A Winter Survival Guide & Savory Galette with Spinach, Mushrooms & Manchego

If there’s one thing New Hampshire is good at; it’s winter.
Elkins_Beach_Winter_01I swear I almost ended up in Oz the other day. Walking by the beach at Elkins, the wind wasn’t just fierce. It was ferocious. After an unseasonably mild December, January is showing no mercy. Here are a few tips to make it through New Hampshire’s cold days and colder nights:

Dress like an onion. Inside or out, dress in layers. It’s winter so it’s okay to wear a couple of sweaters as well as a turtleneck and flannel shirt. Don’t forget the long johns or tights and wooly socks; you need to keep your bottom half warm too.

Wear a great hat. Your mom always warned that you lose something like ninety percent of your body heat through your head. She was only partially right. You lose body heat through any exposed parts so wearing a hat won’t keep you warm if you go out in shorts and a t-shirt. But, assuming you have no objection to bundling up, don’t forget your hat and gloves. Of course, any old hat will do but a great hat will make you the envy of the neighborhood.

Buy a heated mattress pad and top it with a fluffy duvet. I love, love, love my heated mattress pad. Turn it on a good ten to fifteen minutes before you hop in the sack. My oh my, you will immediately fall into a warm and cozy sleep.

Force bulbs or get a flowering plant. The trees are bare and the garden is under a foot of snow but you can still enjoy a few blooms. Paperwhites are my favorite but a Christmas cactus is fun. It looks a lot like something Dr. Seuss dreamed up. Hot or cold, a bit of humor is definitely a good thing.

Snuggle. Underneath that fluffy duvet, in front of the fire, on the chairlift … the possibilities are endless.

Stay active and get your heart pumping. If you can stand it, spend at least a little time each day outdoors. The fresh air will do you good. Try snowshoes or cross country skis, you won’t be cold for long if you are climbing up a hill.

Start a winter project. Finish it too. Do you have box after box of photographs that need sorting? Perhaps the guest room is long overdue for a new coat of paint. Or what about that story you keep promising to write? Whatever it is, tackle it now and keep at it until it’s done. You’ll be glad you did.

Enjoy the sun. Park a comfortable chair or a little work table in front of your sunniest window. Settle down for a good read or knit that great hat. It will be easier to sort through that mountain of photographs if you soaking up some sunshine.

Resist the urge to hibernate. It’s a good time to connect with old friends. Invite them to dinner or go snowshoeing together and then warm up with a nice cup of tea and a long chat. Start a movie club and make a point of seeing every one of this year’s Oscar nominated films. Make new friends by volunteering for a worthy cause or attending a workshop to kick-start that story that needs writing.

Stay warm and bon appétit!

Savory Galette with Spinach, Mushrooms & Manchego
Galette_Spinach_Mushrooms_Manchego_03A galette is a rustic tart. It can be sweet or savory, round or rectangular. Make a round one and cut in wedges for a cozy brunch or lunch. Roll out a rectangular galette and serve little squares with a glass of wine before dinner. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
About 2-3 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded Manchego cheese

Heat a little olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season with thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and, stirring frequently, cook for 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the pan and reserve.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add a little more oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.

Roll out the galette pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 11-12 inch round or 10×12-inch rectangle. Carefully transfer the pastry to the baking sheet. Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle about half of the Manchego cheese on the rolled-out dough. Spread the spinach, mushrooms and onion on top of the cheese and sprinkle with the remaining Manchego. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling, pleating the dough as necessary.

Bake the galette at 375 degrees until the filling is piping hot and the crust is nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before cutting into wedges or squares and serving.

Savory Pastry Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons sour cream
3 or more tablespoons ice water

Pulse the flour, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons ice water. Gradually add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. If necessary, add more ice water.

Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic or parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

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One Year Ago – Mac & Cheese with Roasted Broccoli & Sun-dried Tomatoes
Two Years Ago – Red Bean Chili with Pork & Butternut Squash
Three Years Ago – Piri Piri Prawns
Four Years Ago – French Lentil Soup
Five Years Ago – Spicy Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup
Six Years Ago – My Favorite Chili
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How do you survive winter? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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