Nowadays is Groundhog Day, when a furry rodent meteorologist, Punxsutawney Phil, determines if an early spring or prolonged winter will ensue, depending on irrespective of whether or not he sees his shadow. It brings to intellect the film “Groundhog Working day,” in which comic Invoice Murray plays a weatherman who, even though covering the yearly emergence of the groundhog from its gap, receives caught in a blizzard that he did not forecast and finds himself trapped in a time warp, reliving the similar day about and above once more. It is a disturbingly apt description of February in northern New England throughout this pandemic, when operating from residence, interrupted school schedules and enforced isolation make just about every day feel the similar.

All the resolutions produced for the new year — to drop body weight, eat a healthier diet plan, workout much more — have previously wobbled and fallen by the wayside for us, I mirrored as I vacuumed the light movie of dust from the clanking workout machine using up undeserved area in a spare area. There has been some desultory converse of investing in a Pelleton-type bicycle, but by the time we decide to do it, the climate will possibly have warmed ample that we’ll get outdoors extra and forget about it.

Also in a dying spiral is our resolve to depart driving desserts and snacks the moment the holidays have been around. Who are we kidding listed here? Who could get via a pandemic winter with no the consolation of a cookie or two, or some chips and dips? Does anybody in the environment care correct now if we shed 10 or 20 pounds? I suspect not.

But we have located, amidst the wreckage of our resolutions, a several new practices that have been much easier to manage, particularly reducing back on salt and striving to make even convenience foodstuff lower in extra fat. While it is correct that most processed meals are loaded with salt, as well as preservatives — which include seemingly benign factors like bagels or a loaf of bread, canned vegetable soups, so-referred to as healthful vegetable juices and all manner of sausages and luncheon meats — if you ask any very good cook dinner or chef, they’ll confess that salt and butter are the two ingredients that make any recipe better, even household-cooked ones. We have lengthy utilised an herb/salt combination at the table and for cooking and, to even further slice back again on salt, uncovered a combine of 24 herbs and spices with no sodium at all to enliven an omelet or salad dressing. Even my go-to favored for seafood and chicken, Old Bay seasoning, receives its kick much more from spices and herbs than salt. I also blended collectively a shaker of cumin and smoked paprika, and it is come to be yet another favored to liven factors up. We’re even now having comforting stews and chowders and favorites like mac-n-cheese, but we have slice down on salt in favor of herbs, upped the amount of money of greens, and in typical attempted to lighten them up. I’ve also utilized my favorite pie crust substitute for kale- and greens-loaded quiches. As a substitute of a pie crust, just butter a pie plate or tart pan greatly and cover the bottom with about a cup of freshly grated breadcrumbs. Press them down firmly and then fill as normal. Have faith in me, you are going to in no way even observe the absence of a conventional rolled pie crust.

You just cannot live in Maine and not make chowder, whether it be fish or vegetable. We’ve been earning a blend of the two, introducing corn and carrots to the traditional fish, potatoes and onions, and applying a vegetable stock foundation with just a cup of milk additional in at the conclude, somewhat than the regular can of evaporated milk. Due to the fact we constantly have canned clams in the cupboard to make pasta with clam sauce, we toss a can into the chowder for excess flavor as effectively. With bread contemporary from the oven and a salad, it’s a great winter’s working day evening meal.

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2 Tbsp. butter
1 substantial onion, finely chopped
2 substantial stalks celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. Outdated Bay seasoning
2 huge carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups vegetable stock
1 10 oz. can clams, drained, juice reserved
1 cup corn, frozen or canned and drained
1 lb. contemporary fish fillet like cod or pollock
2 cups milk
grind or two of black pepper
In a big pot, soften butter. Include onions and celery, cooking until greens are translucent, about five minutes. Sprinkle flour and Previous Bay in excess of top and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Insert carrots, potatoes, vegetable stock and reserved clam juice. Convey to a boil, then include and cook dinner on minimal right up until potatoes and carrots are delicate, about 10 minutes. Mash some of the potatoes so they thicken the soup or mix a little bit with an immersion blender. Insert clams and corn and cook dinner one more 5 minutes. Lay fish fillets atop the veggies, insert the milk, and simmer just until finally fish is flaky. If you have the time, let chowder sit for an hour or so, then reheat ahead of serving.