Monday, October 29, 2012

Cool Weather Cooking

One night, as we ate supper, (I had made a casserole of chicken, butternut squash and seasoned bread cubes) John commented that we were having heartier suppers now that the weather has cooled off. It’s true that winter and fall seem suited to warming, hearty meals  like soups and stews and casseroles. And it's not just that I have more time to cook now than in the spring. Even though business slows after the spring, I still favor lighter meals like pasta and salads, chicken and fish in the summer. And the same holds true with the herbs I use in cooking. I use basil a lot in the summer-nearly every day. It seems a shame not to take advantage of the bountiful production and to pair it with summer veggies and meats. I also use parsley, marjoram,savory and thyme, herbs toward the lighter end of the scale in terms of taste and strength. As the weather cools down, I particularly notice that I begin to use rosemary more in my cooking Still using parsley and thyme, both of which I think go with almost any savory dish. I love rosemary, but its bold flavor seems better with the more substantial, longer-cooking dishes I’m making now.

This is a simple recipe I got years ago during a Rodale Institute workshop I attended. It lends itself to variations and additions.
My mom used to add turnips and-or parsnips. I've used sweet potatoes in addition to or in place of the regular potatoes. And even with the colder weather, you should have plenty of fresh rosemary to use for awhile yet. One thing the instructor emphasized in this recipe, make sure to include cabbage-it adds a lot of flavor.
Place 2 sprigs of rosemary-about 4"-6" long in a roasting pan.
Add cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, onions, cabbage and cubed butternut squash. Add a small amount of chicken broth~maybe 1/4 cup or so. 
Cover and roast at 350 for one hour.
Goes very well with ham, pork roast or beef.

I'm working in the shop preparing for the holidays. I try not to start any actual Christmas work till October. When I worked in the garden center, they would start arrangements, etc. in August I thought that was awful . Watch for our holiday newsletter during the first half of November.

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