Cook the Book: 'Home Made Winter'

20130107-235892-cook-the-book-home-made-winter-cover-image1.jpegMeals in early January are so often subject to the bane of good intentions: to eat more salads and whole grains, and to gobble down less meat and fewer cookies. Sure, these may be healthier and wiser choices than those made, say, two weeks ago during the hedonism of the holidays. Yet the problem with all of these light meals is that they go against the undisputed fact that January is a cold, dreary, and (often) snowy month—prime time for comfort food.

This month, resolve to embrace rich braised dishes, lush breakfasts, and perhaps a salad or two (preferably when dressed with a rich, bacony dressing) while cooking out of Yvette van Boven's new Home Made Winter. Boven's book is a companion piece to her 2011 cookbook, Home Made, offering DIY recipes for items such as cheese and sausage as well as totally-from-scratch comfort foods with an Irish twist—think meat pies, roasted game, sticky desserts, and hearty drinks. These dishes are often accompanied by quirky illustrations and cut-out collages, making the book just as much fun to read as it is to cook from. Given its format, some recipes are more detailed than others; use your instincts and the dishes will turn out just fine.

For our first week back in the new year, we'll be cooking a full day's worth of homemade meals. For breakfast, we'll bake Cardamom and Orange Scones, and then prepare a beautiful Speckled Salad with Quinoa, Leek, Bacon, and Chervil for lunch. Brousse Cheese and Beet Blinis with Salmon make equally lovely afternoon snacks. To round out the day, we'll construct hearty Vol-au-Vents with Creamy Celeriac and Wild Mushrooms (and hey, they're vegetarian!).

Win 'Home Made Winter'

Thanks to our friends at Stewart, Taboori, & Chang, we have five (5) copies of Home Made Winter to give away this week. All you need to do is tell us about your favorite winter comfort food in the comments section below.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at

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