As we move into the cold season, our food choices can shift alongside the weather.
I love those moments when someone tells me they are trying to eat well, but they just don’t feel like eating a salad every day. The only time, I say, to be eating a salad, especially in the cold weather, is if you are craving a salad. The myth of a salad every day being the healthiest thing for you is my favorite one to shatter.
If you are looking for yummy ways to cook for this season, think about the warming soups and stews, using produce that is harvested in late fall – the root vegetables and the winter squashes. Your body spends less energy breaking down and digesting food that is warm and cooked. The natural sugars in these foods are so good for the body, and what your body actually needs when you are craving sweets.
One of my favorite recipes is an Autumn Vegetable Soup by Mollie Katzen from her cookbook Still Life With Menu. You may be familiar with her most well known book, The Moosewood Kitchen.
The beauty of this soup is that any of the vegetables can be switched out for any others. Ingredients of your choice can be added to make it into any kind of dish you’d like for deep winter nourishment. This soup is essentially how I start any recipe these days, and you wouldn’t necessarily recognize the end product anymore.
Autumn Vegetable Soup
by Mollie Katzen, Still Life With Menu
2 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cup chopped leeks
1 1/2 cup quartered Brussels sprouts
1 large carrot chopped
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 large potato chopped
1 cup peeled chopped acorn or butternut squash
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste (but not too much!)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
3 cups stock or water
1 cup spinach (Mollie uses Swiss chard or collard greens)
1 large firm tomato chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup of sour cream or yogurt (optional)
sunflower seeds (for garnish)
minced fresh parsley (for garnish)
- In a large pot cook the first 11 ingredients over moderate heat (covered) for 10-15 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Add stock or water. Bring to boil, lower to a simmer. Cover and let cook slowly until everything is tender (20 minutes)
- Add spinach (or greens) tomato chunks, and chopped bell pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.
- Add herbs, soy sauce, and lemon juice and continue to simmer another 5 minutes.
- If you choose to add in the sour cream or yogurt, stir in just before serving. Garnish each bowl with sunflower seeds and parsley.
Yields 6 servings.
As I said, I make this all the time, but it doesn’t actually look anything like the original recipe anymore. Have fun adapting it to the vegetables and seasonings you enjoy most!