Food: Seasonal Produce

LEEKS

Having grown up in a leek-less household, I find them endlessly intriguing—in no small part due to their resemblance to obese scallions. But leeks are so much more than portly onions; they have an amazing rich, mellow flavor and a dynamic range of textures, depending on how they’re cooked.

A member of the Alliaceae family, which also includes onions, garlic, ramps and elephant garlic, among others, leeks have a long and storied tradition in Europe. They are one of the national emblems of Wales, and in France they are ubiquitous.

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Food: Winter Greens

In the summer, eating local is easy. Farmers’ markets abound, featuring mounds of beautiful, colorful produce. In the winter, there are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a rotating cast of root vegetables that require a bit more work than the kiss of the grill and a splash of olive oil. Fortunately, there are a few green things hardy enough for the long slog through winter—kale, collard greens, chard and spinach among them. These winter staples are essential for providing that I’ve-eaten-my-vegetables satisfaction, and are some of the healthiest things around.

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In Season: Brussels Sprouts

On reality tv cooking competitions, producers often can’t resist the urge to structure a challenge around making traditionally maligned foods palatable for kids. Bring on the brussels sprouts! Every time they hand a bushel of these little green balls of goodness to a reticent cheftestant, I get a touch worked up. What did these verdant orbs ever do to anyone to deserve such ire?
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In Season: Pumpkins

by Tara Mataraza Desmond

Pumpkins are fixtures in the decorative backdrop of the fall season, but their culinary purpose far exceeds their ornamental role. They share a branch of the gourd family tree with their winter squash cousins and can be used in recipes exactly as squash are.
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