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Redeeming qualities of winter?

I hate winter. Winter in Seattle is 7 to 10 months of cold, damp, dark, rarely yielding gray and drizzle. And on top of that, the produce gets lousy and boring, especially if, like me, you don't believe in jetting food in from Chile (although those pencil asparagus were tempting today).

How do you stay excited about food through the winter months? I can think of a few winter foods that excite me, like kumquats, oysters, truffles, the occasional braised bunny or duckling, but lately whenever I go grocery shopping, I get kind of depressed. Help!

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  1. Pea shoots and the many Chinese brassicas are much better and more varied during the cold of winter. Those are local products in California. I look forward to them each year. And, local Dungeness crab, of course.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      omg dungeness crab season is just about to start. oh happy day.

    2. tangerines, roasted marshmallows, stews, baked potato, shepherd's pie, buche de noel, champagne and pate or shrimp in front of a fireplace, spiked cocoa

      1. Game. Citrus (e.g. blood orange, lemon). Tuna. Nantucket Bay scallops.

        1. In the winter, you can store stuff on the back porch. It's great for making soup/stock and storing it on the porch in the pot overnight and skimming the fat off in the morning. I know you know this; you just forgot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yayadave

            umm....well, maybe, maybe not: maybe in Seattle, though I think it might be borderline even there, but where I live (in SF) you can't count on nightime temps being low enough to safely store stuff on the back porch! (Even if you could be assured that the racoons or the neighborhood feral cats wouldn't get it, screened porches not being particularly popular or common, around here....)

            I agree with Melanie that Dungeness is something I look forward to in winter. That and tbe Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. I love stews and braised meats too, but around here there are plenty of days cool eough in August for those...

          2. Soup! And if you're really bored with the soups you make, find other recipes or get more serious with the ones you already like. I like to soak dried beans overnight, make real stock, use hardy winter greens, and let it cook long in the crockpot.

            I think I would also turn to my food gimmicks and gizmos if I were trying hard to stick to local produce and finding myself uninspired. What about buying some raw milk from a local dairy farmer and making your own yogurt or ice cream? Or making pasta? Or making breads with the squashes that are available? Pull out that foodie toy you never use -- the George Foreman Grill, the blender, the waffle maker.

            Or hit the cookbooks that aren't in your heavy rotation.

            Spice -- is there a cuisine you like but shy away from? Maybe now's the time.

            1. Soups, stews, short ribs, pumpkin bread, ginger bread, gingerbread cookies, hot chocolate cranberry bread.

              All these make the house smell wonderfull.

              Sitting in front of the fire, inside lights off, wine in hand watching the first snow come down.

              Except for the snow watching, all other things can be done anytime, but just seem so much better when the weather gets cooler.

              1. And if you do it right, you can steam up the windows, finish the cookies, and clean up before half time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: yayadave

                  But only if the Patriots are playing!!

                  To keep on topic, and you have a good tailgate menu.

                2. How's the seafood during winter in Seattle? As others have mentioned, crab season hits NorCal in late Nov., does Seattle have a similar spike? When is prime King Crab season?

                  Otherwise I do eat more root veggies, soups and stews during winter...probably the only time of year actually. Doesn't seem to bog you down as much. Ditto on citrus.

                  1. In Los Angeles, it's 80 degrees in November, continuing an unseasonably hot year. Thank you, Mister Global Warming.

                    Seriously, though, winter in LA means clean crisp clear skies, something which Seattlites get to enjoy in the summer. In fact, summer in LA and winter in Seattle would be my ideal two-city living condition if I was ever so lucky as to have such an arrangement.

                    1. I'm in Phoenix, winter means I get to use the oven again.

                      1. winter squash! kabocha, butternut, acorn are all wonderful. use acorn or small kabochas as bowls for soups or for wild rice or quinoa concoctions.

                        1. Pomegranates! Brussels sprouts! Roasted butternut squash! And the greengage plum jam I made in June.