ROOT VEGETABLES Carrots, beets, and their underground kin get sweeter with cold weather. Ideal for roasting or braising.
WINTER SQUASH Find a wide variety at farmers’ markets now: Butternut, delicata, and cheese pumpkin are among our faves.
BACON Start a soup or stew by cooking vegetables in rendered bacon drippings; top dishes with crumbled bacon. Local bacon is better, trust us.
ROASTED NUTS When friends drop by for a holiday visit, warm nuts in the oven with herbed salt to serve alongside sparkling wine or cocktails.
PARMESAN Grate over pasta, soups, and roasted vegetables. Save the rinds and add to soups or stocks for flavor.
HERB SALT Make your own by tucking stems of woody herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay) in a jar of fine sea salt. Great hostess gift!
GREENS Find hardy cooking greens like chard, kale, spinach, and tatsoi on farmers’ market tables. Sauté with garlic, make pesto, or add to soups.
PASTA Ruffled or hollow shapes capture creamy or meaty sauces. Look for lasagnette, campanelle, or rigatoni.
UNUSUAL PEPPERS Try experimenting with global flavors like Aleppo (a Middle Eastern variety), Spanish smoked paprika, or Sichuan (not really a pepper).
QUICK MARKET DINNER:
Make pesto (see photo above)
In a food processor, pulse 5 large leaves kale (center stems removed), 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, and a generous pinch of salt; puree until very smooth. Whisk 1/4 cup kale pesto with 2 Tbsp. crème fraîche; add a pinch of Aleppo pepper. Toss with hot cooked pasta and a bit of cooking water. Top with Pecorino Romano.
POTATOES Sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, new potatoes: Bring out their starchy goodness by roasting, baking, or braising.
HERBS Woody herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, and bay leaf add big flavor to soups and roasts.
STOCK Keep good-quality chicken and vegetable stock in the pantry; better yet, homemade stock in the freezer.
QUICK MARKET DINNER:
Sauté 1 sliced medium onion in butter and olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Add 11/2 pounds fingerling or tiny new potatoes; brown for 10 minutes. Add 2 rosemary sprigs, 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock. Cover, transfer to preheated 375° oven for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Uncover, bake 20 minutes more to reduce liquid. Serve with roasted chicken.
Bryn’s long career in publishing took a left turn sometime around 2010, when she discovered the joy of food writing. Since then, she’s found professional nirvana as the editor of Edible Ohio Valley, author of The Findlay Market Cookbook, and occasional instructor at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s. Find her seasonal recipes at writes4food.com.