Feb 3, 2010

Winter Vegetables

If you like to eat seasonally, winter can present a challenge.  We have plenty of winter produce in California (that is shipped to your state if you live elsewhere), but it may be less familiar to us than summer and fall items.  Most of us wouldn't see kholrabi or chayote at the market and think "Oooh! Just what I was hoping to make for dinner!"  We're more likely to give it a weird stare and move on to the bag of baby greens and yellow-looking tomatoes we at least recognize.  Here are some delicious fruits and veggies to keep your eye out for in the winter and early spring. 
Beets, Carrots, Parsnip, Rutabaga, Onions, Leeks, Turnips, Kohlrabi, Chives, Radishes 
Brussels Sprouts, Fava Beans, Cabbage, Winter Cauliflower, Collards, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Iceberg Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Winter Squash, Chayote

Oranges, Tangerines, Satsumas, Pears, Kiwis, Grapefruit, Cherimoya, Passion Fruit, Pummelo, Apples, Avocados

Over the month of February I will feature recipes with winter produce, so keep your eye out for these in-season vegetables and fruits at your farmer's market or grocery store.  Below is the first idea -- a simple cabbage slaw (to replace a green salad that's better suited for spring or summertime).
Asian Slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head Radicchio (small leafy red-cabbage-looking ball)
2 carrots, shredded or thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
handful of fresh cilantro, mint, or basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, or sliced almonds

Combine all these vegetables in a large bowl.  Pour about 1/3 cup Asian-style dressing (try Newman's Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger, or Ken's Lite Asian Sesame) over them and toss gently with your hands to coat.  Let the slaw sit in the dressing for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, before serving.

Note: this recipe makes a lot, and can be saved in the fridge even with the dressing on it: it just gets more flavorful.
Other things you could to this salad: sliced snow peas, thin cucumber slices, shredded raw zucchini, shredded broccoli stems, shredded red cabbage, boiled edamame beans, tofu cubes
To make your own dressing: whisk together 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, juice of 1/2 lime, 2 Tbsp sugar or honey, dash of Siracha or other hot sauce, and either 2 Tbsp peanut butter or
1 Tbsp sesame oil.

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