It’s the dead of winter in northwest Washington, but local food can still be found. A brief journey through the whipping winds will lead you to a few meccas of local bounty that are well worth the effort. What better way to celebrate the month of love than with a from-scratch dinner you’ll keep coming back to. It’s healthy, it’s delicious, it supports your community, and will impress your love, your family, AND your taste buds.
The Winter Abundance Bowl below is inspired by foods that you can often find throughout the coldest months of the year. I generally like to start my bowls with a base of whole grains, and in this case I chose farro, an old-world ancient grain dating back to early civilizations that grows just over the Cascades in Winthrop. Farro is prepared much like brown rice, and makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, or addition to soup.
Next, roasted veggies like winter squashes and sweet root veggies are a must. A favorite addition of mine is Cascadia Mushrooms’ shiitake mushrooms, prepared caramelized with onions. A local super-yellow-egg-yolked soft-boiled egg makes a perfect topping and adds protein. But my favorite part of any bowl? The sauce. I find vegetables delicious, but a little sauce goes a long way to making a dish memorable – in this case, a spicy yogurt sauce with a local pepper powder.
Slanted Sun Farm, here in Everson, is growing a Basque pepper and using it to produce a ground chili powder. Traditionally called Piment d’Espelette, this culinary spice is often used in Spanish cuisine, known for intense flavor without adding a great deal of heat, and adding a sweet and savory kick to any dish. Slanted Sun Farm owner Anna Morris says she likes to use it most on popcorn, eggs, and add it to homemade spice blends for taco or fajita seasoning.
Find this delicious local chili powder and many of these local items at the Bellingham Farmers Market winter markets the third Saturdays of February and March, or pick up a copy of the local Whatcom Food & Farm Finder to find local farmers, food artisans, and restaurants and grocers that carry local food year-round.
The Winter Abundance Bowl
The key to the ease of this recipe is prepping ahead. If you prepare many of the ingredients ahead of time (especially cooking the farro, roasting veggies, making the sauce), dinner can be quick and easy.
1 Hopewell Farm delicata squash, halved, seeded, and chopped into ½ rings – leave skin on (delicata is one of my favorite varieties of winter squash for this reason!)
1 Large yam, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 Cup Cascadia Mushrooms shiitakes, sliced (stems and all)
3 Leaves of kale, stems removed, stems chopped and leaves chopped separately
½ Cup red onions, sliced, then halved
3 Misty Meadows or Osprey Hill Farm eggs
1 Cup Bluebird Grains farro (can be found in bulk at the Co-op)
1 Tbsp Breckenridge Farm butter
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Farro: Rinse farro and place in a large sauce pan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes (Can be soaked overnight , then rinsed to reduce cooking time to 10-15 minutes after boiling).
Roasted Squash/Yams: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a pan with a high heat oil (I like avocado oil), and sea salt. Toss yams and squash pieces in salt/oil mix. Place in oven, toss with a spatula after 10 minutes to prevent browning on one side. Cook 10 minutes more, or until easily pierced by a fork.
Spicy yogurt sauce: Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until creamy. If you like a less spicy sauce, add ½ tsp of the Piment d’Soleil. Set aside.
Soft-Boiled Eggs: Fill a small sauce pan with water, add two eggs and bring to a boil. Cook for 5–6 minutes (depending on how runny you like the yolk), then drain, rinse with cold water, and peel.
Caramelize Onions & Mushrooms: Heat ½ Tbsp butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add onions and pinch of salt, sauté for 1 minute. Add chopped kale stems and sauté 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms, other ½ Tbsp of butter and another pinch of salt, and cook until soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes more.
1. Heat up any farro or roasted veggies you prepped ahead.
2. Assemble bowl, farro on bottom, then topped with roasted squash and yams, soft-boiled eggs halved, raw kale leaves, and caramelized onion/mushroom mixture. Top with a big dollop of spicy yogurt sauce, and salt, ground pepper, and more chili pepper to taste. Enjoy!