Monday, February 22, 2010
Seasonal Eats | Family Economics
Despite being the shortest month of the year, February offers some great produce for making hearty dishes. Two things I like about seasonal foods are 1) It’s cheaper to buy food in season and 2) It gets your creative juices flowing with new recipe ideas.
I think for many of us, we find ourselves in an eating routine, making the same meals over and over again. I’ve learned over the years that picking a new ingredient that is in season has opened my eyes, and mouth, to new tasty pleasures.
Some foods currently in season for this month are:
• Forced rhubarb
• Winter cauliflower
• Apples (still going strong from farmers' store supplies)
• Pears (still going strong from farmers' store supplies)
Don’t let turnips or chards scare you. Here’s a recipe to help you get started using one of those seasonal ingredients, leeks.
Leek and Potato Gratin
• 2 lb 2oz potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
• 3 leeks (about 1½lb), halved lengthways, then thinly sliced crossways
• Nutmeg, grated
• 9 fl oz hot vegetable stock
• 1 carton whipping cream (300ml)
• 1 oz butter, diced
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Butter a large baking dish, about a 4-pint capacity. Arrange the potato and leek slices in alternate layers in the dish, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, and finishing with a potato layer on the top. Combine the stock and cream in a jug and slowly pour it over the potatoes and leeks, then dot with butter.
Cook in the oven for 1½ hours until the potatoes are tender, covering the dish with foil when the potatoes are tinged golden to prevent them from over browning.
Preparation time: 30 minutes -Cooking time: 90 minutes -Serves: 6 people