Parsnip-Almond Soup with Kumquat-Caperberry Garnish from Chef Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen in Portland (Photo credit: John Vall)

Outside, Old Man Winter is unleashing snow showers. Inside, we’re cooking up a storm. Holiday gatherings offer the perfect opportunity to share the flavors of Oregon with friends and family.

Ashley Gartland, food writer and author of “Dishing Up Oregon: 145 Recipes That Celebrate Farm-to-Table Flavors,” gave us some inspiration for the winter table.

Oregon hazelnuts: Toast them to serve in a salad or crush over roasted brussel sprouts. Chopped finely they make a nice crust (as in the hazelnut-crusted rack of lamb recipe in her book provided by Jen’s Garden in Sisters). Or grind them up and use in place of flour. “The hazelnut adds a lot of flavor to baked goods, and it is gluten-free,” Gartland says.

Dungeness crab: Oregon’s official state crustacean (and certified sustainable) kicks off its season in December. Gartland votes for crab simply cooked or made into crab cakes.

Winter veggies: “I love all of the root vegetables — leafy greens, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and carrots,” she says. She thinks kale, available almost year-round, tastes best in winter.

Try something new: Gartland suggests roasted rabbit as an alternative meat. “It is a good Sunday supper dish.” Brussels sprouts are another item she’s come to love as an adult, sautéed with olive oil and finished with butter, maple syrup and fresh herbs. “My mom never served them. She had three picky girls, so it was steamed broccoli and carrots.”

Holiday meals: Gartland goes for rustic, simple dishes that let the fresh ingredients shine. “I don’t cook fancy foods,” she says. “I start my menu with the main course and think about what would be delicious.” Slow roasted chicken with a radicchio salad and a nice bottle of Oregon wine is one example.

Aim for a.m.: Gartland finds brunch a savory holiday option. “I have a one-year old. That is one of the reasons it is nice to do brunch with family and friends.” Eggs Lyonnaise are a favorite with coffee cake and lots of freshly ground coffee.

Getting inspired? Get cooking!

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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