Turnip Puff

Turnip Puff 14

There aren’t many vegetables that grow locally here in Newfoundland, and there are fewer still that you can easily obtain during the winter months.  One of the vegetables that you can get from a nearby source, however, is the turnip.  This is actually a rutabaga, but they call them turnips here so that’s what we’re gonna call it.  This was the smallest one I could find in the store, and it’s the size of my head (I don’t have a very large head, but I think a head-sized turnip is a pretty big turnip).

Turnip Puff 1

Normally we just boil them up and mash them (and then maybe bake them after that with some butter and sugar), but I’ve gotten kind of tired of that, so I searched online for a variation of that and found this nice little recipe.  You should give it a try, and give your lowly turnip/rutabaga a little boost.

Start with your turnip.  You’ll need about 3 cups peeled and cubed turnips for this recipe, but I just did my whole huge one, which I think ended up being about four cups.  Plop those in a big pot with enough water to cover.

Turnip Puff 2

Boil those up until they’re tender when you stab them with a fork, drain them, and then mash them with about a tablespoon of butter.  Mmm, butter … I don’t think I could live without butter.  It’s my favourite thing.  Set those aside to cool slightly.

Turnip Puff 6

While that’s cooling, preheat your oven to 375°F and spray a baking dish that will fit at least 3 cups turnip.  Mix together 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, a dash of ground pepper and another dash of ground nutmeg.

Turnip Puff 3

Take an egg and crack it in a little bowl and beat it up.

Turnip Puff 5

Beat the egg into the slightly cooled turnip (that’s why you cool it, so it doesn’t cook the egg).

Turnip Puff 7

Then stir in your flour mixture as well.

Turnip Puff 8

Plop all that into your baking dish and smooth it out.  Melt about 2 tablespoons butter and mix it with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs and sprinkle that over top.

Turnip Puff 9

Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until the top starts to brown and is heated through.

Turnip Puff 12

Serve it up with anything you like.

Turnip Puff 13

We used some of our leftovers as a thickener for a chicken hash we made later that week and it was delicious.


Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Here is yet another Martha Stewart soup and I think I like this the best of the three I’ve made recently.  I made all three over one weekend, so I got a chance to taste them all at the same time.  In this soup, the vegetables are roasted beforehand to bring out the flavour, and man oh man is it some flavour!

Preheat your oven to 425°F and position your oven racks so one is at the very top and one is at the very bottom.

On the bottom tray you’re going to have your eggplant and your chickpeas.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

On the top tray will be your tomatoes, carrots, and garlic.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Peel about 12 cloves garlic and peel and chop up about 1/2lb carrots.  This equaled 2 large carrots, for me.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Then you need to halve and core about 3lbs plum (Roma) tomatoes.  The recipe says that this is about 12 tomatoes, but I ended up with 18 to make that weight.  I found the tomato huller tool worked great for this.  It took out the top stem bit, and then after I halved them it was great at scooping out the innards.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Toss the tomatoes with the garlic and tomatoes and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Garnish liberally with fresh ground pepper and pinches of sea salt.  Spread them in a single layer (if you can) on a rimmed baking sheet with the cut sides of the tomatoes facing downwards.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Chop up 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2lb) into 3/4″ pieces.  Of course our grocery store never has the same kind of eggplant two days in a row, so I got 4 baby eggplants instead.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Rinse and drain 1 can of chickpeas.  Toss those in with the eggplant, together with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons curry powder.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Spread that out on a rimmed baking sheet as well.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Roast your vegetables, tomatoes on the top rack, eggplant on the bottom, for 45 minutes.  Toss your vegetables halfway through.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Now your tomato skins will be all lovely and wrinkly.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

You can just pick them off with a set of tongs.  Be careful not to burn yourself.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Once your tomatoes are peeled, dump the contents of the tomato tray (carrots, garlic, skinless tomatoes and juices) into a large saucepan.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Purée the tomato mixture and then add 3-4 cups water.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Stir in the eggplant mixture and bring the whole thing to a simmer.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Serve garnished with fresh cilantro and crusty bread.  You can also freeze this soup for later on down the road.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Quick and Dirty Veggie Sides

Let’s face it: unless you’re Martha Stewart (and if you are, hi Martha, how you doing?  I’m a BIG fan), you can’t whip up awesomeness in your kitchen with only the freshest ingredients every single night of the week.  So if you’re like me, you probably have a sizable collection of frozen vegetables in your freezer.  Fun fact for you: frozen vegetables actually contain more vitamins than the fresh ones you get in the grocery store, because they are flash-frozen at the peak of freshness.  And now you know.

The great thing about frozen vegetables is they’re ready in minutes and having them on hand saves you a trip to the store in the middle of a snowstorm.

Problem is, they’re a little on the boring side.  So here’s a quick way to add some kick-ass to your frozen food.

Get your frozen vegetables from their package to a large frying pan or flat saucepan.  My method involved smashing the package on the counter several times to loosen up the veggies.

Tonight we had peas and spinach.  Lots of lovely chlorophyll.

Add to that a tablespoon or two of butter, some minced garlic, and some fresh herbs.  I used basil here.  Some salt and pepper if you’re feeling sassy.

Heat on medium until the vegetables are thawed and the excess water is absorbed.  Add a few tablespoons chicken broth and stir until that is absorbed as well and the vegetables are tender. 

Serve hot!

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

The Pie doesn’t particularly like Brussels sprouts, but the rest of us adore them.  To find a compromise this past Thanksgiving I pulled inspiration from a number of different recipes, and also from a salad I’d eaten at The Black Tomato two nights before, and came up with something that we all loved.

I’m not going to give you measurements for this recipe, because to be honest I didn’t measure anything, just kind of threw it in when the inspiration struck me.  Besides, everyone has their own preferences as to amounts and proportions in a salad.  Just estimate and you’ll be fine.  This version served ten people with tons of leftovers.

First, you cut up your Brussels sprouts.  We tried them first with a mandolin, but then found it was easier just to slice them thinly with a stupid sharp knife.  Cut off the tough stem part at the bottom and discard any bruised or torn outer leaves, then carefully shave those suckers down.We ended up with a medium-sized bowl full of bits of mini-cabbage.Because this was sort of a do-at-the-last-second kind of salad, and because Thanksgiving at the last second gets a little hectic as things come out of the oven and the turkey needs to be carved, I wanted to set up a mise en place for this so everything would be ready to go when I needed it.  Accordingly, I prepared the rest of my ingredients ahead of time.

Three finely chopped green onions.

Two finely sliced shallots.

Two handfuls dried, sweetened cranberries.

A handful each finely chopped radicchio and Boston lettuce.

Goat cheese, or chèvre.

Pecans, ground in my food processor.

Pecan pieces, for garnish.

Mix together the goat cheese, cranberries, and ground pecans.

Set that aside for now.

In a large frying pan or skillet melt about a third of a cup of butter at medium heat.  Toss in your green onions and shallots and sauté for a few minutes until softened.

Chuck in your massive amounts of Brussels sprouts and stir them around until they’re thoroughly coated in butter and start to wilt.

Add in the raddichio and the Boston lettuce and stir to mix.  Drizzle gently with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a healthy dash of real maple syrup.  Toss to coat and remove from heat.

Add in your goat cheese mixture and toss it well.

Sprinkle with pecan pieces and serve warm.

Bashed Neeps with a little Sweet Potato

Behold the lowly, plebeian turnip.  If you were my Scottish great-grandfather you’d call them neeps.  The vegetable of the working class.  Nubbly root vegetables that overwinter remarkably well.  Tasty tubers.

You get the idea.

I’m fond of turnips.  Rutabaga as well.  They’re a little yellower, bigger, and stronger tasting than a turnip.

Thanksgiving is all about the harvest vegetables, and the turnip is a traditional addition.

I used 4 medium-sized turnips.  (And 2 large apples.  No picture of those sadly.)

Peel them with a sharp knife and cut them into cubes.

Chuck them in a pot with a pinch or two (or five) of cinnamon and enough water to cover.

Cover and simmer them until very tender, about an hour, maybe more.

Drain and mash with butter and a dash of maple syrup.

You can serve it as is, but this time we felt that the turnips were a little bland.

We peeled and cubed a single large sweet potato and boiled that up as well until it was tender.

Mash that sucker in with the turnip after you’re done your boiling.

Add a spoonful of ginger, as well as some nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

You can also freeze this stuff for thawing and reheating later.  It saves time on the big day.

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