As I look at the menu one thing that pops out at me is that I am using a lot of ingredients that have been "cold stored". I like to eat what is in season. For many reasons: it is fresh, has so much more flavor, and I can find it locally. Here in Wisconsin eating locally is very limited in the winter. So, storing food properly ensures that one can eat local food throughout the winter. Of course I have not figured out how to do this exclusively so I do have to supplement with produce farther than the "eat-within-a-100-mile-radius". In January I start day dreaming of local grown swiss chard.For this menu I have used cabbage, rutabaga and apples that have survived the winter by cold storing. The cabbage (pictured right, the cabbage on the left has had a few layers removed) looked very scary. It looks rotten on the outside. But, just peel back a few layers and a beautiful cabbage makes its appearance. As for the rutabaga - they are looking a little for the wear and somewhat soft to the touch. I cut off each end, peel them, cut them into "french-fry" sized pieces and soaked them in water. After about 15 minutes that were hard to the touch. Voila!! The apples are from Future Fruit Farm, a CSA that I belonged to in the fall. Ellen and her family grow heirloom apples, crab apples (my favorite), plums and pears. I am big fan of these delicate offerings. I originally signed up because I wanted to feed my son organic apples after I learned that they are #2 in the "dirty dozen". The "dirty dozen" are the top 12 fruits/vegetable that consistently have the highest pesticide contamination. I didn't want him to be consuming pesticides. But, I will save this topic for another day, on to the task at hand, the apples.... I have been successful at storing my apples in my crisper throughout the winter. I am down to a few, so I brought them along to make the apple dessert. I usually make this in the fall when apples are abundant. Plus, the "spice" is great on an crisp fall day. So, you will see this repeated then. I decided this time to add the maple syrup to the icing - apples and maple syrup are two flavors that go together well.
Canning is also a useful way of preserving for the winter. Last year I was in a canning frenzy. I pickled anything and everything I could get my hands on. (So, be prepared for a many canning tips when the summer comes.) I try to use everything. "Waste not..." Especially in these tough times, it is always good to stretch everything. I finished off a jar of pickles and I thought there had to be a use for the delicious dilly juice. These type of things work great in salad dressings. There is an acid component in vinaigrette so I thought I could find a place for it somewhere. And I did - the coleslaw, problem solved.
Okay, I have rambled on enough. Here is the menu/recipes:
1 t. pepper