Cooking With The Box
We are coming up on the end of our delivery season, just two more boxes (including this week's box) before our winter break. These last two boxes are packed full of wonderful winter vegetables, most of which will store just fine, so don’t feel pressured to eat through your box within the next two weeks.
This week’s featured newsletter recipe, Apple & Turnip Quiche (see below), comes to us from The Birchwood Café in Minneapolis. After discovering this recipe a year ago, it quickly became a winter favorite and I’ve made it multiple times. It’s a great item to serve for breakfast, brunch or dinner. It reheats very well. It makes a great appetizer or light dinner option for holiday gatherings. If you like quiche, you’ll like this recipe and it’s a great way to use turnips.
We’re pleased to have enough Brussels sprouts to include them in this week’s box. Just before Thanksgiving Andrea Bemis posted this recipe for Charred Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Dates. Make this one while dates are readily available and enjoy the sweet, salty, smoky combo of this dish. This would be a good side dish to serve with the Apple & Turnip Quiche.
Lets talk breakfast for a moment. Winter is a pretty easy time to incorporate vegetables into breakfast. A batch of Sweet Potato Morning Glory Muffins is on my list for this week. I’m also going to try Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Pecans. An extra dose of beta carotene from these vegetables has got to equate to an awesome start to the day!
There is quite a pile of sweet potatoes in this week’s box. Definitely enough to make the muffins and have plenty remaining to make a batch of Chicken, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew. Make a batch of cornbread or some rice to serve alongside and you have a simple dinner, likely with leftovers. I also want to try this recipe for a Winter Panzanella with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. Panzanella is typically made with tomatoes in the summer, but this winter version includes winter squash, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. This salad would be great served with roasted chicken or grilled pork tenderloin.
While you have the oven on to make the Sweet Potato Morning Glory Muffins, you might as well make some Carrot Oatmeal Cookies. We featured this in our newsletter last year. These cookies are nice to have on hand for a sweet treat, but can also make a nice holiday cookie. Their sweetness comes from the carrots and some maple syrup, so they are a nice alternative to some of the overly sweet Christmas cookies.
I love the versatility of carrots. You can eat them in oatmeal for breakfast, have an afternoon snack with carrots in the form of a cookie, and still have enough remaining to make Baked Egg Rolls! This recipe makes great use of this week’s cabbage and carrots. It also calls for water chestnuts, but instead of using those canned ones just substitute diced sunchokes! Sunchokes have the same crispy, crunchy texture as water chestnuts, making them a great stand in. The author of this recipe also tells you how to freeze and reheat these eggrolls. If you’re up to it, make a double batch so you can keep them in the freezer for one of those nights when you get home late and need a quick something to become dinner on the fly.
After you’ve made the Apple & Turnip Quiche, there should still be some turnips remaining. I’m going to make one of my favorite fall/winter recipes that sounds complicated by the name, but really is a nice, simple one-pan creation. Pan Seared Pork Chops with Turnips, Apples & Cider Cream Sauce is delicious and makes a great dinner.
|Chili & Lime Sunchoke Salsa|
served with Salmon!
Most of this week’s beauty heart radishes are going towards making this beautiful Radish Salad with Orange & Goat Cheese. You can use any kind of citrus to make this salad, so if you don’t have oranges but have grapefruit (in this week’s fruit share), use those instead! Pair this colorful salad with A Pizza in the Roman Way for a simple, yet satisfying meal. This pizza recipe was featured in our newsletter earlier this year. It’s very simple and is basically pizza dough covered with delicious caramelized onions!
I came across this recipe for Onion-Beer Dip, an Edible Madison featured recipe for this fall. They recommend serving it with vegetable chips, so why not use this week’s celeriac to make these Celeriac Chips to eat with this dip! Eat it as a snack or take it to a holiday party for a different take on the traditional “chips & dip.”
I told you there were a lot of vegetables in this week’s box! What shall we do with those stunning Festival Squash? This week the NY Times featured Melissa Clark’s recipe for Sweet & Spicy Roasted Tofu and Squash. Melissa recommends serving it with rice, but it can stand alone for a vegetarian dinner option as well.
I think that just about brings us to the bottom of this week’s box. I’ll see you back here next week for our final Cooking With the Box for the season!
Vegetable Feature: Storage Turnips
Nature has a way of giving us what we need in its appropriate season. As we move into the winter months here in the Midwest we no longer have the luxury of eating vegetables freshly harvested from the field. Rather, for those who choose to embrace a seasonal, local way of eating, we turn to root crops and other vegetables that will store well through the winter months. Feel free to take your time eating through the last two boxes of the season. There’s no rush….most items will store well for several weeks if not months. This week we’re going to turn our attention to the humble storage turnip.
Storage turnips are much different from the tender, mild baby white salad turnips we grow in the spring and early fall. Storage turnips are denser, have a stronger flavor and will keep for months in cold storage. We grow three different colors of storage turnips including the classic and familiar purple top turnips, golden turnips (in your box this week), and sweet scarlet turnips. Purple top turnips have the strongest turnip flavor while golden and sweet scarlet turnips are more mild. Golden & sweet scarlet turnips are our two preferred varieties, which is why we’ve chosen them for your last two boxes of the season!
Turnips are sometimes a challenging vegetable for CSA members to embrace. I’ve heard longtime members say “I can conquer everything in the box, but those late season turnips are a challenge for me!” Perhaps you have memories of strong-flavored, overcooked, unpleasant turnips lingering in your mind or just find the unfamiliarity of a turnip intimidating. I hope you’ll approach turnips with an open mind this year as they have a lot of great qualities and a wide variety of uses. If you’re still learning how to use and appreciate turnips, use them in recipes where they are combined with other ingredients as opposed to being cooked on their own.
Turnips are often paired with bacon, ham, apples, cheese, cider, cream, garlic, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and lemon as well as other root vegetables. They make a delicious addition to winter soups, stews, and pot pies. They may be used in root vegetable gratins, winter stir-fries, fried rice, etc. While turnips may seldom be the star ingredient, they provide more of a background flavor that, if missing, will leave your eater wondering what’s different! This week’s recipe for Apple & Turnip Quiche is excellent and I encourage you to try it. It’s a well-balanced dish where the richness of the eggs and dairy along with the sweetness of the apples balance the turnip flavor. As with all vegetables in the brassicas family, heed my warning to not overcook them! The sulfur compounds in turnips and other brassicas can be very overpowering if you overcook them, which is why some people may have bad memories of turnips!
Turnips should be stored in a plastic bag or container in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. I seldom peel turnips, however if you find their flavor to be more pungent than your liking, peeling may help decrease some of the characteristic turnip bite. Also, with extended time in storage you may find some turnips may develop some browning due to oxidation or some surface scarring, which is sometimes a reason to peel the turnip. The defect is often only on the surface and the rest of the turnip is totally usable. If your turnips start to dehydrate a little bit in storage, either rehydrate them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator or cut them up and put them in a stew or soup.
Apple Turnip Quiche
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
“Sweet, tart apple makes a nice foil to turnip’s sharper edge in this wintery quiche. Sometimes we use celery root instead of turnip, and rutabaga works nicely as well.”
1 ⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 oz cold cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp ice water
1 ½ cups small diced apple (peeled & cored)
2 cups small diced turnip
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- First, prepare the pastry crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture to make coarse crumbs. Stir in just enough ice water to bring the mixture together. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in parchment paper, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before rolling it out. (Note: This step may be done a day or two in advance.)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pastry dough and fit it into a deep 9-inch pie pan. Line the crust with parchment paper, and weight it with pie weights or dried beans to keep the crust from forming an air bubble. Parbake the crust for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the crust aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss the apples and turnips with the oil and spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the apples are soften and the turnips just begin to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the apples and turnips aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, salt, pepper, and thyme, and stir in ½ cup of the cheese. Stir in the apples and turnips. Place the prebaked crust on a baking sheet and carefully pour the filling into the crust. Top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake the quiche until the filling is just set but still moist, about 40 minutes. The quiche should jiggle a little in the middle. Let the quiche cool on a rack before cutting it. Serve at room temperature.
Chef Andrea’s Notes: This is my favorite recipe in The Birchwood Café Cookbook by Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen. This recipe represents what The Birchwood Café in Minneapolis, MN does best---cook seasonally with what’s available at that time in the Midwest. In the intro to this recipe they also recommend making this recipe with celeriac or rutabaga in place of turnip.
This has become one of my staple winter recipes. Sometimes I make it as written, but I’ve also prepared it with a few of my own adaptations.
- Add crumbled cooked bacon to the egg and milk mixture.
- Layer 8 ounces of browned ground pork in the bottom of the pastry crust before pouring the filling on top.
- In place of Gruyere cheese I’ve used Gouda, cheddar, or a combination of one of these mixed with some smoked cheddar.