At this time of the year, local markets tend to be lean. Options are fewer, and fresh autumn produce is now a distant memory. It’s time to turn on the ovens and dust off the cast iron pots and get ready for a good workout.
Cooking seasonal vegetables can be tricky, especially when the choices are not within our palate range. Despite this challenge, with a little imagination, even a simple cabbage can become a delicious meal or an accompaniment to beef, pork, lamb or chicken.
Some of my favourite foods are stews, roasts and braised meat because they are versatile and easy to prepare. For an added bonus, the leftovers can be effortlessly converted into some of the tastiest pasta sauces.
Mastering the proper cooking techniques for squashes, root vegetables and winter greens, like endives and radicchio, can be an ace in your sleeve at your next dinner party. And let’s not forget our preserved summer harvest; serving small portions of preserved fruits and vegetables garnished with fresh herbs, olive oil and warm bread can be a great starter at any party.
I’ve prepared some of my favourite wintertime recipes for this issue (pick up an issue on newsstands today or subscribe digitally for easy access to all of Massimo’s Winter 2014 recipes). They are as follows; a radicchio apple and asiago salad, bigoli in salsa, coconut curry chicken stew, and roasted seasonal fruit. TIP: Roasting fruits, like apples, plums and pears, will extract more flavour than leaving them raw. And by adding dry fruit to the mixture, it will bring a new dimension to the dessert. All of these recipes make great dinner party dishes and bring back wonderful memories. For instance, the spaghetti sauce was a traditional condiment in my in-laws house and the chicken stew was a favourite of my mother’s ever since I learned the recipe in cooking school. Happy cooking!
Behind The Scenes with Massimo Capra
Watch as Massimo prepares the recipes featured in this issue of Canadian Home Trends Magazine – Photography by Stephani Buchman