Had enough of winter's bounty? Head to the dairy section! Produce that holds promise in November can feel heavy and burdensome by late February. This time of year we all fall into a funk with our winter greens and starches and even the arrival of bright citrus can't salvage every earthy winter vegetable hunk.
So before you toss aside your dedication to seasonality head to the dairy aisle for a little winter pick me up...
Don't get us wrong, winter is an exciting season to be cooking. You get to use your oven with abandon without heating your apartment to a point that your water glass boils. Snow storms keep you inside long enough to watch over a long braise. And with so many exciting options for carby side dishes -- myriad quinoa , flavored pastas, etc. -- there is no excuse for the Atkins Diet (if there ever was one, of course).
And yet, missing from so many winter vegetable dishes is lightness and tang. So solve this problem we turn to the ingredient that has saved many a vegetable side dish stuck in heavy rotation in our kitchen: creme fraiche.
Adding a tablespoon or two of creme fraiche to a mushroom ragout, pasta, or puree brings back a little of what is missing from those foods that flourish during the darkest and coldest months of the year. For a simple side dish, try adding creme fraiche to roasted spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash with Creme Fraiche
1 spaghetti squash, quartered
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Position rack in middle of the oven.
Oil the exposed flesh of the squash, salt and pepper and lay the quarters skin side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the squash. You will know when it's done when you can not only stick a fork in it, but you can twist the fork and the flesh splits into "spaghetti." Remove the squash and allow to cool until you can handle it safely but it is still warm.
Scrape the squash into a large bowl using a spoon. With a fork (not a masher which will split the strings) fold in the butter and creme fraiche. Salt and pepper to taste.
This is by Vanessa, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Vanessa!
Follow up this dinner and use up any extra creme fraiche with this cake: