Pheasant Confit for a Wintry Gathering

I find so often with the slow, intentional labors of love, the pieces start to fall into place and exceed even my obsessive planning. This gathering centered around a bird. Beyond the decision to confit a bird (a first for me), I felt a different sort of reverence for this bird. I didn't just pick up a plasticized cut of meat from the neon-lit cooler. Our friend waited in the cold (this is one part of hunting I do not understand), hunted this bird, plucked its painterly feathers and [mostly] cleaned it (Josh, you could have been a bit more thorough, but we'll allow it). We foraged winter branches, berries and greens from our dog's happy place, which became a centerpiece backdrop for the pheasant feathers. We set the table, dimmed the lights, and the dining room felt pleasantly small and cozy as it brimmed with friends new and old and laughter.

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Cauliflower Salmon Chowder (with Dairy Free Option)

the man who keeps my spine and me in tip-top shape, Dr. Alex, recommends this Cauliflower Salmon Chowder for the Omega 3's found in the wild-caught salmon. These help prevent irregular heartbeat, reduce inflammation, and they reduce the risk of stroke. The Rustbelt Farmer picked romanesco instead of cauliflower, since all the cauliflower was wrapped in plastic. Either will work, so make the choice that's better for the planet, and enjoy your bowl all the more. Here's to warming soup bowls on the drearier days!

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Boeuf Bourguignon: A Comforting Winter Stew

The best part of investing the time and effort (which is really less than you think) in this Boeuf Bourguignon recipe is it keeps on feeding you. From our fancy New Year's Eve table, to watching Fargo on New Year's Day (it felt appropriately cold outside to revisit that classic film) and a few days after that, we had warm bowls of comforting stew to nourish us and torture the dog with its aroma (poor baby, but no wine broth for her).

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Harvest Salad with Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash

Hearty and comforting, this harvest salad with quinoa, roasted beets and squash will balance heavier holiday eating. The recipe is loose, so you can alter it to fix your cravings or empty your fridge. This is really a choose-your-own-adventure style recipe. Want something even heartier? Bulk up the quinoa and make this a gluten-free grain bowl. 

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Socca: A Chickpea Flour Savory Pancake (aka a “Cromlet”) with Fennel Olive Salad & Yogurt Sauce

Crepe meets Omelette, get it? This savory, vegetarian pancake is perfect for small kitchen cooking, especially on weeknights, as it comes together quickly. Double the olive fennel salad, whip up some extra yogurt sauce, wilt some more greens, and throw it all on a lentil pasta the following night to stretch your weeknight meal planning.

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Spicy Pepper Roasted Chicken Tacos with Hearth Roasted Potatoes

When we escaped to the cabin in the woods, my goal was to cook for the sake of cooking, to enjoy the process and to revel in slow meals. Since the cabin kitchen was on the smaller side, and since our plan was to sequester ourselves in coziness, I had to be more intentional, more prudent. Each ingredient needed to flow from one meal to the next. Tacos are a great decoy for leftovers.

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Spicy Pepper Roasted Chicken & Vegetables from the book “Soul Food Love”

In honor of Black History Month, this is my own humble nod of gratitude for the history the black community built and enriched. This is my own nod of gratitude toward the immigrants, who like my grandmother's family came to America and worked harder than anyone, planting their traditions into American soils. It's a nod to those who were here long before any of us, who valued the many resources this beautiful chunk of land had to offer.

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