Capturing the trend to eating seasonally and locally, a number of Canadian cookbooks released this fall are featuring recipes to help readers do just that right in their own kitchens.
Veteran food writer Lucy Waverman really delivers style geared to seasonal meals in her new book, "A Year In Lucy's Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes and Memorable Meals" (Random House, $35, softcover).
"Life is divided into seasons and I see no harm in eating foods like asparagus in season rather than imported in winter," she says. "We eat locally grown asparagus every single day and by the end of the season we are so sick of it that we don't mind giving it up until the next spring crop beckons."
Her exception is to buy imported brassica vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli out of season because she believes consuming them "is very important nutritionally in our diets."
Waverman, the author of eight cookbooks, has a new twist in her latest book. Her husband Bruce MacDougall, an expert in tasting and matching wine and food, has put his talents to pairing her recipes with the appropriate vintages.
Because she is very partial to Asian cuisine, Waverman has included several spiced-up recipes throughout the book.
"I love the textures, the flavours, the tastes and the fact it is eclectic," she says. "In a Chinese meal with three or four dishes everything is different with all sorts of varying levels of flavours, textures and crispness."
What does Waverman see on the culinary horizon?
"I think people want simple food and I don't think the comfort food trend is going away."
The following seasonal recipe from Waverman's new book puts an Asian spin on roasted vegetables for a unique side dish to serve with shortribs or roasts.
Use carrots, squash, parsnips, turnips, whole garlic cloves and small onions or any vegetables you prefer.
Spiced Roasted Root Vegetables
3 l (12 cups) mixed root vegetables, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) pieces
45 ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) medium Indian curry paste
Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
In a large pot, place vegetables and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Drain vegetables and toss with oil and curry paste. Spread on baking sheets and roast, turning occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until golden and tender. Season with salt before serving.
Note: Waverman usually roasts the vegetables ahead on 2 baking sheets and then reheats them all together in a baking dish at 180 C (350 F) before serving.