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Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by Michelle Lahey   

When I was little, I said I didn’t like Brussels sprouts because everyone else said they were “gross.” But I never even tried a Brussels sprout until I was well into my twenties – it was roasted to perfection, and ideally salty. From that moment on, my opinion of Brussels sprouts was forever changed. 

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Brussels sprouts – which look like little baby cabbages - are one versatile leafy green vegetable, but my favorite way to prepare them is by roasting. Roasting any vegetable brings out their natural sweetness, and Brussels sprouts are no different. Roasting also gives them a delightful crispiness and texture.

Although the roasting method makes Brussels sprouts just sweet enough, adding a little maple syrup – this one from Ithaca, N.Y. – doesn’t hurt. The touch of maple syrup also gives the sprouts a glaze that’s borderline addicting. In this particular recipe, I also threw in some dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds for added texture, flavor, and color. The end result is a winter-friendly side dish that can be served with a variety of main dishes.

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Your Guide to Winter Produce
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by Liz Lamson   

When you live in New England in the deep freeze of winter, and snow is covering the ground, how can you eat seasonally and locally? It's possible! During the spring, summer and fall months our CSA boxes and local farm stands are spilling over with luscious berries and plump vegetables. Then winter sets in and you may think it's over until March or April. This is not the case, and I am here to point you in the right direction. 

root vegetables

Root vegetables: Named so because the edible piece is part of the root structure and must be dug from the ground to harvest. These consist of radishes, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, beets, and the lesser known celeriac (celery root). When roasted in the oven either alone or all together these make for a tasty and nutritious side dish or main course. For example, use a variety of root vegetables in a filling and soul-warming winter soup. Root veggies are high in vitamin C and fiber, and they take on a pleasantly sweet flavor when cooked or roasted in the oven. 

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Roasted Parsnip Soup
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by Michelle Lahey   

Parsnips are often described as "looking like a white carrot." But one bite will tell you, despite their relation, this root vegetable is nothing like a carrot.

Parsnip Soup

I must confess: This was my first time cooking with parsnips. Somehow, I always seem to forget that they exist. Perhaps it's their pale exterior that just doesn't catch my eye? Regardless of the reason, it's a shame I didn't start cooking with them sooner.

If you're new to parsnips like I was, this soup is a great introduction to the vegetable. For this comforting, nutritious soup, roasting the parsnips is key. Roasting (well...cooking parsnips in general) brings out the vegetable's delightfully sweet flavor. Although spices and additional flavors are barely even necessary, the onions, celery, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes help to make this a savory, perfect-for-winter dish. Serve with thick slices of crusty baguette for dipping, or simply put the bowl to your mouth and slurp.

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A "Christmas Story" Dinner: Revisited
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by R. Patrick Kent   
We ran this article one year ago today (December 23, 2009), but since that date, thanks to all of you, we now have over 1,000 more followers on Twitter, and tens of thousands of new visitors who have come to Local In Season.  We thought this post was worth dusting off for our new readers, both because we like it, but also because it gives us the opportunity to say THANK YOU for making this last year a terrific one for us at Local In Season.

 

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house... were the sounds of "A Christmas Story" playing on the television. Each year there's a cable channel that delivers 24 hours of Ralphie and his quest for the Red Rider BB gun. At this point I have seen the movie, or at least healthy snippets of it, hundreds of times. After so many viewings you tend to notice many subtle things. One of them is the "in joke" that, other than Christmas Day, the family eats the same dinner each time we see them at the table. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and red cabbage.

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"A Christmas Story" Dinner
Right Food for the Season - Early Winter
Written by R. Patrick Kent   

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house... were the sounds of "A Christmas Story" playing on the television. Each year there's a cable channel that delivers 24 hours of Ralphie and his quest for the Red Rider BB gun. At this point I have seen the movie, or at least healthy snippets of it, hundreds of times. After so many viewings you tend to notice many subtle things. One of them is the "in joke" that, other than Christmas Day, the family eats the same dinner each time we see them at the table. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and red cabbage.

The movie is set in Hammond, Indiana sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Given the time and place it's not far off that they might be eating that for dinner many nights during a winter stretch. Meatloaf is American comfort food and even more so, a Midwestern comfort food. The first residents of Hammond were German farmers newly arrived from Europe. These European immigrants brought their culinary traditions with them. Meatloaf is similar to a traditional German, Belgian and Dutch dish; Falscher Hase or "Mock hare" in German. Not only that, but during the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way to stretch the food budget for families so it makes sense that the Parker family would have it often given the backdrop of a post-Depression /pre-WWII Indiana.

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