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SD26’s Seasonal Menu will Help Beat the Winter Blues

SD26’s Seasonal Menu will Help Beat the Winter Blues

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SD26 in Manhattan has a seasonal menu that utilizes unique ingredients and surprising combinations successfully

SD26, the Italian eatery across from Madison Square Park, definitely makes winter a lot more bearable.

Their seasonal menu utilizes unique ingredients and surprising combinations successfully in dishes like pan roasted veal sweetbread with mustard zabaione and coffee oil, chestnut pappardelle with wild Scottish hare salmi, veal filled ravioli del plin in a capon broth, and housemade garganelli in a light fish velouté with chives and American caviar.

There’s also a special White Truffle menu that includes toma piemontese cheese fondue, organic fried egg with toasted hazelnuts, risotto with aged grana Padano, and veal scaloppine with butter and sage.

If you’d like to bring a crowd and partake in “sharsies,” their Sunday family dinner ($40 per adult; $20 children under 12) is for you. It features a choice of three appetizers and entrées like lasagna bolognese, red wine braised chicken, and a mélange of roasted and layered winter vegetables.

Of course, you can also rely on staples like the uovo in ravioli: a soft, egg yolk-filled ravioli with truffle butter. Or there’s the slow-roasted baby goat with rosemary roasted potatoes and braised artichokes.

Somehow, you have to leave room for dessert. We won’t ruin the mystery, but try the “Floating Island on Vanilla Sauce” or the “Nutella and Coconut Temptation.”

On the way out, ask if you can tour the downstairs prep kitchen — you might just get to meet Alfonso, the pizza chef from Naples, who’s so affable you’ll just want to pinch his flour-covered covered cheeks. Molto Bene.

Beat the winter blues

Image: iStock

Feel tired, tearful, or grumpy during the winter months? You’re not alone. While research suggests around 3% of people in the UK are diagnosed with full-blown seasonal affective disorder (SAD), there’s also a milder form, which is much more common and can result in low mood. Sub-syndromal SAD, or ‘winter blues’, affects 21% of the population in the UK, explaining why so many of us are left feeling down through the colder months. But what’s the science behind our low moods and what can we do to help ourselves feel better? We asked psychologist Lance Workman, co-author of Evolutionary Psychology: An Introduction, for some advice.

1. Give your skin some TLC

There’s no denying that your skin looks better in the summer, with its sun-kissed glow and fresh dewiness (thank you, humidity). There’s also no denying that as temperatures and humidity levels plummet, all that cold, dry air takes a toll on your complexion. That’s why fall is the perfect time to up your skin game. Reevaluate the ingredients in your skincare routine and get the pros involved. Talk to your dermatologist about the best topical ingredients to use, such as retinol and peptides. Talk to your doctor about giving your skin a boost from the inside out with a beauty supplement that contains ingredients like collagen, found in products such as NeoCell. After all, who doesn’t feel better when their skin looks good?

Stick to your routine.

The primary symptoms of seasonal depression can be fought, in part, by "doubling down on maintaining your usual routine," says Dr. Rudorfer, who cites a healthy diet, consistent sleep schedule, and habitual exercise as key priorities𠅊long with "engaging in activities you usually enjoy with family and friends, even if your first impulse is to decline invitations," he says. Set aside time to get outside as much as possible, too, even in the cold weather: "It is important to expose yourself to as much natural daylight as possible, ideally spending time outdoors every day," says Dr. Rudorfer. "The point is to work against the natural tendency of those with SAD to &aposhibernate&apos in a dark place for the winter."

Timing Is Also Everything

It's fashionable to urge people to eat half a dozen small meals a day, but this is an individual preference, Heller says.

"If you eat lunch at one o'clock and know you won't have dinner until eight o'clock, you may need a snack. If you eat junk food for lunch, by four o'clock you will be foraging for chocolate."

She urges people to try eliminating all white, starchy foods for two weeks -- bread, rice, potatoes. "You will be amazed at how good you feel," she says. "But you need to stick to it to see a difference."

Even as a nutritionist, she admits to having experienced the opposite. "I was going to visit my mother and bought a muffin for her and one for me," she says. "After I ate it, I felt like I had been drugged."

That's another thing about seasonal affective disorder -- the lows are lower. If you are already serotonin-challenged, what you eat will have a bigger impact than in summer.

Tastemakers Share Their Favorite Cocktail Recipes to Beat the Winter Blues

From warming whiskey cocktails to rum-laced libations with tropical flavors, these cocktail recipes are a must-have for your arsenal this season.

A warming winter cocktail is the perfect reward after a long week working from home, a busy day on the slopes, or preparing for and welcoming a loved one or two into your home. We've rounded up more than a dozen tastemaker cocktail recipes to help you beat the blues, warm up from the inside out, and make celebratory moments feel even more special this season. Whether you prefer a festive cocktail with bubbles, a warm beverage served in a mug, or an exotic libation that reminds you of a favorite tropical vacation, we have you covered. Just pull out your favorite fancy cocktail glasses, pick a playlist, lay out a few snazzy cocktail napkins, and get mixing!

"What is it about drinking a cocktail in a martini glass that makes us feel so glamorous&mdashlike Cary Grant and Grace Kelly?" Garten writes in her new cookbook, Modern Comfort Food.

While this cocktail recipe is perfect for a holiday gathering, it's just as ideal for sipping all winter long. Plus, we could all use the antioxidant boost from the pomegranates this time of year.

Get the recipe here.

Darlington is a wine and spirits expert, journalist, and author of seven books. His Royal Pimm's Cup recipe is featured in Booze and Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, a book about the best cocktail recipes to enjoy while you savor some of the best albums of the last 60 years.

"People probably think of the Pimm's Cup as a summer cocktail, but it is the ideal oyster pairing, and oysters are tastiest now when the ocean is at its coldest," says Darlington. "I like to play against the winter blues by mixing this vibrant Royal Pimm's Cup garnished with mint, cucumber, and citrus (also in season). A splash of dry sparkling wine makes it a 'royal' Pimm's Cup. It's a pick-me-up in a glass for cold, gray days."

André's Royal Pimm's Cup Recipe


3 ounces dry sparkling wine

Sprig of mint, for garnish

Combine Pimm's, cucumber, and orange in a high ball or Collins glass and gently muddle. Top with ice and sparkling wine. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

The Brooklyn-based tastemaker, author, and stylist jazzes up the classic old fashioned with seasonal citrus and a delightful honey-rosemary simple syrup that would make a thoughtful gift for your favorite cocktail connoisseurs.

Athena's Blood Orange Old Fashioned


For the Honey-Rosemary Simple Syrup:

For the cocktail:

1 ounce blood orange juice

2-3 dashes aromatic bitters

1 tablespoon Honey-Rosemary Simple Syrup

To make the simple syrup: Bring water, rosemary, and honey to a low boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

To make the cocktail: Place bourbon, blood orange juice, aromatic bitters, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, and shake to gently combine. Pour over ice cube into a classic whiskey glass.

Addison is the mastermind behind Assouline's award-winning cocktail book Cocktail Chameleon. The renowned designer, producer, and entertainer is an event expert, and his gorgeous cocktail recipes reflect his design prowess and hosting know-how.

"Should you come across some leftover rosé (or is that an oxymoron?), this is a clever way to carry summer forward into the colder months," writes Addison in Cocktail Chameleon. "Served warm, this spiced cocktail combines the wine with bourbon, orange juice, cranberries, and the wonderfully warming spices that keep winter at bay. Similar to mulled wine, where the mixture is warmed in a pot over the stove or in a slow cooker, you can simply set it to simmer on low and a few hours later enjoy a warming cup of Winter Rosé Sangria to take the chill off a cold winter&rsquos day."

Mark's Winter Rosé Sangria Recipe (serves 5)


1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

4 ounces apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

2 ounces fresh orange juice

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

5 cinnamon sticks and 5 orange wheels, for garnish

In the slow cooker, combine all ingredients (except for garnishes) and cook on high, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Transfer to a saucepan, and cook on low for 1 hour and stir more frequently. Lower heat to warm and hold until ready to serve. To serve, remove cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, and cloves, then garnish each serving.

How to Beat the Winter Blues

It’s the kind of dark-weather day in Oregon, where the clouds match the color of the mountains, which seem to flow seamlessly into the drab of the asphalt highways and concrete sidewalks. Everything a palette of gray.

This is the time of year too when folks—even those who grew up here and eschew even the mention of an umbrella on the rainiest days start stewing about the weather. It’s not the rain that is troublesome—not to me—and no it doesn’t rain here as often as you think. But the monochromatic tones and the shorter days, and longer nights. The darkness. Usually, by February, I’m over it.

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 3 people living in the Northern Hemisphere struggle with the “winter blues,” according to psychiatry researcher Brenda McMahon.

For some those blues are characterized as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which causes depressive episodes, carbohydrate cravings, issues with oversleeping and other symptoms that emerge during the darker winter months and can also affect people in the southern hemisphere during the changing seasons there.

On the lower end of the spectrum, is a condition called subsyndromal Sad that affects about 15 percent of people, who do not have clinical depression, but struggle with mood and behavior changes during the darker days. SAD-related symptoms can be treated through light therapy, antidepressants, and other methods.

The Winter Blues

Many of us, just feel blue some days. Slow. Bearlike. Not depressed, but tired and flat, and not too interested in things. Women are usually affected by these seasonal changes more than men, something that could be a result of our biology and evolution, according to professor Robert Levithan. The tendency to cocoon in the winter may have been a way for women to conserve energy for pregnancy and child-rearing.

These days there is little time to nest. Even now, if we are working from home, we are still working, and handling the house, and parenting, and assisting with remote school, and all this all feels heavy when you are already feeling blah.

But new research by Stanford Ph.D. candidate Kari Liebowitz has helped me rethink winter this year and that has made for a more positive experience.

Leibowitz surveyed people including those who live in one of the most austere landscapes on earth, North of the Arctic Circle. Even with months of 24-hour darkness each year, these people were happy. Celebrating and rejoicing the winter darkness, rather than dreading it.

Because of their mindset, how they chose to think about and celebrate the season, they experienced better moods and overall well-being all year long.

In the research, Leibowitz highlighted three key things that many Norwegians do regularly in the winter that create a positive and protective mindset that helps them get through. I’m tossing those into my daily routine more often and adding in an optimism exercise to help too.

Celebrate This Season

Get outside. On a chilly winter day, a friend and I bundled up, grabbed a bottle of wine, and sat on the deck (six feet apart) with a bonfire blazing. It felt like a grand adventure and like we were acknowledging the specialness of our friendship by creating a special time.

I’ve also been more deliberate about getting outside. I take the dog out every morning, and I pause to look at the moon or notice the fog settling over the hills, or the way the rain sparkles on the trees and in the deck lights. The experience of awe is a recognized mood booster, according to research by Dacher Keltner, and taking a moment to appreciate the beauty and marvels in nature—whether rainy or not—has helped uplift my mood and feel better about everything else. Nature has a way of doing that.

Appreciate the unique aspects that only this season can offer. I think appreciation makes everything better because when we pause to notice and appreciate the moments of our days, we begin to see them as special. We take savor the little things. Celebrate them.

What does that appreciation look like this winter? I appreciate the sound of the trees blowing in the wind, and I like the cracks of sun that spear through the dark clouds making rays that spread out across the sky in a vibrant graphic. I appreciate that the cold weather is driving us inside together. We cozy up to the fire in a family room draped with fairy lights, a stack of books sitting on the coffee table, fire blazing.

We are cast out during summer. To pools and golf courses. Campgrounds. The teen hanging with friends is rarely home. But these days, I'm cherishing the winter months where we are home together and we even resurrected our game nights, and movies snuggled in blankets by the fire.

Look forward to tomorrow. We've added in some new activities and a couple of rituals to keep us going during the stay-at-home orders, but this winter, those have given us some things to look forward to. Something to do. A change in the static routine. And, before I drop off to sleep, I take a minute to think about something I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

When we can do that, when we can identify even one thing we are looking forward to tomorrow we actually prime our brain to discover more things to be optimistic about, according to research. That helps us choose more adaptive behaviors that keep us from getting too blue.

I’m taking that in. Practicing that. Finding details of tomorrow that I am excited about and creating new ones if nothing piques my interest. What does that look like?

Simple stuff really. I’m taking a class on a topic I’ve always been interested in. Learning some new recipes for Asian dishes I love. We decided to turn tech off for a couple of hours late every afternoon. We put our phones down. Get off the computer, to create art or play games or work on a jigsaw. I usually read. It’s made the evening feel calm and cozy. All of us, yes, even the teen, have ended up enjoying this tech-free time.

Not Everything Is Awesome and That's OK

I am not, however, excited about getting up before the sun when the morning feels cold and dark. I get tired of wiping down a muddy dog, and the damp that makes my joints ache.

Choosing to find the perks of winter doesn’t mean ignoring the things I don’t like. Appreciating the birds that flock to the feeder this time of year doesn’t mean I love the influx of spiders that also, retreat to the corners of the back bedroom. It just means I curate where my focus lands. And this year, I’m more intentional about turning my attention to the beauty of the season, instead of its blackness.

And because of that, I’m feeling so much more grounded, settled, comfortable, and easy with it all. I view winter now as a coming together. A coming closer. A time to reflect, stay in, and turn inward to read and recharge. When I think of it that way—instead of something to “get through,” when I appreciate what it offers, what can only happen right now—during this time I find the days not nearly as dark.

Well, it seems to be the time of year when most of us are in full-on hibernation mode. We hunker down and begin to wait for the first few days of spring. For many, this quiet time is accompanied by a lack of motivation or a nasty case of the winter blues.

This year, I decided to get proactive and work with my stones to help me through what is normally a challenging time of year for me. I’ve been feeling happy, organized, productive, and energized – not to mention super motivated and having fun with my many energy healing projects. So, I wanted to share with you my list of crystals to use for the winter season with the hope that they’ll help you as they’ve been helping me.

The most commonly known crystal for treating something like the winter blues is Citrine.

This was always my go-to crystal for relieving Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), but through experimenting with different types of Citrine, I determined that Phantom Citrine is an amazing crystal ally for this purpose.

The Phantom Citrine crystals are especially good when you’re in times of transition in your life (like the beginning of a new year) or when you’re making plans to better yourself. These crystals can help you keep track of your personal growth – just like a phantom is the record of the growth of the crystal, these crystals can help you to keep a record of your self-growth. This makes them highly motivational tools because they can show you just how far you’ve come. When you’re feeling good about yourself and your accomplishments, it’s hard to let the winter blues stand in your way. However, citrine crystals with phantoms are kind of rare, but it is possible to find them. So, keep your eyes open they’re really great stones to have in your toolkit.

If you can’t find a Phantom Citrine crystal to work with, then another great stone for a winter pick-me-up is Sulfur.

It enhances your life-force energy, fortifying you for the winter months and energizing your physical body (keeping you from feeling sluggish). To energize yourself with Sulfur, hold a piece over your three lower chakras (Root, Sacral, and Solar Plexus) for approximately 2-3 minutes on each (beginning with the Root and moving upward). Sulfur also helps to pull warmth into the body, keeping you happy and healthy during the cold weather. It’s also great for motivation, so I love using it to help me tackle projects. I’ve had the best results with this when using my Sulfur in a crystal grid.

Flourless Chocolate-Date Cake with Salted-Caramel Sauce

For editor at large Shira Bocar and senior editor Lauryn Tyrell, it doesn&apost get better than this cake. It&aposs actually what lured Lauryn to the test kitchen in the first place. "This cake is the very first thing I tasted here, and it totally sold me on the job," she says. "I thought it was the most delicious thing I&aposd ever tasted in my life. I couldn&apost believe it was just out on the pass for anyone to sample."

What&aposs so great about it? For starters, "the texture is magnificent," says Shira. Flourless chocolate cakes often get a bad rap for being dry and crumbly, but not this version: "It&aposs dense like a torte but not too rich." Lauryn thinks the cake&aposs appeal lies in the fact that "there are all these different layers of flavor. It&aposs a real journey." Medjool dates are are plumped up with bourbon, then pur and added to the batter, amplifying the cake&aposs chocolatey flavor. The date paste is also added to the caramel for complexity, and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt ensures that the dessert doesn&apost veer too sweet.

The cake&aposs list of attributes doesn&apost end there: it can also be made ahead (the flavors only get more intense the next day) it freezes beautifully and it even travels well. Shira has been known to pack the cake, well-wrapped, in her suitcase and fly across the country (Pro tip: wait to make the date caramel at your destination). She also has a genius zero-proof substitution for the bourbon when baking the cake for kids: add two tablespoons of vanilla extract to the 2/3-cup measure and fill the rest of the cup with water.

If you have a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday, there&aposs a good chance the sun is already starting to set by the time you get off work in the winter. Without spending sufficient time in the sun, you can develop a vitamin D deficiency that can cause mood changes, tiredness, and muscle weakness or pain. Fix that during the winter months with a vitamin D supplement, which can provide your daily value of the nutrient through capsules, gummies, mouth sprays, or topical creams.

There&aposs nothing like a winter storm to make you want to curl up on the couch and not leave your home. But winter can become lonely if you start to go days without seeing anyone else. Get out of your winter rut by connecting with family and friends. A phone call, virtual happy hour, or handwritten note can go a long way.

3 Strategies to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do the short, gray days of winter leave you not feeling like your perky old self? It’s normal to experience a bout of the winter blues, but if you routinely feel sad for no reason, have trouble sleeping, and regularly spend your days lounging on the couch, eating comfort food and binge watching your favorite shows, you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder.

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SAD, also called seasonal depression, is a form of depression that generally happens in the late fall, when there is less natural sunlight and the days become shorter and colder. (Seasonal depression can also happen in the summer, but that is much less common.)

Women are more likely than men to experience SAD, and it’s more commonly seen in cloudy parts of the country or areas farther away from the equator.

  • Feelings of sadness or a serious mood shift when the seasons change.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Cravings for carbohydrates.
  • Overeating.
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, including loss of sexual interest.
  • Difficulty with sleep, either by sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia.

Here are three ways you can have a brighter mood and combat SAD this winter.

1. Try an exercise program

Most people naturally spend less time outside and, as a result, decrease their physical activity in the winter (because, brrr). But if you think you may have SAD, pushing yourself to exercise is a good way to combat it, says psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD.

“Moving your body will compete with that tendency to be sluggish and can produce good brain chemistry,” he says.

Look for indoor activities that you enjoy, such as yoga or running on a track or treadmill, or try winter activities like skiing or snowshoeing to make the most of the cold weather.

2. Create social situations

During the wintertime, the urge to hunker down and stay home can result in less social interaction, too.

If this sounds like you, Dr. Bea recommends that you try to push yourself to regularly connect with others. Often, once you make the effort, social interaction can lift your spirits.

The key is to get your attention and thoughts away from yourself, he says.

“Creating a new social obligation or inviting people into our homes can motivate us, because then there’s an obligation to entertain or to spruce up your house,” Dr. Bea notes. “Anything that forces your hand toward activity to being engaged outside of self-awareness would be useful for people with SAD.”

3. Use light therapy

Experts believe SAD is triggered by changes in our exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown that daily light therapy, which is sometimes called phototherapy, may help improve mood in 60 to 80% of people with SAD.

Light therapy is administered by a device that contains white fluorescent light tubes covered with a plastic screen that blocks ultraviolet rays. Light therapy boxes range in intensity, up to 10,000 lux of light. Many health professionals recommend treating SAD by sitting in front of 10,000 lux light for 30 minutes every morning, Dr. Bea says.

It’s generally safe and well-tolerated by most people, but those with certain conditions shouldn’t try it, he explains: “Light therapy is not appropriate for those with conditions such as diabetes or retinopathies or who are taking certain medicines, because of the potential risk of damage to the retina.”

Dr. Bea also recommends eating a well-balanced diet, which includes sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals.

“This will help you have more energy even though your body is craving those starchy foods and sweets,” he says.

If your depressed mood sticks around for more than two weeks, talk with your doctor. Medication or psychotherapy may also help.