For those of you in the Eugene area and for some of you out there in the nether sphere, a handful of sunny days have awakened something in you. Yes, spring is just around the corner! Its vitality has awakened in me the desire for vital foods fresh from the field. While it’s not exactly grim here at the farm, we have little out in the field.
Turnips in the field. Greens identification (left)
Yesterday I wandered out and took a look at what we had. Beets, chard, kale, arugula going to seed, garlic, and turnips. I pulled up some turnips and headed in. I’m new to turnips and so I consulted Mrs. Joy who informed me it was a perfect complement to fowl and whatever you could do to a potato, you could do to a turnip. She advised peeling down into the red zone to avoid bitterness and that over baking gave them a cabbagey taste. Hmmmm…
I thought for a moment, then opted for investigation. I decided to bake them for my initial journey with these plump rascals, so I peeled them. When I smelled their white flesh it had a sweet aroma with a hint of that parsnip spiciness. I chopped them into bite sized chunks and threw them into an 8x8 baking dish. I again smelled them and it came to me just like that: apples and coriander. Ya it was weird, but I’m into this inner knowing lately so I figured we have 500 of these, why not! I salted the turnips like I would potatoes, sprinkled with ground coriander, threw a cubed gala apple on top, and put them in at a very hot 400 degree oven.
About 40 minutes later I checked and they were almost done.
I grabbed a large amount of Kale and headed in. Usually we just steam the Kale and eat with a little Balsamic vinegar, but I wanted to do a little more and crown my turnips with it. I consulted the web and found an article with a woman who didn’t like Kale much; as a matter of fact she described it as scary! “Hmmmf! Enough of this, I am returning to the inner knowing!”
Turnips in the field. (right)
Don’t be afraid of Kale, it’s perfectly wonderful and so beautiful this time of year. I threw some oil in a pan with some chopped garlic and stared at my spice cabinet. "Trust the knowing, trust the knowing, trust…" I threw in a tablespoon of curry powder, ½ teaspoon of cumin, some fresh cracked pepper, ¼ teaspoon of chili powder, a dash of ground sage and hoped for the best as I stirred it into the oil. I had cut the Kale into large bite-sized pieces and as the fabulous aroma of my spice blend filled the kitchen, I tossed it in the pan with 1 cup of water. After it was steamed about half way to my liking I opted to lightly salt, throw in about 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar and just 2 ounces (about half one of those tiny cans) of tomato paste. I was feeling good, almost giddy in my adventure. As a matter of fact I lighted on the memory of just yesterday finding Black Eyed Susans throwing flowers at the base of their withered stalks and of the bee that came to visit me; the memories coupled with the freedom of the inner knowing were quite intoxicating.
I laid the turnip dish on the plate and piled it with Kale. When J and I sat down to eat I lost a bit of my confidence for a moment, but when we tasted it, what a delight. The flavors all blended so well! The turnips were incredible. They melted in your mouth and the occasional apple was scrumptious. I was so inspired, I wrote this blog post ... lol.
Turnips at table. Remove the skins into the
red zone to avoid bitterness. (below)
And the point to this diatribe? As we move into spring I strongly encourage you to grab its vital energy, something new for your table, and play with it. Trust your inner knowing and see what it shows you. Consider it vital to your mental condition to engage in a fresh way with your food.