WHAT A WEEK I’VE HAD. Everything is just great except for the fact that my hard drive crashed. Where it “crashed” and how it crashed, I have no idea. But this is what Apple told me after I spent an hour on the phone trouble shooting my not-working computer and then at the store, where they told me I was basically screwed. The hard drive of my less than 3-year-old computer died. Did you know the lifespan of a hard drive is between 2 1/2 to 4 years? Seems kind of short, I agree. So I left my computer with all my recipes, images, documents, my LIFE, with Apple for 3-5 “business” days, which I am just telling you right now means a week, and then go back to pick it and my dead hard drive up and guess what? They turn my computer on and it smells like an electrical fire. More problems! I had to leave it for another 3-5 business days so they can replace the power something-or-other.
So just think for a second if someone took your computer for 10 days. Kind of liberating, but kind of stressful. And this, my dear readers, is why I haven’t posted anything all week. Forgiveness and pity is all I ask. And my advice to you is back it all up all the time. 🙂
Let’s move on to something to make and eat which is why we’re all here. If you don’t know what a rutabaga is or you think you won’t like it because it has a weird name and a not sexy appearance and that’s enough to dissuade you, I ask you to reconsider. I had never eaten a rutabaga in my life, at least not knowingly, until a couple of years ago and I was instantly smitten. I love all the Brassicas–cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, the whole family. Rutabagas are a cross between cabbage and turnip. Not as bitter as a turnip, with the sweetness of cabbage and the texture of a less starchy potato, is my best attempt at describing a rutabaga. They are often referred to as “swedes” in other parts of the world, but whatever you call them, they are not turnips and certainly not as bitter as turnips.
I am sharing a recipe here which is straightforward roasted rutabagas with balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness, but I often roast them with other vegetables or with a whole roasted chicken (delicious!) They pair beautifully with carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts and greens like chard. Many people like to make a rutabaga mash with carrots and butter, salt and pepper. You can also eat them raw. Last year when I taught this recipe in my classes, I sliced some raw rutabaga and passed it around for everyone to sample. People were surprised at how pleasant it tasted. I haven’t used raw rutabaga in a slaw, but I imagine it would be delicious.
Let’s also talk about the health benefits of rutabagas. All crucifers (brassicas or cole crops) are high in antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds. According to Dr. Mercola’s website, rutabaga’s most significant nutrient comes from vitamin C. One cup contains 53% of the daily recommended value, providing antioxidants and immune system-supporting functions that help protect the cells from free radical damage. Although rutabagas provide only 5% of the iron needed for healthy blood on a daily basis, vitamin C enhances its absorption, while helping to form both collagen and the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which protect cells against damage, encourage wounds to heal, fight infections, and promote healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. Beta-carotene-rich rutabagas are also an excellent source of potassium and manganese (for energy), and a good source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 (helps support the nervous system), calcium (for strong bones), magnesium (helps absorb calcium and combat stress), and phosphorus (helps metabolize proteins and sugars).
- veggies in one layer on the baking sheet
- don’t crowd them otherwise they’ll steam each other
- if roasting more than one pan, one in upper third of the oven and one in lower third of the oven. Rotate pans if necessary.
- 4 medium rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1”cubes (about 2-2 ¼ pounds)
- 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Place rutabagas on baking sheet, toss to coat with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Remove from the oven and toss with balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.