In the deep cold and dark of wintertime, I find myself craving sweet things warmed by spice. Cinnamon. Coriander. Ginger. They warm me from the inside out, helping me to brace myself against the deep, dark looming gloom of wintertime. I tire of winter. This year more than others. It leaves me cold, and weepy, and wanting.
When I can, I turn to the kitchen - seeking warmth from the oven. Sometimes the fireplace does little to heat our old home, and the residual warmth of the oven fortifies the ambient temperature of our home, cutting through the bite of winter's chill that creeps through the crooks and crannies of old homes like ours.
Nourishment in Wintertime
On very cold days, I want for sweet and starchy foods, foods that can satisfy and sustain me throughout the day. It's a blessing of nature that, during the coldest part of the year, roots and tubers and starchy vegetables exist in abundance. Sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes, picked up at our last visit to an area farm where we participate in a CSA, form the foundation of my family's meals in winter time along with homemade bone broth, lamb from local farms, good fat and a sprinkling of fresh herbs grown hydroponically at home.
Why My Family Loves Ghee
I keep a cupboard in my kitchen devoted to fats for cooking: heirloom olive oil that I buy producer-direct (see the shopping guide), home-rendered lard (learn how to render lard here), and ghee. Ghee is, without a doubt, my first choice in cooking fats - I love its high smoke point, its rich and almost nutty flavor, and it's big dose of fat-soluble vitamins which provides critical nourishment to my growing child. Ghee, when produced from the butter of grass-fed cows, is also extraordinarily rich in conjugated linoleic acid - a healthy fat known for its anticarcinogenic properties.
How Spices and Ghee Work Synergistically Together
In my Sweet Potatoes Anna, a wintertime favorite in our home, I pair antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes with ghee. Not only does ghee make a beautiful culinary companion to sweet potatoes, the fatty acids within ghee enable the body to better absorb the antioxidants, such as beta carotene, found in the sweet potatoes. Further, the ghee helps the body to better absorb the antioxidants found in the sweet spices such as turmeric, used in the making of spiced ghee. In this way, the presence of ghee not only makes for a deeply luscious and rich dish, it also makes the dish more nourishing by maximizing the bioavailability of the nutrients contained in both the sweet potatoes and the spices.
You can make your own spiced ghee using the directions below, or you can also purchase it online.