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Monday, October 13, 2008

Flying with turnips

I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. This membership ensures that I get local fresh fruit and vegetables weekly. It is delightful and delicious. I never know what is going to be in my bag.

I made a commitment this time to actually try all of the produce. The last time I gave away anything that I wasn't sure of or just did not want. That commitment led me to turnips. I do not ever remember eating turnips. When I asked people about them, I received mixed reviews. So I found a recipe that I decided to try. I did not use carrots and forgot to put in the lemon zest and juice, but I was able to eat the turnips without gagging. They were actually quite good. I do not see how they would be a good substitute for potatoes in a potato salad (that was another recipe), but they are probably good mashed with potatoes. I will try roasting them next time.

In my bag this week I was also given a small ear of pop corn. I am supposed to put it in a brown paper bag and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. The kernels will pop off the cob. As a general rule, I do not eat popcorn, but I will have to try this. After that, my next experiment will be with cucumbers. I hate them, but am going to try to make pickles. Rachael Ray has a great quick pickle recipe. I also got two green peppers. I absolutely hate them and will give them away. Yes, that is breaking my commitment, but I am sharing my bounty. I think in the universe, that balances things out!

2 Weight Watchers points

Hands-on time: 10 minutes up-front, then occasional attention until done
Time to table: about 30 minutes
Serves 4


1 1/2 tablespoons butter
pound white turnips (don't use rutabagas, says the inspiring recipe), trimmed, peeled, cut in 3/4" cubes
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, the fatter end sliced in half lengthwise, then cut in 1/2-inch thick slices on the diagonal
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice

In a large nonstick skillet with a cover, melt the butter on MEDIUM HIGH. When it's melted, swirl to coat. (If you start this while prepping the vegetables like I do, I'd recommend melting the butter on MEDIUM, so you don't brown and then scorch the butter like I did. Turn down the heat til you're ready, then turn to medium high.) Add the turnips and carrots in an even layer, stirring to coat, then let cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Stir again, let cook another 4 minutes. Add the brown, brown sugar, salt, pepper, thyme and lemon zest (I prepped these while the veggies were cooking) and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to MEDIUM LOW (I left on MEDIUM HIGH) and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to HIGH, let cook, stirring frequently until liquid cooks down to a glaze, this took a few minutes. Stir in lemon juice and serve immediately.

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