Winter

cheesy-buffalo-roasted-cauliflower-potato-soupYes, the title is a mouthful, but let me just say, every component plays an integral part in this AMAZING soup.

And straight from the mouth of my cauliflower-hating husband..."Hunna (he calls me hunna) when you have guests over, THIS soup has to be on the menu. It has to be "the soup", as in our house soup. One that never-ever goes away." Yep, that's how good it is. This comes from the man that hates cauliflower. He won't let me steam it in the house because it smells so bad. Roasting on the other hand doesn't release those stinky smells and makes the cauliflower taste wonderful.

There is something about this soup that gives it the perfect mouthfeel. The buffalo sauce just adds some awesome highlights and spice.

I highly suggest making a big pot for Super Bowl, it will disappear. And if you happen to serve it with my Easy Artisan Bacon-Cheese Bread, you might hear angels sing. I'm just sayin...

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tarte_tatin.jpgSounds funny, right? “Winter fruit”. It’s a sorry state of affairs, especially in California where we can get so many splendid things almost all year round AND believe it or not, we DO have winter.

The Farmers Market web sites list what’s in season and during winter the list looks like it’s trying too hard.  With un-enticing things like Gogi and Ground Cherry (what the…?) it looks like a parent making excuses for their untalented child. When I clicked on the Fruit icon at LocalHarvest.com it showed an array of exciting things like apricots and melons, only to find out that they were hocking the seeds to grow them with for ‘sweet goodness grown at home.’  Jesus!

The one fruit that gets to shine during winter is the apple.  I love apples. I’m so glad the growers of Delicious got it together and stopped growing that mush bomb. Red Delicious has returned to the apple of my childhood. Hard as a rock, crisp, juicy and sweet.

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oranges.jpgIt's winter and time for preserving all the glorious citrus fruit while it's at its peak in the market and I'm lucky to have Seville oranges. I've read about Seville oranges but never have seen them in my market until last week. Well, you imagine my excitement as I  tore endless plastic bags from the roll, filling them quickly as the display of oranges disappeared. A Seville orange isn't the nicest looking orange I've every seen but a little sugar and a little heat and I guarantee I will transform them into the prettiest jars in my pantry!

I love making marmalade especially in the quiet month of January here in Maine. Life slows down as snow and ice covers the vista and I spend a lot less time outdoors and more time in my kitchen. Is marmalade difficult you ask? If you are a patient person, the answer is no but if you don't have lots of patience, pick something else to make.

The process of peeling the rind and only the rind with no white pith is an involved task that takes a fair amount of skill and time but it is the most important part of marmalade making because this is what make it unpleasantly bitter. So, take your time in the beginning and you'll reap the rewards when you open that first jar-I promise!

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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.

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bloodorancealmondcakeIt's March, and the weather is still pretty miserable. There are cold fronts, snow storms, dense fog, and freezing rain blanketing various parts of the country.

While I can't make the daffodils grow any more quickly, I can share a recipe for a refreshing Italian Almond and Orange with Blood Orange Compote that is sure to make you feel warm and happy. I created the recipe a few weeks ago and have since made it two more times. It's that good.

While this Italian torte bakes, your home will be filled with the bright scent of citrus. Since it's subtly sweet yet rich with almond flavor, it's ideal for pairing with a glass of Italian Vin Santo on a relaxing afternoon. It also makes a lovely formal dessert when dressed with a spicy compote of tart blood oranges soaked in honey, vanilla, cloves, and star anise.

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