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Like a lot of people, especially people who live in places with four seasons, I crave different foods depending on the weather. Typically, when it gets cooler in September, I want comforting foods: mac and cheese, baked chicken, fall vegetables, etc. As the weather turns even cooler, Thanksgiving approaches and all the traditional favorites come to mind…and to belly. By New Year, I have had about enough turkey, ham, stuffing and rich dishes. I am not the type to make promises about diet on the first of January either. Fortunately for me, this isn’t a health concern and I try to eat well year-round. Besides, it is still plenty cold where I live and I want good, warm food.

After January’s new year optimism has waned, I realize that there is still a lot of winter to get through. Particularly February which tends to be the snowiest month around here. The days are grey and cold and windy and sometimes wet. If I can’t get to a warm, tropical locale, then I need those flavors in my mouth. So, come mid-February, I find myself wanting Asian foods, East Indian foods, Caribbean spice…something that taste like sunshine.

The last couple of weeks have been Thai inspired seafood dishes. There was a lovely Thai soup that was steeped with lemongrass http://www.blueapron.com/recipes/thai-shrimp-soup-with-coconut-lemongrass-red-curry/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-organic&utm_campaign=thisweek&cvosrc=social-organic.facebook.thisweek . Oh my, was that delicious. There was a southern inspired shrimp and grits recipe…made with pureed cauliflower instead of grits! That meal blew my mind http://www.tessemaes.com/blogs/blog/16398009-chesapeake-shrimp-bacon-grits . I’m going to make that again with the abundance of cauliflower available in the markets. Patak makes some especially good simmer sauces. I like these with lamb, chicken or seafood http://www.pataksusa.com/products . Paired with some naan from Trader Joe’s http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/1583  and some steamed vegetable and jasmine rice…yum. Yesterday I made some homemade pork dumplings that we ate as a late night snack while watching TV. Quality ground pork and intense flavors of ginger and garlic, made these nuggets of goodness worth the effort. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/traditional-pork-and-ginger-dumplings.html

On tap will be a beef and broccli stir fry for tonight. Warm, beefy, comforting, with plenty of vegetables, so we don’t feel guilty about enjoying it so much. (Though food guilt is not a serious issue for me.) The bonus is that there are still dumpling fixings left, so we can have an accompaying starter before the main course. Now if only I had some sake.

Anyway, spring is just around the corner. I like the spring vegetables and the young meats that appear (like lamb and duck). But for now, I’m going to enjoy the literal spice of life and blanket my winter blues with savory goodness.