1. Homegrown green (sprouts)
Let's start with this guest post I did a few days ago on Foodies in Quebec. Growing your own sprouts is a frugal way to incorporate highly nutritious fresh greens into your winter diet and into your St. Patrick's Day salad. Watching roots develop is also a great "science" project, regardless of your age. Since sprouting your own sprouts is really easy, it is a great activity for kids.
How to: Click here for my 5 simple steps to growing your own sprouts.
2. Confetti winter root vegetable slaw
If you're looking for an alternative to cabbage-based salad, this one is our favorite. We invented it last winter, when we had a surplus of hardy root veggies such as carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips. It's a flavorful crunchy way to enjoy the local vegetable selection we have this time of year in northern climes.
How to: Grate up equal amounts of at least three firm root vegetables. Add thinly sliced onions (maybe 1/3 to 1/2 as much as any individual type of root vegetable). Toss with a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt or mayo, depending on your preference; if you make a big batch, you may need more. Sample the salad and follow your taste buds - you may want to add salt, pepper or even a dash of sugar.
3. Pot pies and dessert pies
Whether you like your pie savory or sweet, pie is an ideal choice for late-winter comfort food. As you can read in my recent article, pies have been made for thousands of years. Interestingly, meat pies came first, and the word "pie" did not come into common use until the mid-1300s.
How to: Remind me to do a post about my mother's velvet-like pie crust and highly flexible filling recipes. In the meantime, use your favorite dessert pie recipe, or try the following savory one.
- Prepare a pie crust (check your favorite basic cookbook and you'll likely find a no-fuss version you'll enjoy). Use one large pie dish or several small baking dishes if you prefer individual pies.
- Dice potatoes, carrots, and onions (~ equal portions of each) and mix with herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, etc. Sprinkle in a bit of cloves, to add some richness to the flavor.
- Mix in chunks of venison or venison burger, or whatever meat you prefer.
- Fill the pie crust with the meat+veggies filling, and fold edges of crust over top filling to form a "rustic" crust. Don't worry if there are some gaps.
- Bake the pie at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 350 degrees, and bake until crust is golden brown and a fork inserted into the pie easily slides through the filling. This will likely be 30-50 minutes, depending on the size of your pies.
Bonus: I was curious about Saint Patrick and the snakes of Ireland, so I went looking for info. My article in last week's QCT summarizes the myths and mysteries of the Irish saint.
What's on the menu for your St. Patrick's Day feast?
Tell us in the comments!