Winter Cooking – Do This Now
Cooking methods change with the weather. Produce comes in and out of season. It may seem a little daunting or exhausting if you are new to the kitchen, or you stick to the same 5 meals each week, but I promise if you give it a shot, you’ll get great results! Here are my favorite winter culinary tips.
1. Brussels Sprouts. I think that Brussels Sprouts got a bad rap way too long ago. Right now, they are in the peak of their season and beautiful. To prepare them, simply cut the bottom core off, remove the outer most layers, and slice in half. Saute them in olive oil with garlic and shallots until they get a little tender but maintain their firmness. Side note – if you happen to have also roasted a chicken, I love to toss the Brussels Sprouts the hot juices created from roasting a whole chicken. On the radio show, Chef Sean Kagy (of The Midwest Culinary Institute) shared that he loves to caramelize Brussels Sprouts and toss in bacon crumbles. That sounds good to me!
2. Clementines. I happen to think that the Clementine is overlooked. Clementines are in their peak season right now. Not only are they amazingly affordable and easily accessible in most grocery stores right now but they add the bit of brightness in these dreary months. Also they are great to keep in the car, in your purse, (or the depths of the diaper bag) for a healthy snack. I’ve shared a recipe below that was one of the first recipes Cooking with Caitlin shared with the world. It is an often requested favorite and makes for a great party trick. We’ve got you covered with a Candied Clementine video as well.
3. Braising. Braising simply means to sear your ingredient with dry heat and then slow cook it while covered in liquid. For new cooks, consider that the beauty of cooking something while surrounded by liquid guarantees a juicy product. Yes, braising is a slow process, but is worth every second! It’s a great cooking method for tougher pieces of meat – the more inexpensive cuts. The excess water reduces down for an intense flavor and the meat will fall apart and be super tender.
4. Roasting. Roasting is another classic cold weather cooking method. I roast everything right now! Roasting is cooking with dry heat until caramelization. The excess water in the ingredient evaporates and creates an intense flavor. A simple roasted squash is a great side item, or roasted whole grapes for sandwiches instead of jelly. Roast fresh tomatoes and puree to make an amazing soup. It’s one of the easiest cooking method and oh so good!
Cooking with the seasons is a lot easier than one may think but I do recommend challenging yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone and keep yourself on your culinary toes!