no added oomph, like it’s demanding cousin butternut does.

Hearty Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

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by James Moore

3beanchiliI love hearty spicy chili, especially during the winter months. This one is quick to make with just basic ingredients and guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day.

The variety of beans – red kidney, black and pinto – gives the chili a nice “meaty” quality. I think it has a nice balance of heat, but you can add extra cayenne or a chopped jalapeño to add a little more “fire”.

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Onion Galette

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by Matt Armendariz

GALETTE 550pxI get downright giddy when I think of galettes. Rustic, free-formed, and shockingly beautiful, they are everything I want in a baked good and then some.

Simplicity is rewarded tenfold in my opinion, and if there’s one in a bakery case or counter chances are I will order it, no matter the ingredients.

Because I love them that much. I had to share the recipe for this savory pie comes from the Food Network Kitchens. This is a group I know very well and every time we photograph their recipes I know I’m in for a creative treat that works. They always work. And they are always delicious, so thanks, FNK!

What can I say about this galette? It’s gorgeous, both in appearance and flavor. It makes me feel like I am a million miles away in a cafe, and pairing a slice of this with a glass of rosé or sancerre might possibly make you the happiest person on the planet. Did I mention how gorgeous it is?

A Winter Pick-Me-Up: Roasted Vegetable Salad

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by David Latt

wintersaladNow that the fall has given way to colder weather, enjoying winter’s chill outdoors requires a well-insulated coat and good gloves. Indoors, the kitchen fights back the cold with a hot oven and good food ready to eat. The best winter food comforts our spirits and nourishes our bodies. Nothing does that better than a roasted vegetable salad.

In summer, a ripe tomato salad mixed with peppery arugula leaves and bits of salty, creamy Bulgarian feta can be a meal in and of itself. When the weather cools and a weakening sun denies farmers the heat they need to grow nature’s leafy wonders, we still hunger for salads but now it’s time to look to hearty greens and root vegetables to satisfy that craving.

In winter, walking through the local supermarket’s fresh produce section, it’s easy to believe we live in a one-season world. Vegetables and fruit that require summer’s heat are stacked high in the bins. But one taste and it’s easy to tell, these delectables have been grown out of season or traveled long distances to reach our tables.

Root vegetables like celery root, beets, turnips and potatoes grow well in the colder months. When roasted, their starches convert into sugar, coaxing the best out of these subterranean gems.

Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate with Frozen Peppermint Whipped Cream

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by Cathy Pollak

Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate

Are you still making hot chocolate from the store bought mix? This winter season, try something different. Make it from scratch, with real chocolate. It's a totally different taste experience. And there's a good chance you won't go back to a mix. And honestly, this doesn't take much longer (unless you are using instant).

I remember the first time I discovered hot cocoa did not have to come from a powdered mix, I was shocked. And this Peppermint Bark Hot Chocolate will make you a believer. I hope you will give it a chance.

The kid's eye's will pop when they see you add the Frozen Peppermint Whipped cream to the top of their mug. Cue happy music.

I broke up my peppermint bark chocolate bars into my saute pan. I love using a large saute pan to make hot chocolate. The large surface area makes it come together and heat up quickly. Easier to stir too.

Homemade Pink Grapefruit Curd

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by Hillary Davis

grapefruitcurdThere was a wicker basket filled with pink grapefruit sitting on my counter. In the background, my kitchen window was like a snow globe, showcasing big flakes falling thickly in the woods.

Scones were baking in the oven, sending off curls of cinnamon aroma, and they were almost done. Now was the time to definitely decide what to make to serve with them, and the quickest recipe I could think of was to make curd. It's one of the most asked for recipes from the students in my cooking classes so I could do it with my eyes closed, but the problem was, no lemons. Thank goodness! The pink grapefruit made the most luscious, tart, sweet, amazing curd. And it only took minutes.

Requiring only 4 ingredients, I was able to whip this up and cool it in time to serve with the scones, which also needed a few minutes to cool down to room temperature.

Holiday Oysters

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by Brenda Athanus

oystersplainEveryone has an event that ignites the holiday spirit. Maybe it’s a family outing to cut down a tree or baking spicy, fragrant cookies but for me it’s that annual telephone call a week in advance and the magical ride to Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb, Maine.

The phone call and the ride is the start of the holiday season for me, it’s even better then listening to Handel’s Messiah. I order plenty to last from Christmas Eve through New Years Eve, and I serve them in copious quantities.

Barb Scully, the owner of the oyster farm, dives 40 foot deep into the ‘brisk’ water of the Damariscotta River in front of her business/home-that is her description. I should add that the brackish water is almost frozen by Christmas and she generally stops diving for oysters by the 25th, closing her operation down for a few months.

She is a skinny, short-haired woman with pasty white skin and a constant indentation circling her face from her diver’s wet suit. She has a rather abrupt manner to her, but boy, are her oysters the Rolls Royce of shellfish. When I get them they are barely hours old and she dives for the big ones, especially for me. I’ll eat little oysters if I have to but I prefer the older, jumbo ones - luncheon plate size.

Polenta Stuffed Artichokes

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by Amy Sherman

polentastuffedartichokesMy recipe for polenta stuffed artichokes came about thanks to winning some heirloom artichokes from Ocean Mist. When I was working on my first cookbook I needed artichokes and it wasn’t quite artichoke season. Fortunately Ocean Mist came to my rescue and kindly shipped me a whole carton full and I’ve been a fan ever since. I've found each of the varieties of artichokes they grow to be particularly plump and meaty with great flavor and not overly bitter. I'm a subscriber to their newsletter, which alerts me to when and where artichokes are on sale locally and sometimes also gives away artichokes.

Most recipes use just the artichoke hearts or they call for stuffing the whole artichoke with bread crumb stuffing. I decided to try an entirely different kind of stuffing — lemon and goat cheese polenta. Artichokes tend to make other ingredients taste sweet, so the tangy and salty flavor profile of lemon and cheese complements it perfectly. It will seem like a lot of polenta, but it's what makes the dish so hearty. Use as much or as little of the polenta as you like.

Streusel Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

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by Susan Salzman

MUFFIN sweetpotato3Sweet potatoes were not my responsibility this year, instead, I volunteered to make my stuffing, a shaved brussel sprout salad, cranberries, this tart, and mini-cranberry hand pies.

While the tart was baking in the oven, I decided to roast the one sweet potato I had on hand and 3 purple beets. The oven was already pre heated – time management is the key to life. Don’t you agree? I knew I wanted to make a quinoa and beet salad over the weekend and roasting the beets in advance, stored in a bit of vinaigrette is always a great time saver. The sweet potato, I decided, would be breakfast, “the day after”.

I had found this muffin recipe a few weeks back and experimented by swapping out some of the original ingredients and turned it into a pumpkin-pecan muffin. They were very good. Packing some up for both Levi’s teacher as well as a friend of mine who suddenly lost her husband to a massive heart attack, I was only left with a nibble and a few crumbs. I liked them enough, but felt they needed that WOW factor.

Bittersweet chocolate chips and a sprinkling of streusel topping was just what I was looking for. The WOW factor was achieved and a basic, gluten free muffin base is now happily tucked away in my overflowing recipe binder.

 

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