Week 34: Rootin' for 2021
Happy 2021! As we get into the heart of winter, we are lucky to have greens continuing to come in from the new hoop house. As always, as the weather changes so does the food that we have available at the farm. Rutabaga has returned to join the other winter root staples.
Winter at the farm provides a great time to eat a more starch-heavy diet courtesy of the root bins. Root vegetables are underground plant parts that are where a plant stores energy in the form of carbohydrates. Differing in concentration due to different starches and sugars, these vegetables are staple wintertime farm food. Some great features of these foods are that they are packed with different nutrients they gain from being in the soil and underground. They serve as antioxidants, cleansing your system and provide high amounts of iron and vitamins C, B and A. They also are great foods to cellar (or just keep in your fridge) as they will stay fresh for several months.
When it comes to cooking root vegetables, there are a variety of different ways. One unique way is to grill them, which causes crusty outside and a slightly sweet and tender inside. Other popular ways are to mash, roast or braise them. They can be used in soups and salads, or another option is to make root chips that can be left out for the whole family! Now that we have finally made it out of 2020, we are Rootin’ for 2021.
And don't forget about some oldie but goodie posts with a root focus:
ROASTED BEET AND POTATO BORSCHT
2 pounds red beets, scrubbed, peeled, and cut in to medium dice
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 to 5 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Sour cream, thinly sliced scallion greens, and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet, toss together beets, potatoes, shallots, thyme and oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and roast until beets and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
Discard thyme. Transfer vegetables to a pot, along with broth. Bring to a simmer over medium high and cook to heat through. With a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, mash some vegetables until soup is thick and chunky. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls, top with sour cream, scallion greens, and parsley, and serve.
NOTES: Serves 4. You can find dozens of variations on borscht, the Russian beet soup. Some (like this one) are served hot, others chilled, some pureed until smooth, others not-but all showcase the beauty of beets. This version calls for roasting peeled and chopped beets, rather than boiling, for a deeper, richer flavor; potatoes are added for more heft. Sour cream is the traditional topping, and helps to balance the sweetness of the beets.
ROASTED CARROTS AND BROWN RICE WITH MISO DRESSING
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in to 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut in to 1/2 inch wedges
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups kale or spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together carrots, onion, thyme, and 2 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer. Roast until tender, tossing halfway through, about 40 minute.
Bring rice, water and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Add kale/spinach, cover, and let stand 15 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl; top with carrot mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together miso, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoon oil. Drizzle over salad, toss to combine, and serve.
NOTES: Serves 4. This vegetarian main course is an excellent study in building a salad with substance. Roasted carrots and onion provide sink-your-teeth-into- something satisfaction along with caramelized flavor, wilted greens offers color contrast, and nutty, chewy brown rice adds protein.
PORT AND TURNIP MISO RAMEN
1 1/2 pounds purple-top turnips, peeled
2 teaspoons peanut oil
6 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced
8 ounces pork chop or pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
6 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced, and/or enoki mushrooms (about 3 cups)
6 cups kale or spinach, chopped
Using a spiral vegetable slicer or julienne vegetable peeler, cut turnips into long, thin strands. you should have about 10 cups of turnip "noodles".
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add scallions, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pork and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, about 1 minute. Add broth, water, miso, soy sauce, and rice wine (or sherry); bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles, mushrooms and kale/spinach. Cook, gently stirring to submerge the vegetables in the broth, until the noodles are just ender, about 3 minutes.
NOTES: Serves 5. Ramen gets a healthy makeover when you use a spiralizer to make noodles from turnips. We swap noodles made from mild turnips for ramen noodles, but other vegetables, such as zucchini and yellow squash, could also stand in for this Asian-inspired recipe. Serve with sriracha hot sauce for a kick.