Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rutabagas

The rutabaga, swede (from Swedish turnip), turnip, yellow turnip, or neep is a root vegetable that may have originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip.

You can bake or roast quartered rutabagas along side your favorite beef, pork, or chicken roast.
- You can blanch julienne rutabagas and serve as part of your vegetable platter.
- Rutabagas can be steamed, microwaved, braised quartered or diced and served as a side dish to your entrée.
- Treat rutabagas like potatoes and serve them mashed, in soups and stews, or baked with your favorite toppings and they are low in calorie.

Now here is where

come together. I recently was gifted with a large box of summer produce from a friend's garden. It was packed with green beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and rutabagas. I have to admit I have never eaten nor cooked rutabagas before. But lucky I had 5 ladies visiting at the lake who were experts on rutabaga preparation. They all sprung into action except one who took a nap. Two peeled, two diced and chopped and I searched the Internet for a recipe. 

I tossed the rutabagas cubes with olive oil, a few spices, onions and green pepper. Then spread the mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet mixed and baked for 45 minutes.
Rutabagas taste like a potato and were a tasty side for a grilled meal. I did save two of the four rutabagas so I could try another recipe.
Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups of peeled and cubed rutabagas 
  • 3 TB. olive oil or lemon olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. each dried sage, Rosemary, thyme 
  • 2-3 TB. fresh basil, diced 
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet Vidalia onions 
  • 3/4 cup green or red pepper 

Directions:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • In a large bowl mix spices and olive oil, toss and coat well the rutabaga cubes. 
  • Spread cubes out single layer on parchment paper. 
  • Roast until tender about 45 minutes. Stir mixture occasionally to move cubes around on the baking sheet.

Some recommended reads with a rutabaga theme

"Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth" by Mari-Louise Gay is a heartwarming story aimed at 5-8 year old group. It is about a little rabbit names Roslyn Rutabaga. One day Roslyn wakes up with a brilliant idea, she wants to build the biggest hole on earth! So big that she will be able to be on the other side of the earth and meet penguins. Roslyn runs outside and starts her digging. She runs into an angry worm, a grouchy mole, and a barking dog. They won't let her dig the biggest hole on earth. Her dad goes outside to see what Roslyn is up to. He notices the hole and tells her that it is the biggest hole on earth. Her father brings her lunch and they eat in the giant hole.

Rootabaga Stories (1922) is a children's book of short stories by Carl Sandburg. The whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories, which often use nonsense language, were originally created for his own daughters. Sandburg had three daughters, Margaret, Janet and Helga, whom he nicknamed "Spink", "Skabootch" and "Swipes" -those nicknames occur in some of his Rootabaga stories. The "Rootabaga" stories were born of Sandburg's desire for "American fairy tales" to match American childhood. He felt that the European stories involving royalty and knights were inappropriate, and so set his stories in a fictionalized American Midwest called "the Rootabaga country" filled with farms, trains, and corn fairies. A large number of the stories are told by the Potato Face Blind Man, an old minstrel of the Village of Liver-and-Onions who hangs out in front of the local post office. 

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