Saturday, March 28, 2015

Say Has Anybody Seen My Organic Rutabagas? - Rutabaga Potato Puree

Say, does anybody remember Tony Orlando and Dawn?  Have a happy ear worm!

Say has anybody seen my sweet Gypsy Rose
Here's her picture when she was my sweet Mary Jo
Now she's got rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
Say has anybody seen my sweet Gypsy Rose
Oh, I got wind my Jo's been dancin' here in New Orleans
In this smoke-filled honky-tonk they call the Land of Dreams
Whoa, here she comes a-struttin' in her birthday clothes
Say has anybody seen my sweet Gypsy Rose

Friday, Day 18 - While my back still aches a bit, it is a better day.  A good day for rutabagas.  Please note that I have yet to look at the news.  I'm in a good mood.  I have made up my mind on the relative merits of Reese's peanut butter cups versus Lindt's peanut butter-filled truffles (Reese's won).  I came downstairs to a clean sink and humming dishwasher, thanks to my awesome son.  Chelsea and I shared a secret cookie.  My cousin Maura has already completed an awesome amount of research for our cruise to Alaska.  Rob and I have dinner plans tomorrow evening with our friends Marc and Kerri, and we've got a Passover Seder invite from Jay and Laura.  I got to talk with my cousin Steve-from-Brooklyn and had a really good conversation.  Only 29 days until our post- tax season cruise to the Caribbean.  Soon we'll be walkin' on Sunshine!

I love rutabagas, unlike the rest of my household.  They have a wonderful cabbage-y, peppery, almost buttery taste (the rutabagas, not the other members of my household).  After much experimentation, I find that they taste best on their own and not slipped surreptitiously into a beef stew (yes I have).  Their own flavor is delicate enough that it gets lost in a stew or highly flavored sauce.  I loved these when my mother-in-law would make them, just cubed and boiled and buttered.  I like them mashed on their own or mashed with potatoes.  I have two delicious rutabaga recipes I've been preparing for many years, both of them of the mashed variety.  Since yesterday's recipe for the Sephardic Sofrito was extraordinarily long (but worth it) I am opting to share the easy one with you.

If you do your vegetable shopping in a regular supermarket, you probably think of rutabagas (if you give them any thought at all) as big, honking edible soccer balls dipped in wax, wearing a purple ski hat.  They are hell to peel, and after several decades of rutabaga resistance, I found a method that is the most effective and least painful.  It involves a cutting board and a very sharp chef's knife (I use a 7 inch santoku, not just for rutabaga but for everything, except bread and tomatoes). Cut across both ends so that the rutabaga will sit flat on the board, then start cutting downwards with the knife held close and almost flat against the surface. Remember to rinse off any wax that may be clinging desperately to the surface, before cutting the rutabaga for cooking.

Right about now, I am missing Doctor Who.  Does anyone know when the new series (BBC-speak for "season") will be starting?

Back to rutabagas - imagine peeling these with a regular old vegetable peeler, like you would use for a carrot or a Russet potato or an apple. Would you?  Could you?

Yep.  You can, and you should, and I did.  These are rather small, organic rutabagas, unwaxed, root end mostly intact.  I picked them up at Whole Foods, and damn glad I did.  As you can see, all you need to do to peel them is to whip out your favorite vegetable peeler, cut off the flat top and the tip of the root with a sharp knife, and peel like a potato.

Rutabaga Potato Puree

3/4 pound rutabaga, peeled and cubed
3/4 pound buttercream or similar new potato, cubed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the rutabaga and potato in a medium saucepan, add just enough water to cover.  Put the lid on the pan and bring the contents to boil over high heat.  As soon as it boils, lower the heat to medium-high and cook covered for about 20 minutes until the rutabagas and potatoes are fork tender. Drain well and return to the warm pan; add the butter.

You can mash by hand or in a food processor (do not overprocess) but this time I opted to try a stick blender, which worked perfectly.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

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