A little love for the rutabaga

 

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There are a lot of recipes out there to try. Most of the time, I’m thrilled that I can type ingredients into a search box–almost any combination of ingredients–and come up with a recipe that someone has made. Chili, butternut squash, and lime? Here’s your recipe. Thyme, carrots, and lemon? The web pulls up a bajillion options.

With all of this food creativity at my fingertips, it’s not often that something gets made more than once. If it does, it has to be mighty tasty AND have ingredients I’m likely to have around. I have a well-stocked pantry, but there are limits to what I’ll add to it (mainly because it’s full…). One recipe that is on the yearly rotation, in mass quantities when tomatoes are ripe, is a simple Tomato Mozzarella Pie (par-baked pie crust, a bed of mozzarella, a sprinkling of fresh slivered basil, a layer of thickly cut tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil. Bake at 400 for 35 minutes, let cool for 15). By July, I’m dreaming of it.  Another is Spaghetti Squash Carbonara–or it will be a yearly thing, now that I know about it. I’ve already made it twice, and it’s on deck for our dinner Sunday night.

Recipes that use vegetables I’ve grown are a huge plus, obviously, so I’m always looking for new things to do with root vegetables other than simply roasting them. Last year, Eating Well had a goat cheese and rutabaga puree in one of it’s holiday issues. I made it–Thanksgiving, I think–and really liked it. I liked it so much that fast-forward to today and my last two pounds of rutabagas, I remembered it. We had it with roasted chicken and this recipe for dinner.

The rutabaga doesn’t get a lot of love. It looks complicated to break down, it has a pungent smell–it’s kind of horseradishy-cabbagey to me, though I don’t know if that’s how others read it, and it’s not the blank slate of a potato. The breaking-it-down issue is easily dealt with: cut the long root off at the base of the bulb, cut the stem off where it starts to spread out at the top of the bulb, and peel it. I use a regular peeler, but a Y-shaped peeler also works. Cut it up (use a sharp knife and lay a flat end on the cutting board to keep it stable–it’s harder than a potato) according to your recipe and you’re ready for good eating. A cooked rutabaga is mild, with buttery, cabbagey, earthy tastes. Roast it, boil it, mash it, cook it low-and-slow in a stew, but make sure you give it a shot. If you like all the other flavors included, I recommend starting with this recipe.

This is where I got the picture:https://klamathlakefoodexplorer.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/rutabaga-goes-to-aerie-acre/  Oddly enough, even with all of my veggie pics, I don’t have one of my rutabagas. I’ll have to fix that next fall.

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