Monday, December 10, 2012

The month of December is known for some funny things: It is known as National Write A Business Plan Month and National Hand Washing Awareness week is December 1-7, also Quince and Watermelon Month and lastly, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruit Month. What are root vegetables anyway? There are quite a few: beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, and lastly the rutabaga. What is a rutabaga?

One of the things I try to do is use different types of vegetables. Like the ones that you might not know about or know how to use: experiment. I know some of you are putting your nose in the air and don’t want to try new things…..give it a chance.

A little history on the unloved rutabaga. It looks very much like a turnip with yellow-orange flesh and ridges at its neck. It is a great tasting vegetable with a delicate sweetness and flavor that hints of the light freshness of turnip. It is easy to prepare, and versatile, with great nutritional value. The rutabaga could easily become a family favorite. Rutabagas were one of the only available foods during WWI in many countries because they are easy to grow and more important easy to store for long periods of time. Now put that nose down and stop shaking your head. Ask anyone in the US if they like rutabagas and they will probably say no. Ask that same person if they’ve ever had one, and they’ll probably say no to that also. Over the holidays or sometime soon try this easy recipe. Also I have served them using boiled potatoes, mashed with equal proportions of mashed rutabagas and lots of butter, salt and pepper. Let me know how much you like it!

Carrots and Rutabagas with lemon and honey (2 root vegetables in 1 recipe)
1 ¼ pounds rutabagas, peeled with a carrot-vegetable peeler, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (used bottled if you have to)
3 Tablespoons honey (I have added more)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh chives

Cook rutabagas in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes.
Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender (6-8 minutes) then drain.
Melt butter or margarine in large pot over medium heat.
Add lemon juice, honey and peel of lemon.
Bring to almost a boil then add the two vegetables.
Cook until glazed, stirring occasionally about 6-8 minutes
Season with salt and pepper and add chives and mix and serve hot.
Lemon juice adds refreshing flavor to earthy root vegetables.
Serves 6-8