Summer food in winter

Living in Kansas makes for an interesting life.  Not the least of which is the weather, which changes sometimes several times in a day.  in January and early February we suffered through sub-zero temperatures with snow and ice and biting winds.  Then, all the sudden, the temperatures started to rise and the snow melted.

All of the sudden, we had two days where the temperatures reached the sixties and one day it was 70 degrees, with very little wind.  Trust me, in Kansas the days with little to no wind are few and far between.  I took off work early and my husband and I hopped on our bikes and rode a little over ten miles.  Yes we are still feeling it, but it was so worth it.  Seventy degrees in February, with little wind and it would be a sin against God not to take advantage of it.

So the other sin would be not to grill out and eat outside when it was so perfectly beautiful.  After the bike ride, I fired up the grill and proceeded to think about what I wanted to do.  Summer food in winter can be difficult.  The garden is dormant and it is hard to replicate the sheer wonder of summer produce.

Nonetheless, I wanted to try.  In the midwest, there is a wonderful dish that uses fresh green beans, some bacon, ham or fatback, onions and new potatoes out of the garden.  The joy of course is picking the green beans and digging around to find those new little potatoes.  Throw them in a pot and cook up a “mess” of them.

I had a handful of fresh green beans in the refrigerator.  I had purple fingerlings in the basement harvested this fall from the garden.  Now purple potatoes are truly ugly when cooked in water (think gray mush), but are lovely roasted.  I decided to snap the green beans, half the purple fingerlings, add some yellow onion and some carrot for color.  Tossed them in olive oil, added some salt and freshly ground pepper and put them in a grill pan.


So far, so good.  I had the green beans, potatoes and onions taken care of.  Next for the “pork”  I had two boneless pork loin chops.  I seasoned them with some homemade mesquite seasoning and put them on the grill.  So I had the makings of, in musical terms, a “riff” or an improvisation, of an old school summer dish in the middle of winter.

It plated up like this:



Sitting outside in seventy degree weather on February 18, was a joy!  Here is my husband ready to enjoy his meal:



Such a gift of a perfect day in the midst of winter.  I know there are many cold days yet ahead, and a few warm ones thrown in for good measure.  On this day, I enjoyed the harvest of last fall, a bike ride in near perfect conditions and a meal that was almost sacramental in the sharing with someone I love.