Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog #19 Topsy Turnips

My husband, Jeff, and I would not survive well as farmers. Despite having a nice organic garden, we have poor crop planning skills. Left to his own devices, Jeff plants mostly tomatoes that he loves but I cannot eat. When they failed this year, I stepped in and we attempted a second cold crop of peas, lettuce, carrots, radishes and turnips. It was too late for the peas which climbed about half way up the trellis before the cold set and arrested their development at mid adolescence. The carrots were delicious but the size and width of a fountain pen. I ate a head of lettuce a day for several weeks and Jeff had plenty of radishes but the turnips…… The turnips went wild.

They grew in crowded clumps because we did not thin them properly. Ignorant suburban farmers that we are we thought how many turnips can a few seeds produce? It turned out to be enough for an army of underfed groundhogs. There were so many that they pushed each other out of the ground where we could just scoop them up rather than pull them out. Some were the size of soft balls.

Jeff gamely ate one or two every day and I gave them away to all of our friends/neighbors who liked them which was a grand total of one person. Nobody seemed to know what to do with them and they were starting to pile up. Finally, I decided to make a big turnip dish for Thanksgiving and invite a lot of people. The first challenge was finding a decent dish. After some experimentation, I decided on pureed turnips because I had them once at a fancy restaurant and deemed them to be a potential crowd pleaser.

Playing around with several recipes, I came up with this one. It would probably taste better with a half cup of heavy cream added but too many people in my family do not eat dairy. Besides, without the cream, it has the advantage of being extremely healthy.

Cut and peel turnips and carrots and put them in a greased roasting pan. I use two parts turnips to one part carrot. The farmer’s market had yellow carrots and they worked great because the puree is yellow rather than orange like sweet potatoes and they are sweeter. Roast them for 20 minutes or until tender. Next dump them into a food processor or better yet, a Vitamixer. Then add salt (to taste), chicken broth (to get it to the thickness you like) and a tablespoon of maple syrup. The maple syrup was important because the baseball size turnip was pretty strong tasting though the little ones were not. A couple of spins around the Vitamixer and the result was creamy and tasty. Now to find more people to eat it.

I called my virtual assistant, Tania who lives a few hours away. “So, do you want to come for Thanksgiving?” I asked.

“What are you serving?” she asked warily.

“Pureed organic turnips with a hint of maple syrup,” I said in my most seductive voice.

“Gee, it looks like we will be awfully busy that day,” she retorted.

“Well, I also got a delicious turkey from the Amish farmers,” I tried again. “After which, I signed up for their e-mail list.”

“You are making that up,” she gasped appalled.

“Am not. The Amish have e-mail now. I wonder what kind of horse powered generator they use to run their computers?” I mused.

“They do not have computers,” she corrected. “They probably hire outsiders like they do for driving and things.”

“Well, they are famously adaptive business people, “ I agreed. “But I still think there might be a poor horse walking around in circles somewhere long into the night so Amish teenagers can be on Facebook.”

“I think you better cut down on your turnip consumption, it is affecting your mind,” she countered.

I would love to cut down as I do not like plain turnips very much but what am I going to do with all of them? They are such an underdog vegetable that I am afraid if I donate them to the Manna Food Bank, they will wish it was carrots or green beans instead. One of the vendors selling them at the farmer’s market said he had no clue what to do with them but I bet the Amish farmers have some ideas. Maybe I will send them an e-mail.

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