Category: root vegetables


This week’s trip to the farmers’ market resulted in finding beautiful baby turnips with their greens still attached and equally enticing small carrots. Meanwhile, my sister’s garden is yielding the first ripe cherry tomatoes, and my father allowed me to once again scratch in his garden to find the tiny new potatoes that I love so much. (Speaking of baby potatoes, have you seen how much the grocery stores charge for the small baskets of these, marketing them as “gourmet”? I have to laugh.) I garnished them with a dollop of sour cream and a light sprinkle of bacon bits, but if you wish to have a truly vegetarian menu, omit the bacon.

The ice cream recipe is my secret. I made it for our Father’s Day feast yesterday and the entire family praised it as the best butter pecan ice cream they had ever eaten.

June 17, 2013

Steamed baby turnips with their greens
Tiny carrot coins glazed with maple syrup and butter
Sea Island red peas from Anson Mills
Boiled new potatoes with sour cream and bacon bits
Sliced cherry tomatoes with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Cornbread muffins

Eddie’s housemade butter pecan ice cream with brown sugar pound cake

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This is not the dinner I had planned to cook tonight, but when the D.C. area was suddenly hit with a major snow event today, I decided that a comforting stew was in order. So, I searched through what was available in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry—carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, turnips, a small amount of ground beef, canned tomatoes, garlic, beef stock, and some leftover braised cabbage. I cut all of the vegetables into large chunks and heated them in a bit of olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients, and let everything simmer very gently on the back of the stove until the vegetable components were just fork tender. To my mind a true stew
requires that the finished dish should be “chunky” in nature and the vegetables,
in particular, should not have been cooked into a mushy texture.

I made some Irish soda bread which included whole wheat flour to accompany the
soup.

And for a sweet ending, the simplicity of a small wedge of milk chocolate was
satisfying.

This dinner is fun to prepare, particularly if there are children in your home. But even if there are only adults, I can assure you it will go over well. These beef meatballs are typically referred to as “porcupine” meatballs, but that reference is associated with the fact of the added ingredient of uncooked rice as a component. As they braise, the rice swells and pokes out around the meatballs, producing each with a “quilled” exterior appearance.  I first witnessed these at summer camp as a child and was very intrigued. Some recipes call for cooking them in tomato sauce, but I prefer beef broth. After the meatballs are cooked, I THEN add a bit of tomato paste and flour-and-water slurry to the braising liquid to thicken it before serving.

A note about the ice cream: if you live in Florida or have ever visited that state you have probably encountered orange blossom honey which is produced alongside the many citrus orchards there. It’s by far my favorite honey of all, and since my sister had a bottle sent to me for my birthday, I decided to develop an ice cream recipe featuring this ingredient. The delicate floral and citrus notes are subtle yet delicious, and make for a memorable ending to this meal.

Beef and rice meatballs seasoned with fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and minced hot pepper braised in beef broth and served with a sauce of the braising liquid enriched with tomato paste
Root vegetable puree of potatoes, turnips, and parsnips finished with butter
Barely wilted baby spinach seasoned with red pepper flakes
House-made buttermilk biscuits

Orange blossom honey ice cream with crisp cookies

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