Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook




As the grip of a chilling winter wraps around us, hibernation becomes a viable escape-but not realistic. After all this is the time of year to go within, contemplate those seed catalogs and surround yourself with warm and cozy elements, most of all...comforting food. Don’t forget that cooking is a form of therapy-absolutely the finest of diversions with huge rewards. We’ll share a couple of recipes that fit the fare and also make use of local produce.

Roasted Apples are the epitome of homey as in this recipe but the artisanal goat cheese adds a slightly unique twist. These gems are not only a dessert but they serve beautifully for breakfast or as a side dish for chicken, poultry or pork. Of course for kids, you’ll want to use the cranberry juice rather than spirits.

Make sure to incorporate fresh brilliant herbs in your winter food (as we did in both recipes) to add that essence of freshness.


Roasted Apples with Cherry, Goat Cheese, Nut and Mint & Lemon Verbena Pockets

Serves 6

  • 3 Local Fuji or Rome apples
  • 1/4 cup Local honey, slightly warm
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, rehydrated in cranberry juice or cherry liqueur (such as Kirsch-buy a mini bottle)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh mint & lemon verbena
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • whole cherries on the stem for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375o

Soak the dried cherries, covered in cranberry juice or cherry liqueur, for at least 30 minutes.

Wash and peel apples; halve around the center; Making sure they are level. Remove the core in each and make a well to create a pocket for the stuffing. Brush the apple halves entirely with slightly warm honey.

Place the empty apples in a greased shallow baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Drain the cherries, saving the liquid to pour over the apples when baking, and mix with the almonds, cheese and herbs.

Stuff the pre-baked apple halves and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg, pour any reserved liquid over and bake 10 more minutes.

Place a whole fresh cherry on the top for garnish.(No maraschinos, please)









Bourbon Braised Turnips

Serves 4

Turnips are a hearty winter storage crop that can last up to 2 or 3 months, offering a farm fresh taste right in the middle of winter. They provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid. These turnips are a great accompaniment to meat dishes. Many vegetables would taste good braised this way (such as rutabagas), but turnips work especially well.

  • 1 pound turnips
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • fresh chopped thyme for garnish

Peel and slice turnips into 3/4-inch  thick rounds. Melt the butter in a pan and add the bourbon and maple syrup. Add the turnips and slowly cook uncovered, turning occasionally, until caramelized. Toss with the thyme and place on serving platter.

Shared by Chris Fullerton, Director of Consumer Outreach for Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).

Eating doesn't have to be so complicated.  Is That So?

Eating can be simple, so we are told by the food simplification master, Michael Pollan in his new book, Food Rules. The Huffington Post headlines it as a completely different way to fix the healthcare crisis.

The book itself is small, uncomplicated and termed a handbook. In his trademark style, Michael Pollan lists basic rules for sustainable clean eating. The price is simple too...under $10.00.

A great example: #19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.


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