What's in season: Think root vegetables, and carrots are probably the first thing that comes to mind. But there's so much more below the surface. Generally available from late fall through the winter months, root vegetables — including parsnips, turnips and rutabagas — are perfect for a variety of cold-weather and holiday preparations. Unassuming at first, these vegetables have a surprising depth of flavor, earthy when older but often quite sweet when you find smaller, younger versions. Look for special varieties at your local market — we recently spotted Purple Top and Scarlet Queen red turnips, as well as Japanese turnips, a variety that is sweet even when served raw.
What to cook: Toss chopped root vegetables with a little oil and seasoning, perhaps some herbs and garlic, and roast for a no-frills side. Grate them for a variation on latkes, or thinly slice them to use in a rich gratin. Use the vegetables to lend depth to a slow-cooked stew, or purée them in a soup, finishing with cream and a touch of spice.
What's on the horizon: Deep green heads of broccoli and varieties of cauliflower — including Romanesco, known for its spiraling pointed cones — are coming into season, as are more varieties of citrus, including tangelos and limes.