Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Just because the weather is cold shouldn’t keep you from enjoying in season fresh produce. Nature gives us a collection of its best winter vegetables that have proven to be flavorful. Winter root vegetables can contribute an interdependent, sweet flavor to a hearty winter soup recipe, like carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Roasting most winter vegetables brings out their best flavors. Even using complementary herbs and spices helps add some extra exceptional tastes.

Available In Season Winter Vegetables

Brussels sproutsAlthough Brussels sprouts are available year-round, their peak season is from September to February.

When looking to purchase them, remember to look for small firm sprouts with compact bright-green heads, and the smaller the head the sweeter the taste. Roasting Brussels sprouts lightly caramelizes their edges but keeps them tender inside.

To view a few recipes using Brussels sprouts one of the following links:

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon 

Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad 

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

At All Recipes (allrecipes.com) they call Broccoli the star vegetable in stir-fries, soups, salads, and casseroles.

Broccoli can be purchased year round. But when in season, as a winter vegetable when roasted retains its entire flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when.

preparing broccoli to eatWhen asked the question – How Do You Describe Broccoli? – to a community of online people at answers.com, one member answered saying, “Broccoli is good chopped into small pieces or cut into larger piece and cooked until tender.

It’s delicious to eat as it is when cooked naturally and also in recipes.

The popular dish, broccoli and cheese is made with cooked, tender broccoli before draining and stirring in cheese until it melts and mixes in with the broccoli.

You can also make cheese sauces, which you serve, poured over the broccoli on a plate.

Either way it is cooked or served, broccoli is a favorite among vegetables and nutritionally powerful” (Answers).

To view a recipe using broccoli click here: Baked Garlic and Broccoli

The Sweet Potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family.

This species of plants are known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, which has more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladStuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

The sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root. There are about 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, with some varieties sold at market for food, while others are not for consumption, as they are poisonous.

The sweet potato is only distantly related to the common potato, though it is not part the nightshade family.

The website – “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” – has this to say about sweet potatoes when preparing to eat them, “It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable.

Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.

In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat (whfoods).

To view a few recipes using sweet potatoes click one of the following links:

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips

KaleKale is considered to be the most robust of the cabbage family. Its high nutritional worth and intense flavor make kale an exceptional addition too many vegetable recipes.

At Mind Body Green, Alison Lewis makes note of kale as “the new beef,” “the queen of greens,” and “a nutritional powerhouse”(MBG).

To view a few recipes using kale click one of the following links:

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Leeks are winter root vegetable that looks much similar to onions, and to which they are also related. Their flavor is onion-like but much milder, mellower, and not overpowering, as onions sometimes can be.

The darker green parts have plenty of flavor. They can either be cooked longer then the root parts to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock, like chicken broth base soup along with potatoes, carrots, and herbs.

They can also be eaten raw or joined with a salad of leafy greens to divulge a wonderful crisp crunchy flavor.

Link here for a recipe using leeks: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Turnips are a a round, light-colored root related to the mustard family. Though the vegetable is grown for its eatable root, the top green parts are also enjoyed in salads.

Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter months.

Smaller leaves are preferred when boiling them in water, as the larger the leaf the stronger the flavor.

However, if you find yourself cooking with larger turnip greens, any bitter taste can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.

The natural sweetness of Parsnips comes alive when they’re roasted and caramelized.

The addition of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar makes a sweet, aromatic glaze.

Roasted parsnips make a great side dish for pork tenderloin.

Link here for a recipe using parsnips :  Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Belgian EndiveThe genuine Belgian endive is deeply rooted in its country of origin – Belgian, were it was discovered in 1830.

This compact white colored small cylindrical shaped leaf vegetable with light green tips is a tangy, but tender and delicious vegetable.

Some cooks add the leafy vegetable to soups, while others use it in salads.

Link here for more about endives discovery and for a recipe: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Other winter vegetables that can still be found in your local market are…

Buttercup Squash – Collard Greens – Delicata Squash – Sweet Dumpling Squash – Winter Squash

What Others Are Reading:

Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze

Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze

Strata or stratta is a layered casserole dishes founded in American cuisine.

Strata is most commonly found among other prepared brunch dishes or recipes. Strata is compared to a quiche or frittata, made from a mixture which mainly consists of bread, eggs and cheese, including cream cheese.

Some bakers or cooks have even prepared strata with meat or vegetables.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients for the strata:

1 -24 oz. loaf of 100% whole grain bread

3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

8 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Ingredients for the glaze:

3 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 

Line the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with organic parchment paper, and brush the sides with organic unsalted butter.

Unpack the bread, and use all of the slices less the ends. Cut the crust off each piece, and set the crusts aside.

Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the crust-less bread. Layer apple slices on top of bread, and layer remaining bread slices over the apple.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well incorporated. Pour the egg mixture over the apples and Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze - slicebread. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate a 1 to 2 hours, or longer (If you wish you can remove strata after refrigerated time, leaving foil over dish, and let set for 30 minutes before baking).

Heat Oven to 350 degrees.

If you haven’t already done so, remove strata from the refrigerator, and place into heated oven with foil still over the dish.

Bake for 35 minutes, if the strata was room temperature or for 45 minutes if coming straight from the refrigerator. Remove foil, and bake for additional 15 minutes.

In a small sauce pot over medium heat, mix cream cheese, honey, milk, and vanilla. Continue to stir until cheese is melted and glaze is formed. Pour glaze over warmed strata. Spread glaze with back of a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.

Let sit 10 minutes. Sprinkle with organic powered cinnamon, and serve with apple slices and blueberries if desired.

What Others Are Reading About:

Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies

Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesGail Borden was a teacher, land surveyor, inventor, real estate salesman and editor. He also invented condensed milk. He patented the canned milk in 1856, and preserved it by adding sugar. So thanks to him we can have Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies.

To start here is what you will need:

1 (17 ½ oz.) sugar cookie mix

1 cup shredded coconut

½ cup pecan halves, finely chopped

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 can 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

beat a medium eggIn a large bowl beat 1 medium egg. Mix in the butter, cookie mix along with the chopped nuts and coconut. First start the mixing with a large fork. As the wet ingredients start to mix with the dry ingredients; put fork aside and use your hands to continue the mixing until you have firm dough.

prepared dough for Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesDivide the dough in half and sprinkle some flour onto a cutting board and flour your rolling pin. Then start to roll the dough about 1/4 inches thick.

rolling dough out for Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesThis recipe will make about 4 dozen cookies. Two dozen will make one dozen sandwich cookies and so on. Divide the dough into two halves. Roll out each half enough to make 24 – 2 inch round cookies. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Place cookies on a light colored cookie sheet. Notice I am referring to a light colored pan? The darker the pan color the greater chance your cookies will be darker on the bottom sides, possibly to the point of burning. So I always use a glass baking pan or light colored nonstick metal baking pans.

After your dough is rolled out, the cookies are cut and placed on the cookie sheet, bake 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove to a wire rack until they cool completely.

cookies prepared to receive sweet milk and coconutAfter the cookies are done and have cooled about a good 20 to 30 minutes…place 48 cookies on a clean cutting board as shown in the picture.

Next open a room temperature 14 oz. can of sweet milk and on the 2nd and 4th rolls spread 1 tsp. evenly over each cookie.

cookies laid out to put sweet milk and coconut on themNow on the 1st and 3rd rolls place a dab or two of sweet milk. With 1/2 cup of coconut sprinkle generously the coconut around the outer edges of the cookies with the ones that have the 1 tsp. of sweet milk.

sweet milk cookies ready to become cookie sandwichesPlace the 1st and 3rd roll of cookies over the ones with the coconut on them to form a Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookie.

Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies prepared for refrigerationAfter cookies have set with the sweet milk, remove from refrigerator and place on a plate.

Sweet Milk Sandwich CookiesWe hope that you can make these cookies for your family and friends. Oh so sweet are those Sweet Milk Sandwich Cookies.

What Others are Saying About Cookies:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is Organic Milk the Same as Regular Milk?

If you’ve done any research into organic milk, you’ll find many articles claiming that there is very little difference in the organic milkquality of the product when compared to regular or conventionally-produced milk.

This research is based on the study of the end product, but to make an informed decision, you need to investigate the way milk is produced.

You may have also seen dairy labels that say “rBGH-Free” or “rBST-Free” and immediately below, you’ll inevitably see the disclaimer, “No significant difference has been shown between milk from rBGH [or rBST] treated and untreated cows.”

This disclaimer a result of a lawsuit Monsanto (remember them?) brought against Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy. In the lawsuit, Monsanto objected to the use of the statements “rBGH-Free” or “rBST-Free” because it implied that it was undesirable.

See Monsanto created this synthetic hormone that allows cows to produce more milk and for longer periods of time and, they wanted to protect it. The hormone is actually banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and a number of European countries. Thank goodness, public pressure has also pressured some retailers not to sell milk made with the hormone.

Milking MachinesThese hormones produce more milk, but they cause a number of problems for cows including the higher rate of mastitis, which is an inflammation of the udder, often caused when milk supply is not fully expressed. To help prevent mastitis and the resulting puss that gets in the milk supply, cows are given a large amount of antibiotics, adding even more foreign substances to our milk.

Then when milk is ready to be processed for human consumption, it goes through pasteurization. Milk is pasteurized to kill potentially harmful materials that are introduced to livestock directly, like antibiotics or through a less than sanitary collection process.

One of the worst things about the pasteurization process is that it kills the nutritional value in milk and instead of just getting rid of harmful bacteria; it also gets rid of beneficial bacteria. The sad thing is many minerals are added in after the pasteurization process when they could have been found in the milk naturally. Add to that, pasteurization has been linked to allergies, poor digestion of milk products and even heart disease.

So does organic milk solves the problems?

Well, it’s really not that simple, so let’s walk through it.

Cows

Cows that produce organic milk are grass fed, rather than fed unnatural grains like their conventional counterparts. That’s a good start. They are also hormone and antibiotic free, so that’s another check in the column for organic. The problem is, a lot organic milk is also pasteurized, killing nutrients and making it harder to digest.

Your best bet really is to purchase raw organic milk. Raw milk contains more minerals than pasteurized milk. It also has 20 amino acids and contains beneficial enzymes. It can be expensive, but it’s milk in its natural form and provides the most health benefits. It also isn’t available everywhere, and is only permitted for sale in 28 states, so it’s not always easy to find. When you can’t find it or if it’s cost-prohibitive, you may want to consider what you’re putting in your body when you consume regular milk.

Next theme link here: Vegetable Gardening and Raising Chickens the Organic Way

What Other’s are Saying about Going Organic:

Enhanced by Zemanta