Seasonal Cooking

Does seasonal cooking have any meaning in a time when you can procure almost everything at any time?   I believe that it does.  Stroudsburg, PA is geographically located in an area that experiences the seasons which means that people still want fresh corn in the summer and cranberries at Christmas.  Nothing is more frustrating than going to a restaurant that serves brussels sprouts or butternut squash in June.  I mean, that just doesn’t seem right, does it? 

Take Pumpkin Spice lattes from Starbucks.  Why are they so popular?  Not only are they delicious but they are only available for a limited time.  Smart marketing?  Only partially.  Cooking with local, seasonal ingredients is something many of us aspire to do as often as we can. And it makes sense since seasonal cooking is such a nice way to celebrate where you live and understand the seasons, meet your farmers at the market, and eat a wider range of fruits and vegetables. 

Cooking “in season” is quite easy to do if you live in a warm climate where much of the food that we eat is grown.  We however would be hard pressed to find local strawberries in March.  While it may not appeal to our sensitivities,we do need to accept that much of our food comes from far away.  Instead of letting ourselves be bothered by this I suggest embracing that fact and making the most of it.  Acknowledge that it takes a lot of effort for our food supply to reach our door.  Let’snot be wasteful then, shall we?  Be mindful of how difficult it is to make salt, for instance, and pay attention that none spills on the floor. 

Back to PSL.  Pumpkins, it turns out, are very symbolic in American culture. They’re the oldest domesticated plant in the new world, and helped sustain colonists when the crops they brought from Europe failed. Later, when people moved into cities, pumpkins remained associated with that agrarian way of life in a nostalgic, almost romantic way. It’s the same today, when we purchase decorative gourds to give our entryways a rustic makeover for fall.  Of course, no one’s consciously seeking out that association when they order a latte. But that undeniable connection to home and hearth is so ingrained in our culture, it’s an intrinsic part of what people love about PSLs.

Another flavor that is gaining popularity is anything but new.  Maple is coming on strong in numerous food and drink categories.  Why not try it in this Fall Maple Veggie Grain Bowl?  A delicious and healthy way to celebrate the season. 

Maple Veggie grain bowl


  • Quinoa or Farro
  • Arugula or Kale
  • Butternut Squash, diced and roasted
  • Brussel Sprouts, halved and roasted
  • Dried Cranberries or Pomegranate Seeds
  • Goat cheese, crumbled or Cheddar, shredded
  • Almonds, toasted
  • Chicken, diced (optional)
  • Avocado, diced (optional)
  • Rosemary Maple Balsamic Dressing


  • Cook grain according to directions. Toss with Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper. Reserve.
  • Roast Veggies separately after tossing with Olive Oil & Mrs. D’s Seasoning. Reserve.
  • Gently toast almonds in a dry sauté pan until fragrant. Reserve.
  • Dressing: Combine 1 T Dijon Mustard, ¼ cup Maple Syrup, 1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar and 2 Cups Olive Oil. Whisk until incorporated.
  • Assembly: Toss Grain and Greens with enough dressing to coat. Top in sections with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries, Cheese and Almonds. Serve and Enjoy.