Pulses and Plentitude
January eating in the North is more than turnips and rutabagies. It is preserves, brines, ferments, chicories, alliums, grains, pulses, dried chili peppers, dried mushrooms, apples, pears, cheeses, maple syrup, milk, meat, and eggs. Winter dining is not austere - it is warm and stewy, steeped in wine and good company. At Loma, winter dining is something we look forward to - there is more time to cook, and experiment, to hone skills, to read culinary digests and to digest culinary seasonalities. This is the season of stewed tomatoes, oil, and dried herbs, béchamel & creamed soups, purees and sautés, & chilis and roasts.
We have long ago swept the puritanical view of seasonal eating under the rug, trading it for a celebratory, wallowing & appreciative posture. It’s satisfying to eat from where you are - natural and grounding - it reveals the capacity of the land and the facts of life.
A note to the winter dinner host: Winter dinning should be enjoyed in dim light, masking our pale patinas. Wine should be poured a bit heavier, so as to mask the dark side of winter, and from time to time, staccato pauses in conversation should be given to listen to falling snow.
The Winter Pantry
I do, of course, realize that farmers are privy to luxuries of which commoners can only dream - a winter pantry piled with crates of onions, chicories, roots of all races, garlic, fruits, tubers, brussels and cabbage, fennel, & other booties. We begin squirreling away our winter food when the chives first poke through March snows, stocking our middens with the fugacious youth of Spring - morels, asparagus, chives & rhubarb. We continue the storage through the overflow of summer fruits and fall roots, and now, January, nothing to tend in the field and an abundance of food to choose from.
The Loma Farm Essential Winter Pantry:
tomato preserves - canned, oil packed, sun-dried, stewed, juice…
pulses - dry beans, lentils, garbanzos
alliums - garlic, onions, leeks
umbeliferas - carrots, celery root, fennel, parsnips
chicories - radicchio, sugarloaf and escarole
wheat - flour, pasta, bread
dried mushrooms - morels, trumpets, & chanterelles
roots and tubers - taters, turnips, beets
dried herbs and chile peppers
fruit preserves - wine, stewed peaches, apple sauce, strawberries and blueberries
frozen goods - roasted chiles, sweetcorn, broccoli, cauliflower, fruits
olive oil and olives