Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Much of our December seemed unseasonably warm, and January so far seems to have continued the same pattern.  It was warm enough to have a picnic on our deck on New Year's Day. Almost two weeks later, it is still relatively warm and sunny, just one dusting of snow. The larger ponds are still open and the smaller ponds are just skimming over with ice.  Not good in the long term.

But, we have indeed turned the corner (and we can enjoy this knowing it is not caused by our actions), the days are now getting longer!

"WHAT DO YOU EAT IN JANUARY?" is the title of Chapter 18 of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in the Life of Food.  If you can afford it and are not on a locavore quest like the Kingsolver family, the answer is "Anything you want."  The markets are not only full of berries from California and South America but blueberries are "on special - only $3.99" (externalities not included) for a half-pint box. Asparagus?  Sure. The produce section does not reflect the season outside. I still buy lettuce and spinach and Florida citrus, but otherwise try to stay as local as possible.

Locally, however, the selection is getting limited. The "our own" produce at one of the few local farms still open is pretty much limited to potatoes and squash. I pick out the smallest of the German butterball potatoes, parboil then dry and coat with olive oil. Roasted on the grill or in a hot frying pan, they are delicious. A few cranberries and local apples (think Cranberry-Apple Crisp) are still available as is cider. I use some potatoes along with the corn I froze last summer to make New England Corn Chowder and along with the chili I froze last fall, Corn and Green Chili Chowder.  The cider and onions pair to make Cider Onion Soup while roasted squash garnishes the Mushroom Risotto. I dip into the freezer for Pesto, for blueberries (the small Maine ones purchased last summer for about five dollars a quart) to make Blueberry Cobbler and for strawberries I froze last summer to garnish Chipolte Chocolate - Olive Oil Cake.  These berries bring a bit of summer to the winter table.

I've never been a fan of winter tomatoes (exception), but now there is more reason  to opt for canned ones this time of year.  Also, after a few years of mindlessly buying the chicken and vegetable stock now so ubiquitous in the markets in stacks of 32 ounce boxes, I'm buying bullion (actually "Better Than Bullion", small jar in photo at left) and adding my own water. An 8 ounce jar makes 256 ounces or 9 and 1/2 quarts (or the equivalent of 9 and 1/2  32 ounce boxes) of stock.

Reviewed 9/19/2017

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