On a cold mid-December day we gathered in a warm suburban kitchen and opened up our two boxes of vegetables. If the snow on the ground outside didn’t let us know it was winter, the bounty in the boxes certainly did! For the first time we had something that was not just a whole vegetable – we had two plump bags of slices of frozen red peppers. It seemed they probably couldn’t be stir fried easily but they would certainly be great in soups and stews.
The star of these boxes was carrots. Lots and lots of carrots. And quite a bit of butternut squash. So we put our thinking caps on and set to work.
By the time we sat down to eat in the cozy dining room decorated for the holidays we had made
- a sweet carrot salad
- a warm tomato soup with spinach mixed in
- a butternut squash soup
- bulgar wheat cooked with vegetables
- carrots, red peppers and beans cooked with curry style spices
- the pièce de résistance, a bubbling pan of enchiladas filled with carrots
- and more
We had tipped our hat to the season by breaking out the grain, the canned dried beans and the canned tomatoes. It was time to mix seasonal storage and frozen vegetables with staples – to move to the heartier fare of winter. We talked about how things always cooked fresh in the tropics might need to be modified in colder climates to lower our carbon footprint.
R shared the story of making pork chops for her family with all kinds of spices added as she had seen done when we cooked chicken last month. They had been dubious about how it would work and tentative in trying the meat. And then – magic! Everyone loved the new preparation and R said she would never make pork chops plain again.
We also talked about how happy it made all of us to cook together and talk together and eat together and have this half day in the kitchen before the children were off school and we were immersed in the family time of the winter holidays.
Personally, those enchiladas made by our hostess, L, were an eye opener. I would not have thought a vegetarian filling could be so tasty and hearty and warming. I am definitely going to make those at home!