Turnips, Three Ways

Tonight it was time to tackle the turnips. I still had the white “Tokyo” turnips from Week 4 and the “Red Scarlet” turnips from Week 6.

I was especially curious about the unusual red scarlet turnips, although I’m pretty unfamiliar with turnips in general. I googled about and checked out turnip recipes, and ended up with a kind of turnip souffle, which was basically mashed turnips mixed with roux, soymilk, a little sugar, and egg yolks, with beaten egg whites folded in. I left the skins on the turnips, so my (unfortunately not very photogenic) souffle/cassrole thingie ended up with lovely little pink flecks as well as an allover rosy glow. The flavor was light, savory, eggy, and a little sweet from the turnips.

Turnip Souffle

I also wanted to see what the turnips were like roasted, since roasted roots in the form of beets, parsnips, and carrots are already one of my staple foods. I ended up making a kind of “refrigerator roast,” roasting an unlikely combination of everything in my fridge that looked remotely roastable. I put together a concoction of scarlet turnips, white turnips, carrots, onion, garlic, broccoli, and a green apple I found abandoned at the back of the middle shelf, all seasoned with some of the sage left over from the Quinoa Butternut Pie. I followed Deborah Madison’s instructions for roasting turnips from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which is usually my veggie prep bible. In this instance, though, Debbie let me down. She had me boil the turnips for 3 minutes before roasting, and they ended up more soggy than delightfully caramelized. (Probably because my turnips were much smaller and more tender than the typical huge lavender-tipped turnip of the traditional root cellar.) They were lovely to look at, though, and quite tasty to eat in any case.

Refrigerator Roast

The more discerning reader may notice I seem to be drawing to a close on this post, here. “What’s the third way?,” you may be asking yourself. Why, raw, of course! My CSA newsletter explained that the scarlet turnips were “Japanese salad turnips.” Unsure if this was a merely honorary title, I was curious to try them raw. I found them spicy and peppery, and a bit solid for straight raw consumption. They’d make fantastic pickles, though: I’m already plotting Turnips, Way Number Four…

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Apples At Last

My mom is a master of kitchen magic. On nights when I would look into the fridge and pantry and see a barren wasteland, incapable of supporting human life, she would look and see… dinner. One of the meals she would make appear seemingly from nowhere was Cottage Cheese Pancakes. This simple dish was a favorite in part because I loved to beat the egg whites until they stood up in fluffy peaks, and in part because it tastes really, really good.

I don’t really eat cottage cheese anymore, but I had bought some for my mom’s visit last weekend so today I had some in the fridge. Cottage cheese pancakes definitely seemed in order. Our family’s traditional accompaniment is applesauce or jam, so I decided to finally turn my overflowing paper sack (containing many boxes’ worth) of Rome Beauty apples into applesauce.

This was an amazing process. I left the gorgeous burgundy skins on slightly fewer than half the apples, and I watched with awe as my applesauce became rosier and rosier, finally ending up an almost fuchsia color. Sadly it doesn’t actually taste that stellar – better than store-bought, of course, but less robust than your typical homemade applesauce. Still, with color like this, this applesauce can get away with a lot, as far as I’m concerned – if I have to doctor it with some sugar or lemon or ginger, it’s worth it. And I’ve been snacking away on it as-is quite happily all day, so while Rome Beauties may not be the perfect saucin’ fruit, they surely do the trick anyhow.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Rome Beauty Pink Applesauce

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (originally from the Tassajara Bread Book)

6 eggs
6 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
2 cups cottage cheese (nonfat for a very light, fluffy pancake, low/whole fat for a meltier, cheesier pancake)

Separate eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside. Mix yolks with flour, salt, and cottage cheese. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk-flour-cheese mixture. Fry like regular pancakes on a greased pan. Makes about 24 small pancakes. Serve topped with applesauce or jam, or just enjoy plain.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Rome Beauty Pink Applesauce

Carrots and Carrots and Carrots

I finally made good use of my serious stockpile of carrots. This afternoon I cooked up a delicious carrot soup that, in addition to two bunches of carrots, used a bunch of leeks and an onion as well as the carrot tops and trimmings in the stock I made for the soup. It’s so interesting to me that I can stare for weeks at an uninspiring collection of carrots getting progressively floppier in my fridge, but I’ve probably eaten at least a full bunch today alone in soup form.

Carrot Soup and Persimmon Arugula Salad with Walnut Oil

I think I’ve cracked the Salad Code, as well, although I don’t want to get too cocky just yet. I bought a deep, pleasing wooden salad bowl the other day, with these great bamboo hand-shaped salad servers. They are kind of like these, only shaped even better to make them super fun to use tossing the salad about.

So those go along way towards making salad time more fun. I was fretting about making a salad today, even though it was clearly the perfect accompaniment to my carrot soup, because I’m out of olive oil. And that is when, necessity ever being the mother of invention, I rediscovered a magical, secret ingredient I haven’t used in a long, long time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Toasted Walnut Grapeseed Oil. It’s so sweet, so incredibly flavored I can’t even describe the taste but my mouth is watering remembering it and I’m kinda wondering what would happen if I tried wearing it as perfume. I mixed the lovely pink leftover vinegar-sesame seed liquid from the radish salad with a touch of the walnut oil, threw together some lettuce, arugula, and a nice ripe persimmon, and voila! Salad I went back for seconds on!

Because I had a request for it, the carrot soup recipe is behind this cut… Continue reading

Spinach, Radish, Mandarin

Spinach and Pumpkin Seed Pesto Omelette with Radish Salad and Mandarin Orange

What a breakfast!

Today I sauteed the entire bag of “crocodile” spinach with some garlic and olive oil. Then I tucked that inside an omelette (made from my CSA eggs, of course) with some leftover pumpkin-seed pesto. It was completely luxurious – my omelette browned and fluffy and full of iron and other good-for-me stuff.

And check out that radish salad! How gorgeous is that? I made it from a recipe that came in the CSA newsletter. I think the black sesame seeds (which I subbed for regular sesame seeds) are an especially nice touch with the red and white of the radishes. And there was this one radish that was white on the outside with red stripes inside. Food this lovely is why I subscribed to a CSA.

The recipe for the radishes was basically a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, some sugar, some salt, and some black sesame seeds, poured over two bunches of thinly sliced radishes which were marinated overnight. Then the liquid was drained off (I saved mine for future salad dressing) and a tablespoon of sesame oil was added. Toss, chill, serve. The radishes are not bitter at all – they are quite tender and sweet from their time stewing in the vinegar. A perfect, if unusual, breakfast side.

Scarlet Turnips and Mandarin Oranges: Week of November 14

Rather than type up the amount of each thing that came in this week’s box (full of treats!), I thought I’d convey it visually instead:

Contents of My Box

Here’s what I got to add to my already brimming fridge. There is some great variety here – little overlap with what I have left (just the carrots) and no lettuce! I have to say I am pretty darn excited and everything looks gorgeous.

Crocodile Spinach (that’s it there in the back half of the bowl)
Napa Cabbage
Rome Beauty Apples
Red Scarlet Turnips
Stir Fry Mix (this is in the front half of the bowl – it has baby red chard, some baby tatsoi or bok choy or something, and other young greens)
Oh, and there being so decorative at the fore of the photo is my lemon verbena wreath that I was so proud of making from my first ever box.

I was thinking tonight about my box, and about what it has been like these past weeks to have my produce picked out for me. I am pretty particular – one reason I never buy produce at Trader Joe’s (besides the horrific waste of packaging) is that they have chosen your fruit or avocados or whatever for you and encased them in plastic – you can’t stroke or sniff or otherwise check out the goods before choosing them. But everything that has arrived in my CSA box has been so fresh, so beautiful, so peak, that I haven’t once felt anxious that someone else is making the selection of which actual piece of fruit or bunch of greens I get. I realize this may get dicier in other seasons, where we’ll be dealing with things like tomatoes and summer fruits that need to be perfectly, exactingly ripe, but so far I give high kudos to the quality Eatwell has provided.