This is the season to fight the chilly weather with hot soups, braised meats and warm desserts.
Diane Rossen Worthington, author of 14 cookbooks including The Taste of Summer, explores the dishes of fall and winter in her new book, The Taste of the Season (Chronicle Books, 2004, $24.95).
Her goal, she says, is to follow up on her summer book with a book that celebrates the cool months through dishes that feature seasonal produce and could be served at the holiday table.
Among the 75 or so recipes are Winter Frittata, which can be assembled in advance and served for a holiday brunch; Spicy Chicken Gumbo, which is perfect for a Super Bowl celebration; and a comforting Turkey Potpie with a Puff Pastry Crust, which would be a fine dinner to serve on a snowy evening.
The recipes are straightforward and rely on supermarket staples to create gourmet fare. Take, for example, the recipe for yams, which are given a Southwestern treatment with a filling of chives and chipotle-infused sour cream.
For dessert, Worthington includes old-fashioned goodies, such as a coconut cake and butterscotch pudding.
The book includes a helpful chapter on items to stock in the cool-weather pantry and photographs of many of the recipes.
Winter Frittata With Sausages, Potatoes, Swiss Chard and Fontina
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
4 favorite cooked sausages (about 1 pound), sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
1 pound red or white waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 small bunch Swiss chard (about 1/2 pound), stems removed and leaves torn into small pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian fontina cheese (divided use)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup tomato salsa or salsa verde
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle (cover the handle with foil if not ovenproof), heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and saute for about 4 minutes, until they are nicely browned. Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the leek and potatoes and saute for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the leek is golden-brown and the potatoes are tender inside and crisp on the surface. Stir in the chard, cover and cook for about 2 minutes, until the chard is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, parsley and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the shredded cheese.
Add the sausages to the potato mixture and spread the mixture evenly in the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over it and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until the bottom is lightly set and cooked. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frittata is puffed and brown. Serve right in the pan or slide onto a round serving platter. Garnish with sour cream and salsa, and serve immediately.
Per serving: 562 calories; 27 grams protein; 41 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 20 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 486 milligrams cholesterol; 801 milligrams sodium