Back in the summer, I wrote a post called “A week of CSA meals” which outlined what I did with my CSA veggies for a week. I have gotten some nice feedback on that and have been wanting to write a winter version – a week of root cellar/freezer/preserved meals, which illustrates what I’ve been making with everything I squirreled away last fall. So, just over a week ago, I sat down, made a nice meal plan, filled with lots of wintery meal ideas. And then I got a few days in, work got busy, meals got less creative and then I got the stomach flu. Ah, the best laid plans…
So, here’s a week (and a bit) of suppers made from ingredients in my root cellar, freezer, and pantry, in the real world, where plans get made and subsequently thrown out the window.
Sunday: We had friends in town and cooked up a feast. We made quiche with a vegetable crust, a grated beet & carrot salad with some not-so-local, but still delicious greens, roasted potatoes, and fruit crisp for dessert. (We had strawberries and rhubarb in the freezer and apples in the root cellar, and baked them with a crispy oatmeal top.) The vegetable crust for the quiche was made of zucchini (which I had grated and frozen in the summer), grated parsnip, and grated carrot. See recipe at the bottom of this post. The quiche itself was a mushroom, goat cheese quiche.
Monday: Parsnip apple soup with fried potatoes on the side. The parsnip soup is loosely made as follows: I chopped and sauteed an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. I added a teaspoon or so of each of the following spices: curry powder, ginger, garam masala. Then I took about 4-5 large parsnips, peeled and chopped, and added them to the onion mixture and covered them with water. I peeled and chopped 2 apples and threw them in there too. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as any additional spices. Meanwhile I boiled the potatoes in a separate pot until soft, and then fried them in a bit of oil. If I’m in the mood for comfort food, I’ll add cheddar cheese to the top.
Tuesday: Homemade macaroni and cheese. I like to add vegetables to the cheese-noodle mixture. In the winter months, mushrooms are really good, as are the green beans I froze last summer. Once the cheese-noodle-vegetable mixture has been mixed up and spread into the baking pan, I add a jar of (drained) tomatoes to the top and then bake it.
Wednesday: Quick week night meal. Back in the summer when I was tomato canning with a friend, we canned up the tomato liquid that was left over. (I don’t like my canned tomatoes to be too watery.) This tomato juice/pulp makes AMAZING soup. Chop up and saute an onion and a clove or two of garlic, add some salt and basil, and pour in a litre of tomato liquid. Bring to a boil. Soup! Pair with some cheese on toast.
Thursday: Another quick week night meal. Egg sandwich for dinner. Fried egg on nice bread. I can’t actually remember what all I put on this sandwich, but I often add a little pesto or sprouts.
Friday – Monday: Okay, this is where things all fell apart. I wasn’t feeling great at this point. And Friday night through to early Tuesday I basically just ate plain rice, oatmeal, applesauce, and anything else that was sufficiently bland as to not upset my stomach further. Ugh. Let’s move on.
Tuesday: I worked up enough motivation and appetite to cook again! Yay! I started simple, with an old stand-by: squash soup. This batch also had some carrots, parsnips, and an apple.
Wednesday: Still dragging a bit from the flu. Vitamins! I need vitamins! I went through the root cellar for inspiration. Beets? Yes! Carrots? Yes! Apples? Yes. Into the food processor they went (using the grating attachment). Then I found cranberries in the freezer. Yes, they’ll make a nice addition. More grated salad for me, with a simple olive oil, lime, basil dressing. I also felt like I needed comfort food. Hmm… potatoes? Yes, potatoes. So, we made potato salad. The kind my mom makes, with boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, and mayo. I like to add a little pesto for flavour.
Thursday: Back into the swing of things! Since I started this tale with a dinner party, I’ll end with one too. We cooked up a meal for some friends (as our wedding present to them). First course, Quebec cheeses with dilly beans, blueberry apple chutney, and pickled beets. Second course: Prime rib roast (we modified this braising recipe), roasted root vegetables, and mashed potatoes. Third course: pumpkin pudding and ginger snap cookies. The beef was from a freezer order in the fall, veggies from the root cellar, and pumpkin from the freezer.
And there you have it. A week of meals using primarily ingredients from our root cellar, freezer, and supply of preserves.
What are your favourite winter meals?
Yours in Food,
(Note: To give you a sense of what I’m eating at other times of the day, my lunches are generally leftovers from the night before. Breakfasts are usually one of the following: oatmeal with frozen fruit; cornmeal with cheese, eggs, and salsa; smoothies with toast; and sometimes rice with veggies and eggs. Snacks are often nut-based or include hummus. My partner regularly whips up a batch of homemade hummus and there’s usually some in the fridge.)
Golden Vegetable Crust
From Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.
2 cups coarsely-grated summer squash
1/2 cup coarsely grated parsnip
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used buckwheat and it worked beautifully)
(extra butter to melt on top)
Place the grated squash in a colander. Salt it lightly, and let it stand for 10 minutes over a bowl or sink. Squeeze out all excess moisture. (Marla’s note: if using frozen squash, simply defrost and drain off excess water.)
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Transfer mixture to a buttered 9-ich pie pan and form a crust with fork or fingers.
Bake for 40 minutes at 375° F. Midway through baking, brush the top surface with extra melted butter.
Fill crust with quiche batter, or any other savory pie filling you can find or concoct.