Just because it isn't summertime, it doesn't mean you have to give up on eating tasty fruit
. Winter provides its own unique produce such as squash, apples, pears, leeks, Brussels sprouts, kale and cranberries.
Below I have used squash, Brussels sprouts and pears and turned them into delicious and easy-to-make dishes. You can purchase these fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store or at your local farmers markets.
This is an excellent soup that is hearty and warming. While it takes a while to prepare and cook, it's worthwhile in the end. It's a great soup to have on a cold day.
1 butternut squash
1 cup half & half
¼ cup chopped carrots
1 tbsp nutmeg
14 oz. vegetable stock
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cinnamon for garnish, to taste
1. Heat squash in oven until soft (I did 30 minutes at 300 degrees) and remove seeds.
2. Heat butter, carrots and oil in pot.
3. Scoop out squash from shell and add to pot along with vegetable stock, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4. Cook mixture until boiling and let simmer until carrots are tender.
5. In a blender, puree soup mixture until smooth.
6. Return to pot and stir in half and half.
7. Bring soup back to boil and simmer until mixture begins to thicken.
8. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve with warm bread or crackers.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This recipe was given to me by a friend and I expanded on it. Brussels sprouts are not exacty a top favorite vegetable of many people, but this recipe turns that notion on its head and is a quick and easy to make dish.
1 lb Brussels sprouts
½ cup carrots
¼ cup pine nuts
1 cup sliced potato
1 tbsp butter
¼ tsp ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cut Brussels sprouts in half.
2. Put Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes and pine nuts in baking pan.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and add butter.
4. Sprinkle with ginger, sea salt and pepper.
5. Bake at 275 for 30 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are golden.
Poached Pears in Red Wine
I like this dish because it uses two of the flavors of the season: cinnmon and nutmeg. It's an excellent dish for breakfast or dessert and can be made without the sugar.
4 red pears
1½ cup red wine (I used merlot)
½ cup water
1 tsp nutmeg
1 four-inch cinnamon stick
2 tbsp lemon juice or 2 slices of lemon
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1. Cut pears in half and core.
2. Combine wine, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla in saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and add pears.
3. Simmer pears for 12 minutes.
4. Turn pears over and simmer for another 8-10 minutes until they are tender and can easily be poked through with a fork.
5. Remove pears and bring sauce back to a boil until sauce has been reduced by half.
6. Pour sauce over pears. Serve with crème fraiche.
Photos: Heather Altherr