Curried Turnips and Kale

Curried Turnips and Kale

I put a cast iron skillet on the stove at a low medium (4 out of 10) heat and put about 1/4 cup of sauteed celery and onion mix in the pan to thaw. (When I got 10 heads of celery from Harvest Share, I sauteed half of them with onions and made the other half into mirepoix and froze them in freezer bags, so I just pulled out a bag, whacked it against the counter a few times, and dumped 1/2 cup of it in the pan.

While the onions and celery thawed in the pan, I peeled a turnip and cut into chunks a little less than an inch square. I added some salt and pepper and let cook for about 4 minutes. Coming back to stir it a bit, I added 1 TBSP of rice vinegar and 1 tsp of curry powder. I stirred a few minutes longer before adding 1/2 cup of fresh kale. I put the lid on and let it cook for a few more minutes, removing when the turnips were tender.

You don’t really taste the vinegar, but there is a lightness to it that comes from that bit of acid. The curry adds a nice bit of heat and the turnips are such a bright, sharp flavor that balances well with the earthy kale.

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Earl Grey’s Roast Pork with Root Vegetables

Roast Pork with Earl Grey Crust and Roasted Vegetables

Winco had roast pork for $1.66 per pound, so it seemed like a good time for pork roast. While trying to decide what to serve with it, I came across a recipe for Earl Grey-Crusted Pork Loin with Fennel and Apples. I didn’t have a pork tenderloin and wanted to use some dried cherries, not fresh apples. I like raw apples better than roasted ones, but I thought the recipe gave me something to work with.

I preheated the oven to 450°. I cut one small yellow onion in slices and lined the bottom of my paella pan which doubles as a roaster for me. I cut the tops off four Earl Grey tea bags and poured them out onto my cutting board. I added 1 tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper and mixed them together and then I rolled my pork roast in it. It was a three pound roast and was completely coated by the tea, salt and pepper blend. I have never seen anything stick so completely or so well as this tea, it was much easier than doing a pepper coating.

I stuck the roast in the oven and let it cook at 450 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I peeled and cut 1 yam, 1 turnip and 2 red potatoes into chunks about 1 inch square or so.

Now it was time to take the roast out and add the vegetables. I added  1 TBSP of olive oil to a small bowl, added some salt and pepper and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Then a handful at a time, I tossed the root vegetables in the oil to coat them and then spooned them into the pan around the roast. I added a handful of dried cherries at the end, putting them into the oil, salt and pepper first as well.

I put the roast back in the oven at 350° for 40 minutes. I checked the temp and it was 140° which is what I wanted. I removed the roast to rest for 15 minutes and put the veggies back in to finish cooking. I turned it up to broil for the last 5 minutes just to get a nice dark brown crispiness on a few of them.

The vegetables were magnificent as roast vegetables always are. The juice from the onions and the pork blended with the dried cherries for a delicious liquid that the vegetables drank up. The real revelation, though, was the pork. The Earl Grey’s sweet and tart bergamot flavor permeated the meat, but with delicacy so it was not overwhelming at all. it was extraordinary, so delicious and so fragrant. I will definitely make this again. After all, it turned a $1.66 per pound cheap roast into something fit for fine dining.

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Turnip and Pineapple Salad

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This is a simple, but tasty, salad that only gets better the next day.

Peel one turnip and dice into small rectangles or squares. Chop 1/4 of a Spanish onion. Chop up 1 cup of pineapple chunks and chop about 3 TBS of fresh parsley. Mix together with a bit of salt and 1 tsp of cayenne and let settle so the pineapple juice marry the ingredients together.

The cayenne blends perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapple and its acid is a good counterpoint to the earthy turnip. The onion brightens the flavor and the parsley adds color and freshness.

This makes 2 servings or 4 small servings the size of the one in the picture.

Sauéed Turnips, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts and Apple with Anise Seed

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I put some olive oil in a skillet and heated it with some peppercorns and anise seed until it was perfuming the air.

Then I added chopped onions (1/2 an onion) and one minced serrano chile and sautéed.

I cut up one small parsnip and 2 carrots into thumbnail chunks and added, with a bit of salt and pepper, and cooked until nearly done. Then near the end, I added about 6 brussels spouts that I had cut in half and an apple I cut into chunks and tossed them in to cook until tender. Tossed a bit of rice vinegar on to finish. Salt and pepper. This made two large servings.

This was the most delicious vegetable sauté I can remember. It was earthy and warm, piquant with the vinegar and parsnips. The brussels sprouts gave it a lovely earthiness and the chile gave it some heat. The sweetness of the carrots and apple added another flavor note.

I served it with a pork loin, but it is a vegan dish that you can serve with anything.

Rutubaga Soup

Rutubaga Root Vegetable Soup

This may have the most intense flavor per spoonful of anything I have ever made. The flavor is so rich and intense that it is amazingly filling and satisfying. I know I will make this again and again. I was inspired to make it by the fact that I had four rutabagas in the crisper that were losing their crispness. I knew I had to make something and they were no longer crisp enough for great salads, so I decided to make a soup. I looked online for some soup recipes, but most called for cream and I almost never have milk or cream. I was pretty sure I could come up with a non-dairy version that would be pretty good.

To start I sautéed a medium sized yellow onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil with some salt and pepper. I added 1 full inch of fresh ginger (about 1.5 tbsp) and 2 tsp of cardamom. I let sauté until they onions were tender and a soft golden yellow. Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped up 4 rutabaga and 2 turnips into about 1 inch cubes. The turnips were the adorable little small, round ones, not the big ones. I thought they might add a bit of pungent brightness to the soup. When they were all cut up, I tossed them in the pot and added salt and pepper.

I then added 24 oz of broth. I used chicken broth I had made from some roast chicken and froze. You could use a mushroom or vegetable broth for a vegan alternative. The point is to enrich the vegetables with flavor from the broth – but the particular broth flavor is less critical.

While they cooked, I peeled and cubed two tart apples. I happened  to use 2 Fiji and 2 Granny Smith, but so long as they are tart apples and not sweet ones like HoneyCrisp or bland ones like Delicious, the particular strain is not important.

When the rutabagas and turnips were tender, I added the apples with some salt and pepper. I then juiced two fresh lemons. I added the lemon juice and 1.5 tsp of cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. I am sure you note that I am adding salt and pepper over and over and over. This does not make an over-salted dish, because I season to taste at each stage – and adding with each new stage of cooking, the flavor actually becomes rich with less salt and pepper.

Let it cool a bit and puree with an immersion blender. It will be creamy and smooth and delicious.

The brightness of the lemon, the little bit of cayenne and the earthy richness of the root vegetable and the delicious aromatic cardamom combine into an intense and delicious flavor that is hard to describe. It’s has a tiny bit of heat, but it’s not spicy. It has a bit of zing, but it’s not sour. It’s just sublime.

This made 2 quarts of soup – enough for several more than a single serving. It can easily be made vegan and will be just as good.

Turnip Slaw with Leeks & Grapefruit

Turnip Slaw

I am running low on fresh vegetables and fruits and it’s about time to go grocery shopping. Sometimes that is when I come up with my most original concoctions. Thankfully, they work more often than not. This one not only worked flavor-wise, but I think it also makes a beautiful salad.

I peeled and shredded one raw turnip for slaw. I had half a leek, the green leafy end which I sliced in narrow pieces and broke apart, mixing in with the turnip slaw. Using a sharp knife, I supremed a grapefruit (cut off the peeling and segment, removing all skin and pith.) I cut the segments into thirds and mixed them in. I add about 1 TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper. It was a little too sweet, so I added the juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon and a dash more pepper and it was perfect.

The turnips have a mellow sweetness, the leeks are always a mellower, softer onion flavor. The grapefuit is bright and sweet and tart and the salt and pepper just bring out the flavors. The olive oil melds them altogether and that little bit of lemon juice is just a perfect bit of sharpness. It’s a burst of juicy flavor and so very pretty.  Makes one large serving for dinner, or two side salads.

 

 

Rosemary Vegetable Medley

Tenderloin

You will get several meals from this prep, but you can roast them one meal at a time and store the prepped veggies in a container in your fridge. The trick is to cut everything pretty close to the same size.  For this batch I peeled and cut to 3/4 inch cubes the following vegetables. Not all are root vegetables, but they work well with the root vegetables. I would have included carrots, but served carrot soup with this meal and did not want to add more carrots to the meal.

  • 2 small turnips. New seasons had a new varietal that was uncommonly small. 
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 yams
  • 8 fingerling potatoes
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 small pumpkin

Generally the goal was to get about equal portions of each vegetable. I then took a whole garlic and peeled and separated all the clover and tossed them in as well. I sprinkle with about 2 TBSP of kosher salt more or less and 2-3 TBSP of olive oil and a spring of rosemary, removing all the leaves and chopping into 1/4 long pieces. With my hands, I mixed all the salt, oil and rosemary into the veggies to make sure they were completely covered. I put in a plastic storage bowl and let marinate overnight. I laid a few servings down as the bed for my roast and let cook at 300° while the roast cooked. After removing the roast, I increased the oven to 450° and let cook until the vegetables began to caramelize.

This makes about 12 servings of vegetables, so I only roast one serving at a time. To roast them without the meat, just spread in a pan and roast at 450° for about 20 minutes. You can also boil and mash for a lush puree.