If you’ve ever been to Minnesota in winter, you know that nothing grows under two feet of snow. It can be a tough time of year … if you’re committed to eating locally. The obvious choice for the long winter is to revert to the Midwestern ethos of meat and potatoes (and casserole).  

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It’s true that steaks and braises and venison and fish make wonderful fuel in the winter. But vegetarians need not be left out in the cold. Last winter, I had hosted a dinner with a new restaurant in town where the ingredients were 100 percent local — and 100 percent vegetarian. It was difficult, but within the challenge came the great pleasure of surprising our guests at all you can do with root vegetables. Here is the menu:

  • Beet custard and beet tartar with sunflower shoots and sheep’s milk yogurt
  • Wild rice terrine with cranberry puree and red cabbage
  • Parsnip ravioli in a pumpkin broth with crispy brussel sprout leaves
  • Polenta with slow cooked pheasant egg and pickles
  • Farmdog Blue ice cream with delicata squash
  • Butternut empanada with apple sorbet

As you can imagine from such a feast, no one — not even die-hard meat eaters — went home hungry.

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