Wintry dishes and holiday baking

By Jillian Bernardini - Dec 17, 2013 - 01:20 PM
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My walk to the gym is shy of half a mile from my apartment. I often spend this time with thoughts like, as long as you do a half hour it will be worth it, or what should I eat later after my workout, and sometimes, like today, wow it's 12 degrees Fahrenheit outside; why am I doing this? Having lots of time by myself during the day, a bunch of random-silly-absurd-odd thoughts pass through my mind, but the incredibly brisk walk that made my toes feel like mini icicles this morning made me wonder.

How amazing is it that our style of recipes, repertoire of ingredients, and change of cooking techniques changes with the seasons? Compare these two culinary memories for me: folding in leafy, bountiful handfuls of arugula into al dente orzo with a light vinaigrette and summer tomatoes; chopping up parsnips, carrots, and potatoes as a roasting bed for a small chicken rubbed in garlic butter and stuffed with citrus and herbs. I'm certain that you can decide which cooking activity took place in the summer vs. the winter, no?

Well, now that it is 19 degrees outside and our second dainty snowstorm is about to begin, I am ready to find any ingredient or recipe that acts as an excuse to turn on my oven! Food in the winter is incredibly inspiring, as much as the summer and its bounty of course, but in a very different way.

Words that come to mind are cozy, rich, spiced, warm, hearty. Isn't this how food should make one feel in the winter? In New England anyway, I think it's a requirement or else we would not survive to see the first summer crops. John and I have been making a few batches of French onion soup every other week, and our Saturday morning ritual now involves crispy pork roll, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches with extra spicy bloody mary's.

I love cooking in the winter, and am richly infatuated with baking too. I'll be sharing more wintry recipes with you in the coming weeks before the new year, but don't worry. I plan to still cook and bake the foods that feel like a soft, fleece throw wrapped around you by the fireplace, despite all of the new year's resolutions. Perhaps there will be a smoothie or salad thrown in, but with a wintry twist or a cozy kick of flavor.

Like I stand by, all in moderation, well, unless the package of cookies is magically empty with help from your boyfriend. It's a team effort after all =). Now, go buy a chicken, rub it in seasoned garlic butter, and preheat the oven as long as you'd like. 


Update: My recipes are back-logged, so feel free to browse through all of my recipes for tonight's dinner inspiration. Easier than searching for one or two ingredients! Additionally, one of the themes this week on Food52 is roast chicken, so check in here to see unique twists on the classic, crispy bird.