Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Wow, we're getting a beautiful array of winter root veggies this week! Parsnips, turnips, celeriac, beets, carrots... combined with some onions or leeks, we've got the makings of several fabulous winter root veggie concoctions! - Debbie
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Before I forget, I have to remember there are folks out there who have never seen celeriac before, so here's Celeriac 101: that scary, hairy, gnarly root bulb would be the celeriac, also known as 'celery root'. Sometimes it comes with celery-like stalks attached, sometimes the worst of the gnarly-hairy is trimmed off by the nice folks at Lakeside. Appearances aside though, celeriac is so delicious!! It has the flavor of celery, with the texture of a turnip or rutabaga. One of my favorite ways to use it is in mashed potatoes: peel and cut into large chunks then boil and mash along with the potatoes. So good! You don't actually eat the celery-looking tops (if present); they're pretty bitter, although used sparingly, they can be substituted for parsley in some dishes. Taste a wee bit and decide for yourself.Let's start with a recipe I've had around for several years, more or less waiting for when we had all the root veggies at one time:Winter Vegetable Cobbler
modified from a SJ Mercury News clipping from January 2004 (original source: "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook" by Marion Cunningham)
1 large or 2 small turnips, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized wedges
1 to 2 potatoes, peeled and diced [I know we don't have potatoes, so leave them out if you don't have any]
1 celery root, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 C)
1 onion [or 1 or 2 leeks] coarsely chopped
[the equivalent of] 3 carrots [ours are small!], peeled and diced
[I'd include a few small beets, scrubbed or peeled, and also diced]
[...and though we don't have them now, diced rutabaga would be good in this dish as well!]
1/2 C chopped parsley
1 C vegetable broth [or chicken stock], chilled
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp. butterCobbler dough
1 3/4 C flour [use some of that Sonora Wheat flour from Pie Ranch if you got it!]
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
3/4 C cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put cut up root veggies in a 2-inch deep, 8-cup ovenproof baking dish (you should have about 6 cups of cut up vegetables). In a small mixing bowl, blend broth into cornstarch. Pour over vegetables and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix to blend. Dot top of vegetables with butter.To make cobbler dough
: Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Drop pieces of chilled butter into flour mixture and rub quickly with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using a fork, slowly stir in cream, until roughly mixed. Gather dough into a shaggy mass and knead five or six times. Roll dough out on a lightly floured board to the size of the top of the baking dish. Dough should be about 1/4-inch thick.
Place dough on top of vegetables. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through and crust is browned. Test vegetables for doneness with the tip of a sharp knife.Penne with Lemon and Root Vegetables
a vegetarian main dish from Bon Appetit (undated clipping)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 C peeled, cubed assorted root veggies such as parsnips, carrots, celeriac, beets etc) [Bon Appetit suggests cutting the veggies into 2x1/2x1/2-inch sticks, to sort of mimic the size of the penne pasta]
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into half-inch wide pieces, plus 6 tbsp. chopped celery leaves, divided
8 oz. penne rigate or whole grain penne
3/4 C finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon peel [yes, you could definitely use the Meyer lemons!]
1/4 tsp (scant) ground nutmeg
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add diced root veggies; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute 9 minutes. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Add sliced celery stalks. Saute veggies 1 minute longer. Add 1 C water. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 C cooking liquid.
Add pasta to vegetables in skillet. Add 3/4 C reserved cooking liquid, the Parmesan cheese, lemon peel and nutmeg, plus 4 tbsp. of the celery leaves. Toss until heated through and sauce coats pasta, adding more cooking liquid if pasta is dry, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls; sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. chopped celery leaves.Herb Roasted Root Vegetables
modified slightly from a cookbook called "Recipes from the great chefs of Santa Cruz County" - this particular recipe was from Bittersweet Bistro
The original recipe calls for potatoes, carrots, turnips and rutabagas in half-pound quantities, but really you can use what we have: celeriac, carrots, turnips, parsnips and beets. Figure roughly 1 1/2 C large dice or wedges or equivalent of each.
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch diagonal slices
3 tbsp. olive oil
salt and white pepper
1/2 tbsp. or so chopped mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, Italian parsley, chives)
In a bowl, toss all vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay vegetables out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in a 450 degree oven for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Turn and stir vegetables every five minutes. Roast until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
When vegetables are almost done, sprinkle with chopped herbs and return to the oven for several additional minutes. Colorful beet-carrot-greens saute with honey-mustard sauce
I made this tonight as a quick side-dish to go with some pan-fried Monterey Bay snapper I'd gotten at the farmers market yesterday morning. Wanted something colorful to offset the 'white-on-white' of the fish and steamed rice. Came out great!
3 small (large golf-ball sized) beets
2 or 3 carrots
1 small leek
beet greens or chard, or a combination of both
salt and pepper
a squeeze of honey (about 1 tsp)
some Dijon mustard (about 1 tsp)
butter and olive oil for sauteeing
Scrub and trim beets - don't peel them, just cut away any of the hairy root bits and of course the tops and tail. Cut into thin wedges. Scrub or peel carrots, and cut them diagonally into similarly sized segments to the beets so they'll cook in a similar time frame. Wash and coarsely chop chard/beet greens. Slice leek.
Oops, left this step out when I sent the newsletter: partially steam beets about 10 minutes, throwing carrots in after about 5 minutes. This doesn't cook them completely, but gets them started, then you finish them in the saute step, below
Melt a bit of butter together with a couple blorps of olive oil in a skillet; add leeks, partially steamed
beets and carrots and saute over medium-high heat 5 minutes or so. Add chopped greens and toss; sprinkle with some salt, add a splash of water or white wine or vermouth, then cover and cook another 5 minutes or so, checking and stirring occasionally, until greens have wilted and beets/carrots are just tender but not mushy. Remove lid, add honey and mustard, and a splash more liquid if needed, and stir to distribute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.Okay, now I'm going to completely change gears and recommend my favorite use for the Happy Girl Kitchen pickled dry-farmed tomatoes you got in your share last week."Summer" Salad to cure those Winter Blues
This is exquisitely easy, and a superb showcase for the flavor of those pickled dry-farmed tomatoes. Simply wash, spin dry, blot dry and tear fresh lettuce leaves into individual serving salad bowls. Put a couple pieces of pickled dry-farmed tomatoes on top. Spoon a little of the sweet and delicate pickling juice from the jar over the lettuce and tomatoes like a salad dressing. Now drizzle your best olive oil over this. Then finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and a grating of black pepper. That's it!! This is so much better than using ethylene gas-ripened 'flavor-free' winter tomatoes! Try it and you'll see!
Note: the juice is delicious too! If I use up the tomatoes, I like to save the juice and sip it from a small cup; you could also plump sundried tomatoes in it, or use it in other salad dressings, or create an interesting new cocktail... use your imagination, just whatever you do, don't pour it down the drain!