Last year, I signed up for a winter farmshare with my local CSA. The summer farmshare rocks my world. The winter farmshare was pretty great too. Of course, I live in New York, so local food in the winter means LOTS of root vegetables, onions, leeks or garlic, winter squashes, winter greens and cauliflower. My favourite thing was the delicious flavourful, sweet carrots. My farmshare also sent some frozen summer vegetables like corn and tomatoes which are lovely, but what I want to focus on today is the real winter stuff.
In addition to being limited to a fairly local palette of vegetables, I am usually really busy winter in terms of work. So ease of preparation is important. Last year, my winter cooking boiled down to five basic kinds of dishes…Soups, Roasted Vegetables, Gratins, Savoury Tarts and anything I can think of to use up beets.
If you have a winter farmshare in the NorthEastern United States (or somewhere with a similar climate) and have limited time to plan and prepare meals, I hope that you find this post helpful!
Soups are easy to make and can allow you to use up all of an overwhelming amount of particular ingredients. Freeze the soup in small batches, to speed up the thawing process later. Winter soups freeze really well. Even a winter farm share stops delivering in Feb, March and April so a freezer full of soup will come in handy later.
- Borscht uses beets, carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage. Some weeks my entire farmshare can get made into borscht. Borscht tastes much better after having been frozen for a while.
- Caldo Verde uses Kale, Potatoes and Garlic (and leeks too if you’ve got ‘em) and wins the prize for being one of the fastest, simplest and most delicious soups in the world
- I have become obsessed with this Red Lentil and Autumn Vegetables Soup since it can use butternut, pumpkin, sweet potato, yam or carrots.
- Smokey Pumpkin Soup can be made with Butternut or any kind of winter squash and with leeks or onions depending on what you get. Aside from being totally delicious, this recipe does not require you to peel or cut the winter squash, which can be challenging and downright dangerous sometimes! You just bake the whole thing and scoop the flesh out of the skin once it’s soft. MUCH EASIER!
- Carrot Soup with Fennel Seeds and Garlic is one of my favorite easy soups. It has three steps. 1. Throw everything but the stock in a pot and let the vegetables sweat. 2. Add the stock and let it simmer until the carrots are soft 3. Puree.
I actually did not get large quantities of cauliflower from my CSA last winter, but I imagine that some years you would. Here are three easy cauliflower soups.
- Gingery Cauliflower Soup
- Cauliflower Soup with Almonds and Turmeric
- Perfectly Seasoned Cauliflower Puree
BROILED OR ROASTED VEGETABLES
Roasting is such an easy way to prepare a filling and comforting meal. Leftover roasted vegetables also pack into nice lunches.
- I ate many, many batches of Roasted Spiced Carrots with Tahini Yogurt Sauce last winter.
- My husband likes it when I make Aloo Chat Inspired Oven Fries. This one requires that you make two kinds of chutney, but it is worth the trouble.
- By far the fastest and easiest is Oven Yam Fries with Miso Gravy.
If I am lucky enough to receive Cauliflower I will make…
- Roasted cauliflower with gremolata bread crumbs
- Roasted cauliflower salad with hazelnuts and pickled celery
- Roasted cauliflower with dukkah
- Roasted cauliflower with sumac and lemon
- Roasted cauliflower with curry and cashew butter
GRATINS AND SAVOURY TARTS
Even the most humble of winter vegetables can be made into a fancy special gratin or savory tart. I’m not going to lie. These dishes are time consuming but very worth it for a nice dinner, or if you want to pack yourself fancy lunches for a week. You can use one of my gratin recipes or just invent one. Basically, if you have some root vegetables, some cheese, a bit of cream or stock and the patience to thinly slice vegetables, you can make a gratin.
- I lost count of how many Carrot and Butternut Tarts with Goat Cheese in a Poppy Seed Crust I made last year. This tart with Spicy Beet Salad with Horseradish was pretty much my favourite meal last winter. You could use pumpkin, yams or sweet potatoes instead of butternut.
- Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
- Cauliflower Gratin with Horseradish and Poppy Seeds
- Yam and Swiss Chard Gratin with Chipotle
- Fennel, Celeriac and Potato Gratin
- Potato, Leek and Mushroom Gratin
- Butternut and Sage Gratin
WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL OF THESE BEETS!!!!
Oh my word! I like beets, but WOW! If you are drowning in beets from your CSA read on
- This Spicy Beet Salad with Horseradish saved me last year. It manages to take a really sweet vegetable and make it into something truly savoury. I can eat a lot of this salad.
- I started making this Beet Caviar at the end of my CSA deliveries. I plan to make it more this year. It is amazing with whipped ricotta on seed and nut bread.
- I happen to think that this is the world’s best Pickled Beet recipe. I like to eat pickled beets on green salad topped with smoked fish and hard-boiled eggs. They are also good with sharp cheddar on toast or served alongside a roasted bird or salmon.
- Ruby Salad is delicious and will use up beets and red cabbage.
- Don’t forget the classic Green Salad Topped with Roasted Beets option.
- Of course there is always Borcht which uses up beets and everything else in your box as well.