At The Cookie Cups, we’re all about cooking with the best ingredients year-round. Our sweet and savory cups feature the freshest fruits and veggies, and we love to feature seasonal ingredients in both our cooking classes and special menu offerings.
While the cold winter months aren’t always associated with the brightest produce, there’s no shortage of tasty ingredients to try this season, from root vegetables to leafy greens and even citrus.
While waiting for the weather to warm up, read up on some of our favorite winter produce, then try out these delicious seasonal appetizers.
Kale has become a popular “superfood” in recent years, and everyone seems to want a piece of this cabbage relative. While it can be bitter when eaten raw, a few simple prep steps can turn kale into a delicious and flavorful appetizer ingredient.
Why we love kale: Like its fellow dark leafy greens, kale comes loaded with countless nutritional benefits. A single cup contains well above your recommended daily dosage of Vitamins A, C, and K, along with a laundry list of other vitamins and minerals. It also has some serious antioxidant power and can lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
How to prepare it: Kale makes a great salad base in its uncooked form, but it can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many recipes instruct you to de-stem and massage your kale leaves with salt and olive oil, which helps reduce its naturally bitter flavor. You can also season and roast your kale for some crunchy kale “chips.” But we think it works really well in this creamy, cheesy kale dip from Pillsbury!
Cauliflower’s mild taste plays well with many flavor profiles, and it tastes great both raw and cooked. Though cauliflower is usually seen in its traditional white color, you may also see purple, yellow or even green cauliflower in your local market.
Why we love cauliflower: Cauliflower is extremely versatile, and can be added to nearly any dish for a boost of nutrition. Not only is it full of vitamins and antioxidants, it’s also high in fiber and choline. Cauliflower can also be used as a gluten-free substitution for everything from rice to pasta to pizza crusts.
How to prepare them: Raw cauliflower florets dipped in hummus or dressing make a quick and easy snack. You can also steam, roast or sauté your cauliflower if you prefer your vegetables cooked. We also love Pinch of Yum’s take on General Tso’s cauliflower – you won’t even miss the chicken!
Did you know that sweet potatoes are not related to yams, and are only very distantly related to regular potatoes? This hearty, filling root vegetable can carry savory and sweet dishes alike. Their flavor profiles bear similarities to those of pumpkin, vanilla and toasted nuts.
Why we love sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are delicious, of course, but are also naturally high in various vitamins and minerals. They’re a great source of vitamin C and potassium, as well as beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A.
How to prepare them: Sweet potatoes can be used in nearly any dish that calls for regular potatoes (try them baked, mashed, or roasted!). They’re also the star of classic holiday dishes such as sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole. For a crowd-pleasing appetizer, try out Well Plated’s recipe for sweet potato rounds, piled high with goat cheese and cranberries.
Ready to try out some delicious recipes for this season and year-round? Come cook with us at one of The Cookie Cups cooking classes. Contact us or stop by the store for more info.