Cooking In Season: Winter Squash and Leek Risotto

This past year for Christmas, Joe gave me a cookbook I’ve been interested in checking out for a while: Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden is all about, yes, cooking in-season vegetables. I immediately read through the cookbook including the spring, early summer, mid summer, late summer, and fall sections. Then I bookmarked all the recipes in the “winter” section that I wanted to try right away.

Risottos often catch my eye on recipe blogs and in restaurants, but too be honest, I often find them boring – the flavor can be one-note and the texture a bit like baby food. Not so with this winter squash and leek risotto. The squash, leeks, wine, cheese, and spices created beautiful layers of flavor and the leeks gave it texture. Joe and I enjoyed this a lot and agreed we should make it often.

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Marie Cooks Skyrim: Chicken Dumplings

Fantasy is often stereotyped for excessive descriptions, including descriptions of food. Who could make it through The Chronicles of Narnia without wanting to find out what Turkish Delight tastes like? Or read A Game of Thrones without craving a bowl of beef and barley stew? I am certainly not the only one who has thought so… you could create a library of cookbooks written solely to give people a taste of fictional worlds. The summer before last, I was at the Renaissance Faire and was tempted by a bookseller and several fantasy-themed cookbooks by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. It should be obvious how my checkbook fared against that temptation.

My recreation of Skyrim’s chicken dumplings is adapted from this book. The filling is flavorful – sweet from the carrots and roasted leeks, spring-like from the dill and fennel, balanced with richness from the cream. I’ve made these 3 times already, and will definitely keep making them.

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Marie Cooks Skyrim: Cabbage Potato Soup

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When it comes to choosing what food to eat, I think it is very important to listen to what your body is telling you. Not the part that says eat pizza for every meal – the part that says “I want mushrooms right now,” or “roasted broccoli sounds really good.” Usually, our bodies are very good at telling us what we need, if we know how to listen. Last weekend, I was craving cabbage. This is NOT usually a craving I have, but I must have been particularly deficient in vitamin C (or something) because cabbage just sounded like something I really wanted to be part of dinner. Well, perfect time for me to do some google-research of several dozen different cabbage soup recipes. This one caught my eye looking particularly delicious and I was pretty tickled to find that it had all of the ingredients from Skyrim’s cabbage, potato, and leek soup. Joe and I had this for dinner with some garlic bread and I absolutely cleaned my bowl of every last drop.

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Chicken and Leek Pie on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day was always important in my family when I was growing up. My father’s grandmother was from County Cork before she came to America, and my dad takes a lot of enjoyment from his Irish heritage. For a number of years I practiced Irish stepdancing, so March meant that my mom drove me around to numerous St. Patrick’s Day parties at Irish-American Clubs, pubs, museums, and churches where we were part of the St. Paddy’s Day show. My dad would play the Chieftains (well, we did that year-round) and mom made corned beef and cabbage. Corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American dish that originated with Irish immigrants in New England and I, for one, love it! This year, however I wanted to try something different. I wanted to try something that might be more familiar to someone in Ireland. After a little searching around for a recipe, I landed on chicken and leek pie.

The preparation for this recipe was different than anything I had ever done, before, but I found that it smelled and tasted wonderful. I liked it even better cold the next day!

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