Monday, January 25, 2010

Produce of the Week: Turnips!

I've decided to begin a new trend on my blog, that will add structure, continuity, and something deliciously seasonal to look forward to every week or other week - we'll see. Each Monday (give or take a few days), I hope to post on a different exciting fruit, veggie, or herb that is in season - at least in the PNW. Because I know it is hard to try something new if you don't know what to do with it, or were scarred as a young'un by a poorly prepared version, I will include some of my favorite delectable recipes for the star of the week.

Today, I decided to take on the often, and unfairly, despised turnip. This root vegetable that hails from the same family (and genus) as cabbage, broccoli, and bok choi, has roots (haha) in the human diet back well into Ancient Greece! These root veggies come in all colors and sizes, including golden and the well-known purple-topped. While the root itself isn't particularly outstanding in nutritional value, its leaves are edible, delicious, and have ample vitamins and minerals! That still doesn't stop me from enjoying the smooth, rich, and slightly bitter flavor of the little (and they are definitely MUCH better when small) roots.

Simple Braised Turnips (Source: Local Bounty)
1/3 cup Marsala wine or veggie stock
1/3 cup water
2-3 tbsp chopped chives
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 lb turnips, trimmed and chopped.

1. Combine wine, water, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then add the turnips.
2. Cover and cook on medium-low for 20 or so minutes, until turnips are meltingly soft.
3. Serve warm. Might try a honey or shoyu glaze to go over!

Turnip (or Rutabaga) Puree (Source: Veganomicon)
2 1/2 lbs turnips, chunked
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Simmer turnips covered in water in a medium saucepan, with lid on, for 20 minutes after water comes to a boil.
2. Drain. Food process or blend with remaining ingredients. Mmmm.

Others:
* Cube. Toss with oil and salt. Roast until tender at 400 f
* Add the braised, roasted, or glazed turnips to barley or brown rice

If you are hoping to plant some turnips for next year's winter bounty, be prepared to do so in late June through the summer for a fall harvest. More Info: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/pnw/pnw548/

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