Dec. 7, 2009 6:57 pm
Working full time at the hospital and caring for an organic farm in the Summer doesn't leave much room for kitchen creativity 1/2 of the year. I love Winter for this reason. While the produce isn't nearly as ideal as when the CSA is running full tilt, I have more time to spend planning, shopping and cooking. Other than walking the cherry orchard with a glass of wine at sunset, I can't think of a better time than chopping veggies and stirring a bubbling pot while listening to great music and sharing the news of the day.
I'll eat anything but frozen or canned peas, but Brian is a pescetarian (mostly vegetarian who will eat an occasional fish). This creates a little challenge, but I've learned that Italian and Mexican dishes easily accommodate his food lifestyle. Over the years I have figured out how to balance the meals to include a good hunk of protein (beans and soy are terrific), a small amount of fat and tons of flavor. We are huge fans of garlic, curry, smoked paprika, cilantro, basil, lemongrass . . . a little bit packs a big punch and turns yawn into WOW.
Traverse City is quickly becoming a foody mecca. It's easy to find fresh and unusual ingredients. I was looking for the right thing to pair with my arugula salad with cannellini beans and stumbled on a wonderful combination. I roasted delicata squash brushed with meyer lemon infused olive oil and sprinkled with brown sugar. I served the squash slivers along side the beans/arugula with a bit of crumbled gorgonzola and toasted pecans over the top. Happy, happy, joy, joy! A nice riesling added the final zing.