I love giving you 15-minute recipes, but once in a while there comes a dish that is worth the extra effort. This Layered Summer Vegetable Torte is just that. Yes, you have to grill some vegetables and make a simple vinaigrette, but this is a hearty, delicious, veggie-centric showstopper. Every summer I have a few recipes that I put on repeat when I entertain at home, and this was one of my go-to’s from the Summer of 2021 and now it’s back in the rotation!Continue reading
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).
Many people told me last year that they had their doubts about this rutabaga recipe but were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed it, myself included. I remember standing at the counter with different students after many a class, snacking on the rutabaga cubes with our fingers. Very addictive. This is such a basic recipe, you could really pair it with almost any protein, especially poultry. If you are vegetarian, these rutabagas would go great with lentils or a hearty pasta with broccoli and pine nuts. Easter is coming up and this recipe would be great with lamb or ham. I look at them as a more nutritious and flavorful sub for potatoes!
Do your best to remember my golden rules of roasting vegetables and these will turn out great:
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.
I’d like to sneak in a nutritious recipe before Halloween if you’ll let me. I need to one last swan song before local tomatoes go out of season until next June. Moment of silence. Until then, I am enjoying these sweet little orbs as much as I can. I have always had a soft spot for cherry tomatoes, which seem to be consistently sweet as sugar. I love to make a quick sauce out of them for pasta and they don’t weigh down salads like a chopped up beefsteak. And as sweet as they are raw, they are even more so and more tomato-y roasted.
This is a super easy and delicious way to enjoy broccoli and tomatoes while they are in season at the same time. What I love about this combo is how the juice from the tomatoes mingles with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and gets trapped in the nooks and crannies of the broccoli florets. So delish. You can keep it really simple here and just roast the veggies with garlic, balsamic and oil or add a little fresh basil at the end like I did. If you want to get fancy, toss on some toasted pine nuts and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese. You can’t go wrong. I think you could also make the same thing with eggplant and cherry tomatoes or zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I served this the other night with some roasted salmon and corn-chimichurri sauce. Yum!
Forgive the short post today, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not very organized in areas of my life that don’t relate to food. As I predicted, Mr. Picky’s birthday party is being held tomorrow, 3 1/2 weeks after his real birthday. I can’t remember the last time his party was actually in September. Am I lame, or what? He’s being a good sport about it and said, “That’s okay, Mom. It makes my birthday last longer.” Love that little guy. I was actually so proud of myself that my son and I pulled together his Halloween costume already. That’s about 2 1/2 weeks earlier than normal! And then I opened my mail today and saw two catalogs for holiday cards. I mean, really.