I'm pretty sure the first question I asked after deciding to move to NYC this year was an anxious "But what will I eat in the winter?" A year and half ago I wrote about reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and how that book got me interested in connecting the dots with this whole food thing. It also put southern California on my radar, because where else (at least in the US) can you have almost any fruit or vegetable, local and in season, available year round? So it is with considerable concern that I begin my first post-farm winter in a place with real seasons.
I'm no die-hard locavore. Lots of my food comes from more than 100 miles away and I'm okay with that. But after a year and a half of eating mostly fruits and vegetables I grew myself or got from a friend at the farmers market, my taste buds have changed. I'll easily cruise through several pounds of New York farmers market apples in a week, but since holiday market closures forced me to buy produce at the local supermarket last week I find I can barely choke down one apple a day. I can taste the difference.
As a pretty serious farmers-market-vore, I'm lucky to be living in NYC, where several markets both run all the way through the winter and accept food stamps. Even so, in an appropriate reflection of my least-favorite season, there's little at these markets other than root vegetables and apples.
So, I'm trying to heed the wisdom of Opal from one of my favorite Toot and Puddle books, Wish You Were Here.
While Toot is off exploring the world and discovering exotic flowers in Wildest Borneo, Opal wonders (paraphrase) "What could be more beautiful than a marigold"? What could be more beautiful than what is available here, right in front of me?
So in that spirit...dinner!
Quinoa salad with grated carrot and apple, pickled beets (and their lovely juice, of course) dressed with lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and garnished with non-local-but-still-seasonal-so-don't-judge-me orange segments.
What could be more beautiful?