Wednesday, February 2, 2011
I hope you're keeping cosy where ever you are. It is days like this, among many others, I am incredibly grateful to live in sunny California. With a high of 60 and clear blue skies, you can almost forget it's winter. That is, until you check the weather and realize most of the country is digging out of snow and ice. To keep your bellys full and warm, here are a few winter recipes to inspire you. Heck, if you're stuck inside you mine as well cook, right? Enjoy.
The ideal cold weather food is chili. This Turkey Chili , from The LA Times, is made with both guajillo and chipotle peppers. Both smoked, they provide not only heat but a real depth of flavor that will set this chili apart from some of it's more bland brothers. I always use dark meat ground turkey when I cook because the white meat tends to get really dry really fast. Also, I only buy ground turkey from a butcher who grinds it on site. The same applies to any ground meat, for that matter. I feel better knowing where it was ground, what's in it, and that it is fresh. Remember, chili is an ideal one pot meal. Serve it with a big salad and no matter how cold it is outside you'll be happy inside.
On the rare occasion I'm snowed in, I love tackling a kitchen project outside my usual repertoire. These Mushroom Spring Rolls in Lettuce Cups, a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the NY Times are just that kind of recipe. Definitely not difficult but a bit time consuming (although the recipe makes eight large spring rolls so you wont be rolling all day). The mushroom filling, spiked with lemon, Thai chili, and fresh chervil, is vegetarian but full of flavor. You can roll these early in the day and keep them covered in the fridge, even freeze them if they're tightly wrapped. No getting around the fact that they are fried so if you're diving in, make sure you know the key points of perfect deep frying. Your oil must be hot enough (if it isn't the rolls will be in the oil far too long, getting greasy instead of crispy). You also need to be sure you have plenty of oil in your pot. If it isn't enough (about two-thirds full), it will take extra long to fry, again creating oil-laden spring rolls, not golden brown and crunchy. The filling is pre cooked so they won't fry too long (about 5 minutes). And, hey, you don't deep fry often...why not indulge a bit?
I'd be remiss if I didn't include one Super Bowl-worthy recipe today. Loving this take on salsa verde, Pepita-Tomatillo Dip from The Washington Post. Crunchy pumpkin seeds and fresh tomatillos are spiked with jalapeno and sweetened with a bit of honey. Easy, easy and my guess is this one tastes even better the day after you make it. Fire it up on Saturday, buy a big bag of your favorite chips (I love these), and settle in for the big game. It's short on time and long on flavor...may the best team win.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking! Stay warm out there...
Posted by Mmm....that's good at 7:59 AM