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Mar 4, 2013 09:01 AM

Anyone else hit a cooking stumbling block this time of year?

It's slowly getting warmer but still fairly cold in the Northeast...I've been braising meats and making soup all winter long. I'm ready to start cooking lighter meals, but no produce is in season for me to focus on. Anyone else find it hard to get inspired this time of year (roughly March-April), when the weather is iffy and nothing is in season?

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  1. Yep, we call it stuck in The Rut here.

    A few months ago, it was "it's cold - let's make chili!" Now it's "oh, Gawd. Chili. Again."

    ETA: and yes, the dearth of fresh produce for inspiration doesn't help. I just have to keep telling myself that the asparagus is coming, the asparagus is coming.

    7 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      <<Now it's "oh, Gawd. Chili. Again.">>

      This. Exactly this. I made chili on Saturday and I kept glowering at the pot.

      Oh how I long for a meal of fish and garden fresh veggies.

      Gravy can go to hell.

        1. re: KitchenBird

          "Gravy can go to hell" is easily the best thing I've ever read on this site.

          And, yes... it's not quite nice enough to throw something on the grill, not quite cold enough for chili or soup here in western Texas, so I'm definitely in a rut.

          1. re: shanagain

            We were going to grill tonight (in Tampa), but it didn't get that warm today (mid-70's?), and like you not cold enough for soup again, so we made breakfast. Sausage, yum!

            Since I'd already thawed the chicken, I've got a choice tomorrow. Grill, sauté or crock it. We'll leave it up to Accuweather to decide. :)

            1. re: DuffyH

              Yeah, we sometimes don't grill when it's down in the teens :)

              1. re: c oliver

                <Yeah, we sometimes don't grill when it's down in the teens :)>

                Teens? I don't understand. What do teenagers have to do with grilling? ;))

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Har dee har har har :) But, really and truly, that's our minimum.

      1. What a timely question! Here in Tampa the weather has been bouncing up and down like an over-inflated beach ball for the last month. Yesterday it was 54º (chili!), Saturday was a little warmer (creamy chicken soup), today it will hit mid-60's (a one-pot skillet spaghetti recipe with GF pasta I need to perfect). Tomorrow, 78º, we grill!

        Then it's back inside for a couple of days before it cranks up to 80º for the weekend. Next week we bounce between mid-70's to mid-80's. Says Accuweather. Right now. Tomorrow they may change the forecast again.

        btw, sunshine - yesterday my DH said "Chili again? Seriously?" LOL

        1. Yes. I have hundreds of recipes pinned on my Pinterest but I'm having a hard time picking what to make. Our weather has also been crazy too... yesterday it was 65 (wish I had planned something for dinner to grill!), today it's overcast with snow here and there, in the 30s. It'll be back up into the 60s by the end of week. So it makes it hard to plan ahead. Plus, like you mentioned, a lot of the produce at the store is rather sad.

          1. Yes! I can't take it anymore! On Friday, I got so annoyed that I finally went into my backyard (in the cold) and turned on the grill and pretended the weather was much warmer than it actually was. I was amazed that the grill was even capable of coming up to temp in the surrounding temperatures. Same thing (in reverse) starts happening around September time. Even if it's still warm out, I'll start making my first pot of soup of the season.

            11 Replies
            1. re: sherrib

              We grill year round. Snowstorm? No problem...just shovel it out! :-)

              1. re: jbsiegel

                We also. Though the grill is under an eave of the house, it's not unusual to have to shovel to get to it.

                1. re: jbsiegel

                  The grill gets hot enough? I have no problems shoveling to get to some BBQ.

                    1. re: sherrib

                      Definitely. It will take longer than in summer but no problem.

                      1. re: sherrib

               enough no problem at all!

                      2. re: jbsiegel

                        I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, I SO miss grilling!! In the summer my kitchen gets unbearably hot...the window leads on to the fire escape, so I can't put an AC or fan in the window, not to mention it's right next to the stove, so that wouldn't really be a good idea. I'm going to try experimenting with a fan on the floor this year...

                        1. re: italianyc84

                          Costco has a set of 2 rotating fans. They stand on the floor (I put the small one on my microwave) and they're pretty narrow. Had them in my small apartment for a while

                      3. re: sherrib

                        My father used to stand in the snow or rain with his big golf umbrella in order to grill his Sunday steak. I'm afraid I don't have his enthusiasm, so my grill is lonely for 4 months each year.

                        1. re: Terrie H.

                          Sunday steak LOL. For us, it's Sunday salmon!

                          1. re: jbsiegel

                            I'm old enough that salmon wasn't even a possibility here in Maryland back then!

                      4. Absolutely. Have been making the same 4 Fuchsia Dunlop recipes, baked beans, homemade sauerkraut baked with smoky pork bone from farmers market, and split pea soup with ham bone over, and over.

                        Have a cookbook library, really should look into Madhur Jaffrey's Worldwide Vegetarian (whatever the title actually is) for some new ideas about flavors (white bean pumpkin Cuban soup? Moroccan sweet potatoes?) but lack initiative in a general "March slump."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: HillsofBeverly

                          Which four Dunlop recipes, if I might ask? Maybe they'll help me break out of my rut since I could use a few new ones to focus on.