Eating in season

I’ve given up on green beans. For now anyway. We cooked them for our Christmas dinner because we always have fresh green beans for the December holidays. But they were terrible. I realized that fresh green beans, even when blistered with olive oil and garlic are a summer dish. These were tough and tasteless. 

Green beans from last summer. The store-bought ones this month are a poor comparison

This unpleasant result brought me through the backdoor to my mantra “eat in season”. I tend to forget it when going back to family traditions. Of course you have green beans for Christmas dinner. But I grew up in Texas, where my family food traditions were seated, and green beans in December were not a novelty – they were still readily available locally. Or, as so many families do, my mother would pull out her home-canned green beans to make the standard casserole. Am I too old to change? Not at all – from now on we will have roasted brussels sprouts!

We gave up on tomatoes

My husband and I gave up on tomatoes about a month ago. We bought the small sweet Campari tomatoes on the vine at the grocery market after we had the last of our garden grown and the market tomatoes dwindled. Last year we thought these were better than the usual grocery store tomatoes, but we just realized that we’re reaching for a ghost of flavor that’s just not there. So, we’ve decided not to eat fresh tomatoes until next year. 

Simple sauteed Brussels sprouts

Cool season vegetables are abundant

Trying to find those flavors and only getting a ghost is so unsatisfying, and since there are so many other flavors that are robust and delicious, we’ll stick with those. Brussels sprouts and cabbage are still available locally, and the fresh-picked flavor is unbeatable. 

Brussels sprouts an winter squash for roasting

I have a shelf full of winter squash just waiting to be roasted and tossed with hot pasta or pureed into soups with onions, garlic and kale (also readily available). And I have a bucket of sunchokes harvested from my own garden waiting to be roasted. 

Roasted Kabocha squash

I will simply save the tomatoes, beans, summer squash and eggplant until I can enjoy it fresh and delectable as it ripens next summer. This decision also makes me feel better about my carbon footprint as I’m trying to eat locally as much as possible rather than vegetables shipped in from far away. No green beans, but delicious wintery beans with rice. And roasted brussels sprouts with kabocha squash.

Caribbean beans to go with steamy rice

Here’s a favorite: 

Caribbean rice and beans 

  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. chopped sweet pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 t. cumin
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 can black beans, drained

Saute onion, celery, pepper and garlic until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes. Serve over cooked rice, topped with mozzarella or queso fresco. Delicious with sauteed chorizo, either meat or plant-based. 

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