It can be a bit challenging during the winter to create meals that are seasonal and rely on fresh ingredients sourced from nearby, but it is possible. And the use of dried and preserved ingredients supplement a well-rounded meal with sufficient variety in tastes and textures to insure an interesting gastronomic experience. Tonight, I take advantage of using the leftover black beans from last night’s menu, locally-grown cabbage and vegetables, and artisan cheese from a producer in nearby Maryland only a short distance away. I also used the last of the chili-tomato sauce that I preserved last summer as an accoompanient to the  main course.

As for dessert…many years ago my mother gifted me with a food dehydrator and I have put it to good use during the summer months when locally-grown fresh fruit comes to the farmer’s stands. Although dried fruits certainly are very different than fresh, they provide a wonderful burst of sweetness to a winter meal.

Polenta wedges enriched with Chapel’s Country Creamery cave-aged cheeses topped with braised black beans and a drizzle of Eddie’s chili-tomato sauce
Sauteed organic mushrooms from Mother Earth Farm in Pennsylvania
Cabbage and aromatic vegetables from Lois’ Produce farm in Northern Virginia braised with Virginia-based Naked Mountain Vineyard Riesling

Eddie’s dried summer fruits (peaches, plums, blueberries, and nectarines), poached with filtered water and honey served over house-made cinnamon ice cream with crisp walnut cookies