I'm getting pretty good at handling winter vegetables, something for which I thank having a CSA. Learning to work with what you have, instead of getting recipes and buying all the ingredients every single time, is not only more fun and relaxing, it often saves money. I cannot emphasize enough how much better it is on the wallet to buy hefty and tasty beets at the farmer's market for $1 a pound, and use them to dress salads and sandwiches, instead of buying sad tomatoes that have little flavor and are still $3 a pound. Plus, tomatoes are coming, just a few more months now.....

Discussion question: What previously scary vegetable has changed your life now that you eat it?

And here's a fun article on creativity with vegetables.

Stuffed squash and turnip gratin

StuffingThis was very much a “use what you have on hand” kind of meal. I did the stuffed squash first, because it has to cook for like an hour. I made the stuffing with bread crumbs, pinto beans, an egg, and apples, and with carnival squash that was $1 a pound at the farmer’s market. Put the stuffing ingredients in the food processor, fried them a little on the stovetop, then stuffed the squash with them, to bake for an hour at 350. The stuffing was spiced with smoked paprika and tumeric.Turnip gratin

Then onto the gratin. I like turnip gratin---who wouldn’t, with the cheese and milk and breadcrumbs? But I hated doing gratins before because it was all slice and layer, the most tedious part of cooking. Enter food processor. I put the onions and turnips (after peeling and quartering them) into the processor, with the mandolin function. Took what was sliced up, tossed it with some herbs and threw it all in a dish. Sure, it’s not traditional, layered gratin, but it’s similar. I whipped up two eggs and what was left of the milk in my fridge, and poured it over the mix in the baking dish. Then I took what was left of the cheese from the Super Bowl, sprinkled that on top, and then some of the bread crumbs. (I always have bread crumbs, because I put the ends of bread that I make into the mini-chopper, and use them to replenish the ever-shifting collection I have in a specific dish in the fridge. Making your own is so much better tasting than buying, and easy.) Put it in for the last 30 minutes of the time on the squash.

Turnip gratin

Sorry, but I totally blanked on taking a picture of the final product.

Sourdough bread

My first attempt at making sourdough bread was something of a failure. I think I fucked with it too much, then let it sit out too long in hopes it would recover its puffiness, and then it was too sour. But I found it was salvageable if I toasted it, which I did, as you can see in the picture of a breakfast with lentils and roasted beets. (After I took this, I added yogurt. Can’t say I don’t get my daily yeast allotment!)

My second attempt at making sandwich bread with sourdough yeast was a complete disaster. I tried it with one of these techniques, but it was still too dense. I’m thinking maybe my starter isn’t active enough. Tips and ideas are welcome.

Lentils, sourdough, beets