What’s there to say about these round guys? I would never have thought that y’all would express so much interest in my off-handed remark about a root vegetable that my 1950s-minded man calls “poor people’s food.” (I don’t know when he got all high and mighty… and he loves a good baked potato. His favorite meal of jarred spaghetti sauce, angel hair and frozen meatballs doesn’t sound too high falutin to me.)
When I included my turnips in Sunday’s list of weekend productivity, it was partially about the dish, partially about me. Food-wise, roasting turnips was a simple process of peeling, quartering and chopping down to bite-sized pieces, 15 minutes of parboiling (putting them in boiling water), then tossing the drained chunks with oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. The oven was pre-heated to 375º and then I ignored them for 30-40 minutes. I wish I had put them in longer and raised the temperature to get them more brown, but I feared making them too mushy. Roasting, in general, is something that fascinates me. I don’t nearly roast enough. The magical combination of salt, oil and heat continues to delight and surprise me.
The flavor of a turnip is somewhere between the tang of a parsnip or a radish mixed with the consitency of a potato. The ones I cooked were purple-topped white fleshy bulbous roots with one or two golden turnips thrown in for good measure. They came from the Riverdog Farm organic veggie box I get each week at work. Beyond supporting locally-grown agriculture, I love not having to shop and trying out things that I wouldn’t normally buy.
On occasion, the box adds to my stress—if i’m not cooking from it and letting it go to waste. I hate throwing any of it away. Just the act of preparing food (regardless of the delicious results) grounds me in the same way as does knitting a few stitches. It connects me to my life, it brings me great joy to make yumminess, and I get to use my hands to start, prepare and complete a project.
Now, after 7pm and still at the office, I just popped a few leftovers in my mouth and they still get me. But not too much. I’m going to Kirala for my swim coach’s big 32nd. Perhaps next time I’ll “cut” the turnips with some potatoes and let ‘em get all crispy. But that will have to wait… there ain’t no turnips in the box this week. I’ve got leeks, spinach, oranges and mei qing choi to deal with.