S/O/L/E Food Tuesday - Eating Local in January

Winter food for Locavores

Scotch, chocolate, wine, coffee, rice - the list of reasons I cannot be a true locavore or 100 mile diet proponent is endless. Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy eating well and trying to do eat sustainably, there are options. Supporting local farmers is getting easier, too.

Did you know there’s a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) you can buy into for the winter months?

  • Drumlin Farms CSA includes a work requirement, which not all do.
  • Stone Soup Farms - with pickup spots convenient to various parts of the city. (Thanks to Sam for the tip!)
  • Here’s another great tip: Harvard Medical School includes the Center for Health and the Global Environment. Teaching medical students about biodiversity and the global benefits to patients and our environment is its goal. It provides a New England Eat Local Wallet card which shows month by month what's in season.

Boston has a wonderful S/O/L/E community and a growing one at that. We’ve evolved enough to know when someone’s just greenwashing us (mashup of whitewash and being inauthentic about being green = greenwashing). With my new feature, the Non-wimpy S/O/L/E Food Tuesday column, I’ve sought to share meat-free meals, recipes and dining out alternatives for friends and readers who want to broaden their culinary horizons.

If you are freaking out because you've invited someone to dinner and then discovered they're vegetarian, read this great post, Help! My friend is a vegetarian!, on Carrie & Danielle.

Once you've learned the steps to acceptance, sit back and enjoy...

...Parsnips and other root vegetables

Root vegetables of local origins are available, even if you don’t subscribe to a CSA (see below). Many farms will store them in root cellars (essentially cold, dark cellars) through the winter months. This is how folks did it before we warmed up the environment with all that carbon fuel and began flying and trucking stuff all over the country.

Parsnips are a favorite of mine and have never quite gotten their moment in the spotlight. Here are a couple of ways to use them:

  • In soups - they add a nutty sweetness that I adore in chicken soup. I once served some to a friend’s father. He giggled at the first bite. I had no idea why, but it was like watching this man transformed to a child (remember that scene in Ratatouille?) He said “Parsnips. You have parsnips in your chicken soup!” I wasn’t sure if this was okay...then he smiled and said it reminded him of his grandmother’s soup.

Parsnips - nutty and slightly sweet (like some of our favorite people)

  • Parsnips and Carrots - I made this for Christmas dinner with our Capon. Steam roasted in butter and water, glazed with sugar and butter, then finished with a tablespoon or two of cream and sprinkling of chervil.
  • Parsnips are lovely mashed with potatoes, in soup, in roasted vegetable melanges. Fried matchsticks sprinkled with a little celery salt they are irresistable.

Celeriac - another under appreciated root vegetable

Celeriac is on the right.

Henry Patterson’s Favorite Celeriac

  • medium onion
  • minced garlic to taste
  • 8 white mushrooms
  • a bulb of celeriac
  • large tomato (or 2 smaller)
  • 4 leaves of kale (ours are still out there, frozen on the stalk)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • a couple of sage leaves (optional, sub other herb of choice)
  • fresh lemon


  1. Slice up onion and mushrooms crudely:
  2. Peel and cut celeriac into pieces like french fries (big julienne?)
  3. Saute these with minimum of olive oil, good salt & pepper until softened
  4. Add dice of tomato and saute another minute
  5. Chop and add the kale and sage over this mixture, cover to steam the kale until brilliant green
  6. Squeeze half a lemon over, toss all together and serve.

The celeriac is what makes this great.

Not local, but delicious - Meyer Lemons

This week I want to share another lemon dish (see the pasta and the lemon cake) because it’s delicious and because I got another box of lemons - I mean “office supplies” - from the in-laws.

Lemony Risotto (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 2C of risotto (we got a deal on Carnaroli at Bina Alimentaria!)
    ~6 C of hot liquid (use light vegetable broth, the cartons are often very strong and would overpower this delicate risotto, combination of veg broth, water and wine would work. We used chicken broth)
  • ~3 TBSP Butter/olive oil mix
  • Shallots - one large or two small, chopped fine
  • ~1/3 - 1/2 C  White wine
  • Lemon juice, lemon zest (probably added juice of 1.5 Meyer lemons and zest of two)
  • 2 TBSP parsley - chopped fresh
  • 1/3 C frozen peas
  • knob of butter
  • 1 C Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Read about the basics of Risotto Perfetto here. Simple dishes require good quality ingredients as each will be prominent. 

  1. Put broth on to simmer
  2. Chop shallots, parsley, zest and juice your Meyer Lemons
  3. Grate the cheese
  4. Soften shallots in butter/olive oil
  5. Add rice before shallots brown, stir to coat. Adding splash more oil if necessary.
  6. Add wine stir to ensure even absorption.
  7. Begin adding hot broth a cup or so at a time. Stir to incorporate.
  8. When rice is nearly done, add peas, lemon juice, zest.
  9. Finish with cheese, knob of butter and parsley.
  10. Serve and enjoy!