Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Cuisine?

After the holidays, there is always good old January. We can rest a bit, take stock, and reel in the party. While I love the fun and craziness of the holidays, it is always a relief to get through them intact and relax into January. A month of retail sales, hibernation, wind, and hot tea. In the food world, January can mean many things. At the greenmarkets in the Northeast, it means onions, root vegetables, cabbage, and cold and lonely farmers trying to sell the remnants of last summer. It is seemingly a sad state and I don't envy these hard-working folks this time of year.

Some people go on diets, fasts, cleanses, and detox kicks. Some are diets based on a New Year's resolution to lose weight. These are often thrown to the wayside long before they are very effective. The fasts, cleanses, and detoxifications can be quite powerful and feel great when done right. Master Cleanse, juice fast, raw foods detox...some people swear off cheese, alcohol, coffee, or bread for the month. I have a client who has gone "macro" until further notice. (a.k.a. adopted Macrobiotic principles)

I, for one, am just sick of gooey, complex, and decadent food. I'm craving steamed vegetables and brown rice. And soup, lots of soup. I suspect that has to do with my job more than my holiday decadence since we didn't do much this year. That, and most produce pretty much stinks right now. It happens every year. Since, I try to incorporate local foods and "seasonal-ize" all of my menus, both for clients and for us, it takes some serious creativity to stay in line with those principles. Seasonal eating is a great way to support the body's nutritional needs for the time of year and is the most sustainable way to eat.

I know it's the dead of winter when I start dreaming of the first sprouts and early asparagus popping up at Union Square greenmarket. At the supermarket, all the greenhouse produce or Chilean import stuff looks normal and tastes fairly normal, but has some sort of waxy, supernatural quality like they have it just for show.

So what to eat? I suggest some stoic winter produce combined with lovingly preserved items such as sun-dried tomatoes, aged cheese, nuts, olives, or organic canned beans. Maybe some cooked grains?

Only a few more months and we will have made it through another winter. Hang in there, stay warm, and enjoy the hearty fare.

Stay tuned for this week's recipes:

Roasted Cauliflower and Kale Salad
Sun-dried Tomato Hummus and Pita Chips

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree - soup is the only way to go this time of year!Yummmmm.
All those liquids help keep you hydrated too!