A Love Letter to Winter
Thank you for your many gifts. Thank you for allowing me to slow down, to think more clearly and to become healthier for the year to come. Thank you for covering the earth with a blanket of white, protecting the ground below for the spring to come. Thank you for allowing me to don thick, deer-printed scarves and bear hats without shame against your artic breeze. Thank you for never telling anyone about the time I ate a whole roll of cookie dough to keep warm one lonely winter night…ahem. Thank you for bringing loved ones together, huddled closely next to a warm fire. Thank you for the bright vegetables and citrus that you provide to nourish my body and give me strength. And most of all, thank you for change.
No matter how harsh a season may be, there is hope in knowing that whatever the time may bring, it will come to a close, and spring will reveal its lovely blooms. No season lasts forever, for good or bad, but there is comfort in knowing that change will always come, whether wanted or unwanted. In a world of uncertainty, that is a comfort. Winter, dear winter, will be a distant memory, but like a loved one, it always comes back, begging for our attention and wooly socks. So for this one moment, this one flake in time, I will thank you because there is a beauty, a stillness and silence in you that is unlike any other season.
You make the spring that much sweeter, you are the perfect foil to a summer’s breeze and you gently, patiently step in after the autumn leaves have finally found their place of peace.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”- Ecclesiastes 3:1
This recipe highlights just a few winter vegetables. Feel free to use any of your favorite vegetables for this dish!
Recipe: Serves 6
6 pieces of pizza dough (see recipe below)
2 cups of tomato sauce (see recipe below), or a good jarred marinara sauce
2 beets, boiled, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
4 carrots, scrubbed, peeled and sliced into thin coins
3 radishes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 cup of crumbled feta
4 tablespoons of gremolata (see recipe below)
Sherry vinegar or lemon juice to finish (optional)
Crushed black pepper
Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 500 degrees.
On a sheet of foil dusted with flour, place 1 piece of pizza dough in the middle and gently roll the pizza dough into a circle until thin (you can also pick up the dough and gently stretch the dough with your hands.) Spoon 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the dough and spread close to the edges.
Place prepared beets, carrots and radishes onto the top. Put the dough in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown in color. Sprinkle feta and gremolata over the top of the hot pizza. Finish with pepper and vinegar or lemon juice if you want to add extra acidity to the pizza!
Pizza Dough: Makes 8 Individual Pizzas
2 packages of Rapid Rise yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of warm water
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of salt
6 cups of bread flour
Combine yeast, sugar and water in a mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook. Let the yeast bubble and puff up for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and olive oil. Mix on low. Add 3 cups of flour and mix the flour into the dough. Add the other half of the flour and continue mixing on a low speed until the dough forms into a ball. Set the dough in a large bowl covered in olive oil. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and let rise in a warm spot for an hour.
Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down and place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Place in freezer until ready to use.
2 Tbs. of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
1 pinch of sugar
1 sprig of basil, leaves only
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauté pan on medium temperature, heat olive oil. Add sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds or just until golden. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add sugar. Bring to slight boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and add basil leaves. Set aside.
Combine 1 small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves, 1 minced garlic clove and the juice and zest of ¼ of a lemon and stir to combine. Keep in fridge until ready to use.