Archive for November, 2010

Best Ever Roasted Turnip Thanksgiving Side Dish

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Well if you’re reading this, my shameless headline ploy must have worked. In a world of Thanksgiving dinner-in-a-cake, deep-fried turkeys and enough stuffing recipes to fill a thousand (free-range, please) turkeys, I was worried the lowly turnip might be overlooked.

Truthfully, we’re a little fed up with turnips here at the Foodie Tots house. Victims of an apparent turnip glut at our CSA farm, we’ve gotten gobs and gobs of these bland root vegetables week after week. Now, they’re not all bad. They have just one-third the calories of potatoes, and a generous dose of calcium, iron, vitamin C and even folate. (And be sure to eat the greens, too!) They also have that slightly bitter taste that gives them away should you try to pass them off as mashed potatoes. (Though a 75/25 potato/turnip blend might be more palatable.) I’ve found roasting these, with fresh thyme and a hint of honey, to be the best way to sweeten them up a little. Adding bright carrots and earthy mushrooms further helps balance the flavors, while making a simple and attractive side dish for Thanksgiving or just alongside your weekend roast.

Recipe: Honey-Thyme Roasted Turnips, Carrots and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sized turnips, scrubbed clean
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup thickly-sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop turnips and carrots into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss turnip and carrot pieces with 1/4 cup olive oil, making sure to evenly coat vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and pour into a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Tuck thyme in between the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes, until bottom sides are beginning to brown. Remove from oven, add honey and balsamic vinegar and stir. Sprinkle mushrooms across top, and drizzle with additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a little more sea salt, return to oven and roast an additional 20-25 minutes. Turnips should be easily pierced with a fork when it’s done. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

{Round out your meal with green beans almondine (instead of that goopy green bean casserole), homemade cider & maple-syrup sweetened cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (from a real pumpkin).}

Winter Farmers Markets: Looking for turnips? If your CSA’s not delivering (ours ended this week), you can still find turnips at local farmers markets. Many Northern Virginia markets closed for the season at the end of October, but the West End Alexandria market, in Ben Brenman Park (at Cameron Station), is open this Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9am-1pm. (Papa’s Orchard has a great selection of pears and apples for your Thanksgiving baking!) The Falls Church, Arlington/Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Del Ray and Old Town Alexandria markets are open year-round.

I know I’ve been slacking in sharing new meals with you, meatless and otherwise. Would a cute baby picture make it up to you? I mean, can you fault me for not writing with this cute tot around?

foodie bebe november

At Market: Broccoli!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Allow me to gloat briefly: my son’s favorite vegetable is broccoli. When I serve broccoli, he asks for seconds. When I told him the broccoli in our garden needed to grow a little bigger, he said, “But I really wanted to eat it tonight,” in such a sad voice that I snipped it and steamed it just for him.

how do you test broccoli for ripeness?

how do *you* test broccoli for ripeness?

Now before you resent me too much, let me assure you that there are plenty of green vegetables he won’t touch. Including anything leafy. (I blame myself, for telling him not to eat leaves at the playground when he was a toddler.) But as long as he loves broccoli, we’re eating it once or twice a week. And it’s in season right now at our local farmers markets, along with its cousin cauliflower, squash, Brussels sprouts, beets, apples, pears, those pesky leafy greens, and more root vegetables than you could ever find time to roast.

Did you know that broccoli lowers cholesterol, has high levels of vitamins A & K, and contains folic acid (good for pregnant and nursing mamas)? Ninety percent of the time I just steam broccoli and serve it with butter and sea salt. But if you’re looking to mix things up, or if your little ones aren’t quite as enthusiastic about broccoli, here are some other ideas from around the blogs.


Kid-Friendly Broccoli Recipes


Baked Explorations with Kids (and Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins)

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

We had a spell of grey, rainy weather when we returned from Florida, which made me want to hunker down in the kitchen and do some serious baking. It was perfect timing to receive a review copy of Baked Explorations, the newest cookbook from famed Brooklyn bakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Its gorgeous pictures and simple recipes for classic American treats with a modern spin had the whole family pouring over the pages trying to decide what we wanted to sample first. From black and white cookies to caramel apple cake, there doesn’t appear to be a lackluster recipe in the bunch. (Well, there is one weird one that calls for tomato soup, but we’ll let that one slide.) But the recipe that made my heart flutter was for Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins. The sidebar note extolling the virtues of Vermont raw milk cheddars didn’t hurt, but it was the combination of my two favorite foods, pumpkin and cheese, that led me to believe I’d met my breakfast soulmate.

Indeed, this muffin is a little bit savory, full of pumpkin flavor and the very essence of fall. If, like me, you like pumpkin-flavored fall treats that actually taste like pumpkin, not just overly-sweet cinnamon-spiced concoctions (ahem, Starbucks pumpkin spice latte), you’ll love these muffins. Especially if you use fresh roasted pumpkin puree. I made cinnamon-sugar roasted pumpkin seeds to use on top, and used extra sharp Cabot cheddar (from Vermont).

The only other change I made to the recipe was to use just 1 teaspoon black pepper instead of the 1 1/2 it called for. My pepper mill produces too coarse a grind and I was afraid of biting into a chunk of pepper. The muffins have a slight bite but not so much so that littler taste buds won’t still enjoy them. I did have to tell a little white lie to get the boy to eat them, however. He suddenly declared he didn’t like pumpkin, but asked what flavor the leaf-shaped muffins were. (I baked half the muffins in a pumpkin and leaf muffin pan I have.)  I said they were oak, and he declared, “I love oak! Oak is my favorite flavor!” before digging in. Sometimes food-phobias really can be overcome with a simple change of semantics.

Whatever you call these muffins in your home, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. And take a look at the rest of the book if you’re looking for some new sweet treats to bake with your kids on rainy days.

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

Source: Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, optional

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the pumpkin sees on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Serve them warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Review Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this cookbook. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are strictly those of myself and my family. Read my full review policy here.