Food: Hearty Feasts for Winter Days

Cold-weather menus from local restaurateurs and a farmer

BY KATE JONUSKA

Few joys can top a lovingly prepared feast on a cold winter day. In fact, when the days grow chilly, our homes often grow warm with family and friend get-togethers. Boulder Magazine asked three local foodies to share their favorite menus to help your winter gatherings come together deliciously. Here are their suggestions.

Seth Witherspoon loves preparing a delicious homemade meal accompanied by a perfectly paired wine. (photo by Haley Gray)

Sugarbeet’s Seth Witherspoon

Executive chef of Sugarbeet,
serving modern American cuisine
101 Pratt St., Longmont, 303-651-3330,
http://www.sugarbeetrestaurant.com

“What’s not to like about Colorado winters?” asks Seth Witherspoon, who, with his wife Justine, is an East Coast transplant. They both love the Colorado lifestyle, especially cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In fact, the only drawback to winter, as far as Witherspoon is concerned, is the reduced daylight and having to put the restaurant’s vegetable garden to bed.

Witherspoon says making fresh meals is not entirely impossible in winter, however. He often prepares a good Tuscan kale salad marinated in citrus juices. Justine’s Italian roots encouraged her to master fresh homemade pasta that Witherspoon can only describe as “righteous.”

“We often warm up the kitchen by cooking all day,” he says. Especially memorable are the couple’s wine dinners, often shared among a group of culinary and restaurant professionals. “ “The wines get big, and the recycling bin gets heavy.”

Favorite winter produce: Cellar root vegetables and hearty greens.
Favorite kitchen tool: Cast-iron Le Creuset Dutch ovens for cooking soups, stews and chilis.
Best host/hostess gift: Anything made by hand, but specifically any friends’ home-brewed beer.

See Witherspoon’s recipes for an intimate evening: http://getboulder.com/winter-feasts-recipes-seth-witherspoons-intimate-evening/
See Witherspoon’s recipes for a big winter gathering: http://getboulder.com/winter-feasts-recipes-seth-witherspoon-gang/ 

 

Before an outdoor winter adventure with his family, Philip Goddard grabs his favorite knife
and prepares a roast that will be ready when the gang returns home. (Photo by BirdGodd Photography)

The Greenbriar’s Philip Goddard

Proprietor/general manager of the Greenbriar Inn,
serving classic American cuisine
8735 North Foothills Highway,
Boulder, 303-440-7979,
http://www.greenbriarinn.com

While the Greenbriar Inn’s menu is certainly upscale, don’t expect anything overly fancy in Philip Goddard’s home kitchen, where entertaining often takes place at the island and breakfast bar. “I have knives that I’ve used for 30-plus years,” Goddard says, waxing nostalgic about all the chef’s memories his favorite knife evokes. “I think of all the times I grabbed that knife and got things done. Even now, it still fits my hand. The callouses are still there.”

Goddard is a unique restaurateur who’s equal parts chef, gardener (the Greenbriar Inn boasts 7,000 square feet of gardens on-site) and philosopher. “The seasons are huge for me. Seasons represent the changes in life,” he says philosophically. “They make you realize that things inevitably change, and it keeps you invigorated about life.”

His family also invigorates Goddard, who enjoys skiing, snowshoeing and sledding with the kids—and a hearty meal afterward. “Those are my favorite gatherings,” he says. “I love putting a roast in the oven and when you get back from the snow, it’s all ready to go.”

Favorite part of his kitchen: The six-burner gas range with a convection oven.
Winter family recipe: His mother’s warm Grape Nut pudding.
Favorite winter protein: Whole-roasted turkeys, chickens and pheasants.

See Goddard’s recipes for an intimate evening: http://getboulder.com/greenbriar-philip-goddard-recipe-lamb-chop-mephisto/
See Goddard’s recipes for a big winter gathering: http://getboulder.com/philip-goddard-boulders-greenbriar-inn-shares-recipes/

 

Peter Volz and Gail Zucker relax in their kitchen, where Gail prepares many variations on carrot soup. Grown at Oxford Gardens, the carrots store for months in root-cellar conditions. (photo by Brady Anderson)

Oxford Gardens’ Peter Volz and Gail Zucker

Peter Volz, owner of Oxford Gardens,
a local farm at 10145 Oxford Road, Longmont,
http://www.oxfordgardensboulder.com

A farmer’s work is never done, Peter Volz says. On Oxford Garden’s 5 acres, the season starts in February with the first greenhouse plantings and winds to a close in December with soil amending after the harvest, leaving scant time off in between.

“The break can be pleasantly boring, but it’s not a whole lot of downtime,” Volz says. “My girlfriend Gail [Zucker] and I use the time to take one big adventure trip each year, always in the dead of winter.” Of the pair, Zucker is definitely the kitchen wizard, adept at deliciously preparing whatever seasonal produce is at hand, and Volz’s farm keeps her amply supplied year-round. In fact, Oxford Gardens has some form of fresh greens nine months a year, and some of its carrot varieties store deliciously in root-cellar conditions.

“I like entertaining in winter,” Volz says, “just because it’s so cozy. I spend a lot of time the rest of the year outside, so it’s nice to curl up in the warmth for a while.”

Favorite unique root vegetable: The Hakurei turnip (aka Tokyo turnip or white salad turnip), which is crisp and sweet, raw or cooked.
Gail’s favorite recipe: The many variations of her carrot soup.
Winter staples: A freezer full of local meat (for Peter) and a variety of winter squash (for Gail)

See Volz and Zucker’s winter feast recipes: http://getboulder.com/oxford-farms-golz-shares-recipes-winter-feast/

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