Hot Foods For Cold Months

The dim days of late winter are easier to survive when you have nourishment—and excitement. To help in the food and thrills department, we asked renowned national chefs to share with Delicious Living readers just what foodstuffs make their hearts—and those of their patrons—go aflutter.

Queensland squash, says Leslie McEachern, owner and manager of Angelica Kitchen in New York City, is "earthy, creamy, almost sweet." The shell is hard to cut through, but worth the effort. Slice into crescent moons, she suggests, and roast with garlic and olive oil.

Nonendangered fish like mahi mahi, halibut and salmon are seafood selections that satisfy body, soul and conscience, according to John Paul Damato, buyer and event chef at Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C. For more information on sustainable seafood, check out the Marine Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit organization created by the World Wildlife Fund, at www.msc.org.

Chicory, more varieties than he's ever seen before, is what thrills Russ Moore, café chef at Chez Panisse in San Francisco. The tender inner leaves are great in salads; even tastier are the outer leaves sautéed in olive oil and salt.

Whole-milk yogurt, richer, creamier and much more satisfying than the low-fat version, is cookbook writer Mollie Katzen's current flame. She tosses it on pancakes and waffles to make the morning meal "more than a quick carbo burst." The fat factor? To compensate, have a smaller portion. "I'd rather have half as much whole-milk yogurt than a full serving of the lower-fat kind," she says.

Peruvian Blues and other oddly colored potatoes are extolled by Annie Somerville, executive chef at Greens on the San Francisco Bay. That includes All Blue and the pinkish Huckleberry—both of which do well roasted, stewed or tossed with vinaigrette in a salad.