Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homegrown Winter Meals

I find I feel most satisfied about locavore eating when I can create seasonal meals in the dead of winter that use local or home-grown ingredients. Here's a few recent meals I created that made use of stored foods.

First off, basic meat sauce. Who knew? I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down at the table and realized that the only ingredients in the sauce I didn't know it's origins were the onions and the wine. I always feel that it's a bonus when they are things I'm capable of growing. Wine and onions? No problem. Just have to find some grapevines around here somewhere. Mix together with garden canned tomatoes, home-grown herbs, and local beef, and voila, delicious, local, easy meal, even in the winter. Anyway, here's the meat sauce recipe:

Basic Meat Sauce (Double Recipe, enough to eat some and freeze some)

2 lbs ground beef
olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 or more garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup rich red wine
56 oz. tomato
8 oz. tomato paste
mushrooms, optional
1-2 tsp. dried basil
1-2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
bay leaf

Saute the ground beef in olive oil until browned. Scoop out and set aside. Add a little more oil and saute onions until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. About half-way through this part, add in the mushrooms and dry herbs. In the last few minutes, add in the garlic. Add the wine and deglaze the pan for a few minutes, then pitch the tomatoes, paste, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Simmer as long as you like. The longer you go, the more flavor and thicker the sauce becomes. Serve over whole-wheat pasta, or your other favorite noodle. Yum!

And last night, I made this screaming good squash soup, modeled after my friend Dana's delicious soup she brought to share on my birthday. I made it last night with home grown Blue Hubbard Squash. It is truly delightful. Please try this recipe! We served it with bakery bread and butter, a green salad, and for dessert, Persimmon Pudding (recipe below, too).

Ginger-Coconut-Squash Soup (enough for dinner, and freeze some for later)

~1 1/2-2 lbs. winter squash flesh
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2-3 inches grated ginger root
1 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion over med.-low heat in the butter/olive oil until soft and translucent (about 20 minutes). Add the ginger and stir around for a few minutes, then add the squash, coconut milk, and stock. Bring to a boil, and then turn down heat and simmer until squash is very tender. Remove from heat and puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Taste for salt and pepper, and add according to taste, and stir in lime juice to taste (I used about 2-3 tbsp.) Fresh cilantro would be delicious as a garnish, but we didn't have any.

And for dessert! I had picked a few persimmons before Christmas, and as they sat, they became very very ripe and squishy. I realized that if I didn't use them, they would mold, thus turning them into a useless space user. In rebellion, I remembered my friend Deva's Persimmon Pudding. She dictated the recipe to me over the phone last night. It's from The Joy of Cooking.

Persimmon Pudding

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and butter a shallow 3 quart baking dish.

Cut in half lengthwise 4-6 very ripe persimmons. Remove seeds, scrape pulp, and puree. Measure 1 1/2 cups pulp.
Whisk in a large bowl until light: 4 eggs.
Whisk in pulp, 2 1/2 cups buttermilk, 1/4 cup melted butter

Whisk thoroughly in a separate bowl:
1 1/2 cup sugar (I used 3/4 and it tasted fine)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I don't eat this so I used ginger)
1/2 tsp salt

Add dry to wet ingredients. Pour into baking dish.
Bake in oven until the top is deep golden brown and springs back from a light touch, about 50 minutes.
Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or yogurt.

Bon appetit, to all, and to all, a good day...

1 comment:

Ebby Puttence said...

Your meal sounds so yummy. I am going to try your meat sauce. We have just finished harvesting the last of our chard. We have still been picking carrots and mache from our cold frames buried in snow in the sub-zero weather here in New England. Our pickled cucumbers are almost gone but still have plenty of green stuff in the freezer. It brings a bit of the summer memories back up with the dirt. Just a lovely, wonderful, nourishing feeling to eat the food from your land, especially in the middle of January... Love your blog.