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Turning to Turnips

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Turnips/Flickr Creative Commons/By michael.newman

Turnips/Flickr Creative Commons/By michael.newman

Maple-braised turnips with their greens

Maple-braised turnips with their greens

I just cannot get over how sweet these radish-sized Tokyo white turnips are, even just sliced and eaten raw. I picked up some of these beautiful orbs at Gathering Together Farm and would encourage you to do the same. Make sure they have fresh, crisp greens attached and cook them! Turnip greens are so tangy and flavorful. I adapted Ivy Manning‘s “Maple-Glazed Turnips and Carrots” recipe (see below) from The Farm to Table Cookbook, omitting the carrot and adding sliced green garlic, the greens, a sliced radish (oh so similar to a turnip) and a sliced potato or two. Given their high water content, turnips and radishes are so succulent to bite into when cooked. And remember those mountains of greens quickly wilts when cooked, losing much of their volume.

Why aren’t turnips well-loved? There was that song, “Everyone Hates Turnips, But Grown-Ups Always Eat Them…Kids Are Much Too Smart to Let a Vegetable Defeat Them,” in my 8th-grade play, How to Eat Like a Child. The problem is most turnips aren’t fresh and then are boiled to gray mush. Get yours young and use them quickly. They get that acrid flavor as they age, Ivy Manning says. With an abundance of fresh turnips here, I’m also eager to try Bryant Terry‘s recipe for “Roasted Turnips and Shallots With Turnip Greens Soup.” Stay tuned. And Terry also stresses to get your turnips young. Young! Just like you like your women or your baby micro-greens.

Maple-Glazed Turnips and Carrots

4 servings

12 ounces young turnips, 2 inches or less in diameter (and saute in the greens at the end)

1 large carrot, peeled

1/4 cup chicken stock or water

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon grade A or B maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Scrub and peel the turnips and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on their size. Slice the carrot at an angle into 1/2-inch-thick-pieces.

2. Put the vegetables and stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until the turnips are barely tender, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the butter and maple syrup. Stir to coat the vegetables and continue to cook uncovered until the vegetables are glazed and beginning to caramelize around the edges, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

From The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning

Written by baltimoregon

April 21, 2009 at 12:13 am

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On Becoming a Food Writer

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Well, I hope I’m finally hitting my stride as a food writer with The Oregonian publishing my Slow Food piece and MIX magazine “Eat Here: Newport” review in the past week. Still, as a freelancer, there’s always the fear that editor’s budgets are drying up (and they are).

The Slow Food piece was timely with Alice Waters’ much-debated appearance on 60 Minutes last week. I believe her defense of the universal right to pleasurable food is genuine, but somehow she’s no longer the best standard bearer for mainstreaming the local food movement. Chez Panisse feels out of touch with reality, not too mention charges prices unaffordable to most Americans. New figures such as eco-chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry seem a better bridge to bring good food to underserved communities now. I’ll blog about my radio interview with Terry in another post. For African-Americans, he stresses, it’s about returning to their agrarian roots, where backyard gardens and slow-cooked Sunday meals were de rigeur, before cheap industrialized food led folks astray. It’s not enough to plant gardens in urban ghettos, he says. You have to teach people to cook healthily with those ingredients. Rather than preaching, he feeds people, gaining his converts at the table. The power of a locally-grown peach or olive oil-sauteed collards that make you forget about ham hocks is what wins people over to his side.

Bryant Terry (By Sara Remington)

Bryant Terry (By Sara Remington)

Written by baltimoregon

March 21, 2009 at 1:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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