PICTURE: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
Cooking in winter demands patience. The required patience is also why I love being in my kitchen this time of year: I get to really cook. Whereas in summer I can just slice a tomato and sprinkle it with salt, maybe throw a fresh ear of corn in some hot water and call it a day, winter kitchens demand more. 

Responding to this demand means rolling up our sleeves and being resourceful and creative. We get to turn hearty ingredients into comforting meals, to fog our kitchen windows with steam from our pots and get to gather the people we love around our tables.

Steamed Turnips With Miso and Butter (Serves 4)

This is a slightly more refined, flavourful version of an old standby - turnips mashed with butter.  The recipe calls for small Japanese turnips because they don't need peeling. But if you can't find them, peel regular turnips and then cut them into bite-size pieces.

  • 450g small Japanese turnips, greens trimmed 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white miso
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the turnips in a steamer basket set over a pot with several inches of bubbling water (medium heat). 
  2. Cover and steam until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the butter and miso in a mixing bowl. 
  4. Add the steamed turnips to the bowl while they're hot and toss well to coat; the hot vegetables will help the butter melt. Season lightly with pepper and serve right away.