Nancy Lowell is a wonderful writer whose blog is Chef’s Last Diet.
Combining kale and shiitake mushrooms and roasting them together with squash makes a delicious and colorful fall side dish. It certainly would make a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table as well.
Eating seasonally has many benefits, from getting the freshest ingredients, to getting those things at the best prices available. Yes, this is one area in life when the cheapest stuff around is also the best quality, and how often does that happen? If you are lucky enough to have access to a farmers’ market you’re accustomed to buying what’s in season, and you don’t need to think about it, because what they’re selling is what’s being harvested. If like many people you shop at a grocery store, seasonality can be a bit more opaque.
There are things we definitely associate with autumn; apples, hard squash, and pumpkins. There are also the things we want all year round, but have to resign ourselves to the fact that they are either shipped here from the southern hemisphere, or grown in hot houses. There is a great site Eat Well Guide where you can search by your specific geographic location to check what’s in season, look for the featured guide tab, and then on the bottom right you’ll be able to get to a map and locate your state. It’s not too surprising that there isn’t too much listed for the Northeast–it gets pretty cold here, and not much grows from December through early spring. Though for the moment my farmers’ market looks and feels pretty abundant!
Seasonality is why canning and preserving was so ubiquitous through history until quite recently. People wanted to preserve summer’s bounty and eat a variety of vegetables all year. Canned vegetables from the store are pretty atrocious, but home canned veggies can be very good, and often capture the flavor of summer. Being very new to canning and preserving I didn’t do a very good job of putting things up this year, but by next year I plan to have a plan! Though even with a good plan, there is no way to have a summery fresh tomato on a sandwich in January… instead we settle for those vine-on Holland tomatoes, which though not bad, aren’t the same.
Our first frost is threatened, my heat is on, and I’m enjoying the new crop of apples, squashes, dark leafy greens, brussels sprouts, beets and such. There is still plenty of good fresh produce around, and I’ll make the most of it. As winter settles in I find what I crave matches the season, and so I try to eat seasonally. I wish you seasons eatings too! And hope you’ll find this recipe, one of my favorites, will warm your heart and stomach. Some other favorites, like Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Stroganoff can be found on my blog.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Kale and Shiitakes
This is not a recipe where exact amounts are critical.
Preheat oven to 325° F
1 lb. Orange Winter Squash peeled* and cut into 1″ cubes
1 Bunch Kale stems removed and torn into pieces
1/2 lb. Shiitake Mushrooms stems removed and cut into 1/4″ strips
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1-2 tsp. Cumin (depending on your personal taste)
2 tsp. Smoked Paprika (pimenton)
Toss all vegetables with oil, then toss with seasoning
Lay out on sheet trays or cookie sheets
Roast for 15 minutes, then turn and stir vegetables, returning to oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, until squash is tender and starting to brown *It is not necessary to peel acorn squash, you can eat the peel