Winter provides a challenge to those of us who try to eat primarily from our own gardens and from other local sources. Kentucky doesn’t grow citrus and even locally-grown apples that come out of cold storage aren’t always the best. The last one I bit into was mealy and spotted with a bitter brown. The persistent gardener can produce fresh greens, but that hasn’t been me this winter. So how, I wondered, can I plan a locally flavored meal for January 1 to bring in 2014, and to celebrate the wedding anniversary of friends?
Look to the shelf of canned goods. Yes, that summer flavor does return with a nice dish of spaghetti and meatballs made with our canned tomato sauce. The choice worked well for me because I did receive my own chitarra (see my November 19 post) as a Christmas gift and I wanted to try it out for our meal.
To accompany the pasta, I used our butternut squash, remaining beets, purple potatoes and sweet potatoes for a roasted vegetable dish. I also bought salad greens to provide a fresh accompaniment. Next, I made the Italian focaccia bread I learned in my class in Italy. And for dessert? I raided the freezer for blackberries, blueberries and raspberries so I could make a Kentucky berry and cornmeal cake.
What have you preserved that you’re digging into this January?