Its winter. Kind of. It feels more like spring or autumn the past few days, but we have had some cold days. It may not be a popular opinion, but I hope we have more. I want to cook and eat "winter foods" - roasted and braised things, comforting and warming things. I want to spend time on my couch, in my bed, snuggled up and cozy. I want to spend time in my kitchen, spending the day making staples like a batch of brown rice, or beans, or vegetable stock. I need to do this now, before the sunshine pulls me outside to play, before the freshness and beautiful simplicity of summer produce makes me want to eat less "doctored" or transformed foods. I crave the months of cold, snowy, dark time to rest and rejuvenate, to nourish myself and my friends and family, to be quiet. Without that time, and our winters have been getting more and more mild over the past few years, I never feel quite ready for spring. The past few days have been warm - around 6 degrees Celsius (yes that counts are "warm" in Canadian winter). Today its rainy and 11. I still didn't leave the house, instead hibernating on my day off, cooking and lazing about watching movies.
When it has been cold in the last month, I've roasted vegetables. I did brussel sprouts and potatoes with lemon and thyme. Delicata and acorn squashes tossed in balsamic with cumin, chili powder and rosemary. Next up I'm thinking cabbage, inspired by this and this and the half head of savoy and full red cabbage in my fridge. I've also been salivating over Molly's braised savoy cabbage for about a year now, and Nigel Slater's cabbage recipes in Tender are making me swoon (and maybe some dumplings, pierogies, a cabbage galette?). It seems that I just want to eat cabbage lately, and mushrooms. I'm fickle I suppose because a month ago it was all squash and brussels.
Anyway, the boy has been taking an active interest in my blog, and food blogging in general lately. He's after me to post about a salad that I made with the roasted delicata squash. He's also after me to make it again, so he can eat it and I can photograph it. Although there are so many similar squash salads out there lately, I'm sure you can picture it. He says it is the best salad he's ever eaten, and uses it as an example of an original recipe I could post about. I say its just an amalgamation of a bunch of recipes I've seen, but I suppose that is the case with most of what I cook. I get an idea for something I want to make, then search around trying to find a recipe that confirms it/explains a process. I usually end up just reading 5-10 recipes and following a method - perhaps this is a luxury of a mostly-vegetarian, non-baker.
Its supposed to get cold again this week, perhaps there is more roasted squash in
Spicy Roasted Squash Salad with Pomegranates, Feta, Kale, Parsley, and Sprouts
For the roasted squash:
1-2 delicata squashes (I often cook larger quantities of things than I want for just one meal, perhaps because I bring dinners/lunches/snacks to work. Cook as much squash as you like/will eat.) Halved, seeds removed (and saved to also roast), sliced into 3/4 inch half-moons
cumin (to taste, maybe a 1/2 tsp per squash)
chili powder (mine is spicy, probably a 1/2 tsp per squash)
leaves from a sprig of rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper
Roast at 375 F 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and tender.
Eat immediately, or reserve for later use.
I had in my head, and on my To Cook list for awhile, and idea for a roasted squash salad, with wheatberries or farro, arugula, feta and pomegranate. Instead I've done a few all vegetables reincarnations. One night a friend stopped by for dinner, after a day of bubbly and movies with the boy. There was some carrot soup in the fridge, with a side salad of kale, pomegranate, feta, squash, and a little extra balsamic and olive oil. One time I brought a work dinner of roasted squash with radicchio and parsley, with tahini and roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes with horseradish creme fraiche. One time I added quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and radish sprouts.
Like most, this "recipe" is obviously quite flexible, while being easy, healthy, and delicious. I do on occasion find squash to be a bit sweet for my liking, so the addition of smoky cumin, spicy chili, and fresh parsley help to lift it up. And pairing it with bitter radicchio is nice as well, if you're into that kind of thing.