Rooting for Rutabaga

Rutabaga Recipes

Have you ever noticed that the root crop rutabaga usually ends up off to the side at the farmer's market? I guess most people find the appearance of these giant Brassicas intimidating, and quite frankly ugly. But, what’s inside should count, right?

Let’s get to the root of the matter.

Rutabaga is part of the cabbage family, a cool weather crop that has phenomenal storing power: about 4 – 6 months and is often times confused with a turnip. Rutabagas are also known as swedes (from “Swedish turnip”) or as yellow turnips known as (neeps in Scotland). Technically, rutabaga is a direct cross between cabbage and turnips. When eaten raw it has a slightly sweet mild taste, less bitter than the turnip. When rutabaga is cooked it has a golden appearance that tastes earthy sweet, creamy and buttery. Rutabaga is great mashed, roasted with other root vegetables for a breakfast hash, shaped into spears for fries, pickled for sandwich toppings and layered into a gratin. Another bonus: the rutabaga is easy to peel because it has a smooth surface. Tasty and easy.

I’m rooting for rutabaga to push its way to the surface of the — I want to eat you list. Even well seasoned cooks shun the thought of a rutabaga in their CSA box. But worse yet, are the stories of rutabaga being turned away by food banks and soup kitchens because no one knows how to cook with it.

That's a shame.

According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 Americans struggle to get enough to eat; 283,700 people on Long Island receive emergency food each year – that’s 64,900 people every week, according to Long Island Cares, an organization whose mission is to bring together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry on Long Island, and to provide to the best of their ability for the humanitarian needs of the community.

They provide food when and where it’s needed, sponsor programs that promote self-sufficiency and educate the public about food insecurity, the root causes of poverty, nutrition, and the ongoing fight to end hunger on Long Island. “We partner with just under 600 food pantries and food banks in Nassau and Suffolk Counties,” says Peter Braglia, the Chief Operations Officer for Long Island Cares. 

My wish is for the less lovable vegetables to have a fighting chance to join the ranks of: squash, potatoes, onions and apples to help feed the hungry. Long Island Cares is a perfect organization for farmers to partner with to help fight hunger on Long Island. Hopefully, the rutabaga will have a chance.

3 RUTABAGA RECIPES

Mashed Rutabaga

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds of rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • Pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated). You can omit if you don’t have or substitute with cinnamon.
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Splash of heavy cream or milk
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh sage and thyme

Directions

In a large pot, cover the rutabaga with 2 inches of water that is salted with the sea salt. Bring to a simmer. Once the rutabaga is fork tender (approximately 30 minutes, maybe less), drain and return them to the pot.

Over medium heat dry the rutabagas. Mash with a potato masher, then add in the butter and cream/milk. Mash until coarse and a puree forms. Add a pinch of the nutmeg, herbs and fold together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Rutabaga Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 rutabaga peeled and sliced into spears
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • Generous amount of sea salt

Directions

Coat the rutabaga spears with the olive oil, rosemary and sea salt. Toss until evenly coated. Lay rutabaga spears onto a baking sheet, leaving space between for even crisping. Bake until rutabaga fries are cooked through and crisped on the outside, about 30 minutes.

Quick Pickled Rutabaga

Directions

Peel the rutabaga skin and discard. Then peel the rutabaga and the carrots into strips. (size does not really matter)

Place the rutabaga and carrots in a 1-quart mason jar. Then add the garlic, mustard and cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes. Leave at least 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.

Place the vinegar, sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan, whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt, and bring to a simmer.

Once the sugar and salt dissolve, pour the brine over the rutabaga and carrots. Cover them completely but leave 1/4 inch of room at the top of the jar. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Cover the jar with the mason lid and give the jar a shake to evenly distribute the brine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 days, better yet, 1 week before using. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of rutabaga, peeled
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic sliced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

 

Out East Foodie's Top 10 Holiday Gifts from Long Island

We all can use some holiday cheer. Whaddaya say? To help ease your shopping woes for the pickiest and luckiest of folks, a holiday market in Bridgehampton and in Watermill has a plethora of edible and artisanal gifts that are sure to please. If you simply cannot peel yourself away from the cyber madness, visit Salt of the Earth Seed Company for that certain someone who has a green thumb, and if you received an incredible bonus this year (lucky you) and are looking to invest in something innovatively sweet, check out Sweet'tauk Lemonade. Oh, you want to whet your appetite for a special holiday meal? There is a list of imbibing reads that will have you chopping and supping. Have you been contemplating a chicken or egg share for a family member, maybe even a subscription to a community supported brewery for your beer loving friends? Yep, it's all there. These are just a few of my favorites to put you on your merry way. Let your local love shine, and support those who are the makers, the folks that enrich our souls with love and special care. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. Happy shopping!

  1. Salt of the Earth Seed Company: All heirloom seeds are grown on the North Fork of Long Island by farmer Stephanie Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms. She specializes in growing rare, and endangered vegetables that are on the verge of extinction. Anyone who has a green thumb and is dreaming about sunny days ahead will appreciate these open pollinated, NON-GMO seeds.
     
  2. Kerber's Farm: Is a stylish "hamptons style" farmstand, minus the Montauk Highway crawl, that was revitalized in 2013 by the Huntington native Nick Voulgaris III, who has fond memories visiting the farm as a child. They make their own jams, pies, and jars of honey from their own bees. Some of the items are offered in specialty gift baskets. There is even a homemade apple pie kit that includes a dish and all the ingredients packaged in a sustainable wooden crate. While you are at it, grab a few of their apple cider doughnuts for the ride home.

    Address: 309 West Pulaski Road, Huntington, NY 11743 Phone: 631.423. 4400
     
  3. Sweet’tauk Lemonade: In 2012, Deborah Aiza, Founder and CEO of Sweet’tauk began making their premium lemonade in Montauk, NY and selling it at farmer’s markets and through their seasonal Montauk storefront. They built their initial following through self-distribution throughout the Hamptons, before successfully launching in Whole Foods Market Northeast Region and over one hundred independent markets in the NY metro area. Now, the next generation of lemonade, is raising growth capital on CircleUp, a leading online marketplace for private equity investing. Sweet’tauk lemonade is fresh squeezed, cold pressed, and never heated with less than half the sugar of other lemonades. It is the best lemonade I have ever tasted. And I am sure it will have sweet returns.

    Contact: Deborah Aiza   Phone: 631.668.5681  Email: deb@sweettauk.com   Web: www.sweettauk.com
     
  4. cHarissa: A Moroccan spice that is truly good on anything. This past June, cHarissa took first place in the “Cooking, Dipping or Finishing Sauce” category at the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show and brought home the prestigious sofi Award. Earl Fultz at age 88, and his late wife, Gloria Elmaleh, started their business, cHarissa, to make and sell Gloria's Americanized version of the traditional Moroccan seasoning harissa. It truly is never to late to follow you dreams. Earl now 91 is spicing it up more than ever with—hot and mild—dry and oil based rubs that are available online and select retail stores.
     
  5. Edible Reads: Some of my favorite local folks who know a thing or two about food, wine, cocktails and heirloom vegetables.

    Long Island Food: A History from Family Farms & Oysters to Craft Spirits, by Tom Barrit, a prolific food blogger and Long Island native who serves up an eclectic bounty with a side of history that will entice appetites from Nassau to Montauk. He explores how immigrant families built a still thriving agricultural community, producing everything from crunchy pickles and hearty potatoes to succulent Long Island duckling. Experience the rise and fall of Long Islands bustling oyster industry and its reemergence today. And meet the modern-day pioneers in community agriculture, wine, cheese, fine dining and craft spirits who are reinventing Long Islands food landscape and shaping a delicious future.

    Behind the Bottle: The Rise of Wine on Long Islandby Eileen Duffy tells the story of Long Island wine from the people who made the region what it is today.  Long Island’s wine country draws 1.3 million visitors a year for their award winning and highly acclaimed wines. This book profiles owners, winemakers, and personalities from around the country and the world who make Long Island one of the hottest wine regions in the country. Eileen Duffy, Edible East End’s deputy editor, holds a diploma in wine and spirits from the International Wine Center and has been writing about food and wine on the East End since 2003. Anyone who is interested in Long Island wine should have a copy of this book.

    Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients, by Amy Zavatto is a handy guide to imbibing the great outdoors through 40 inspiring recipes that is divided into seasons. There are great tips on how to best forage and preserve berries, herbs, flowers and other tidbits along the way. Forager’s Cocktails is a great tool for getting the most from backyards, parks, and woodlands. Get ready to craft one-of-a-kind cocktails. Cheers!

    Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures, by Amy Goldman grows heirloom fruits and vegetables—an orchard full of apples, pears, and peaches; plots of squash, melons, cabbages, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and beets on a two hundred acres in Hudson Valley. She is a premier gardener with a strong focus on preserving our agricultural heritage and supporting biodiversity of beautiful and rare heirlooms.The images taken by photographer Jerry Spagnoli have a timeless beauty that is luminous. An inspiring book for anyone who appreciates the fragility and strength of nature. Would be a beautiful addition to a gardeners book collection.
     
  6. Edible Communities Publication: Edible Publications is in 80 distinct culinary regions throughout the United States and Canada. They connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds. Locally, in the tri-state area we have Edible East End (I'm a contributor to the magazine and the columnist for What's in Season), Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan and Edible Long Island. Check out their 80 Edible Publications to subscribe to a local or favorite edible region near you.
     
  7. East End Holiday Markets: Locally handcrafted edibles, jewelry, soaps, pottery, arts and crafts.

    The Haygournd School Holiday Bazaar: Homegrown for the holidays, a food and craft bazaar that will feature:
    Backyard Brine, Browder's Birds, Bizzy Bee Designs, Chef Giovani, Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake, Danielle Leef Photography. Designs by the Sea, Diaspora Books, East End Light, Goodfood, Hamptons Handpoured, Jesus Chris if our King Church, j-lilli designs, Ketsy Knits, Lavender of the Hamptons, Le Fusion, Lois Ooliver Handmade Goods, Lora Lomuscio Ceramics, Marilee Foster Beans, Mary Jaffe Pottery, Michelle's Urban Gourmet, Nofo Crunch Granola, NYR Organic, Old School Favorites, Peaceful Planet Yoga, Rustic Ladybug, Sew Enthused Creations, Southampton Soap, Stars Café, Temptress Yarn.

    Address: Hayground School, 151 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton  When: December 5th, 10am-4pm

    Holiday Gift Show with Southampton Soap Company and Friends: Three days of handmade holiday shopping featuring local artisans. Southampton Soap will give back 10% of their sales to their favorite charity each day. Last year was a great mix of food and craft. A perfect time to stock up on some gorgeous soap for you and those on your list. Make for a beautiful smelling stocking stuffer.

    Address: 832 Scuttlehole Road, Water Mill, New York. Phone: 631.613.6041   When: Tuesday, Dec. 15 from 4-8pm; donation to the The Retreat; Saturday, Dec. 19 from 10-3pm; donation to Flying Point Foundation for Autism; and Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 4-8pm; donation to i-tri Girls.
     
  8. Patty's Berries and Bunches Pure Local Honey and Edible Pepper Wreaths. You can pick up some of Patty's honey from her hives as well as these clever holiday dried pepper wreaths. Once the holiday season is over use these dried peppers throughout the year in your cooking.

    Address: 410 Sound Avenue, Mattituck, NY.  Phone: 631.298.4679
     
  9. Community Supported Everything: By now, we are all familiar with a CSA (vegetable share), and in recent years an egg or poultry share, but what about a Community Supported Brewery? Yep! You heard it hear. If you buy all three share you have a perfect meal.

    Golden Earthworm Organic Farm: Their full-season program runs for 26 weeks from June through November, which is the range of the local growing season on Long Island. Produce is picked fresh from thier fields, washed, boxed up, and delivered to your designated pick-up location every week. The shares contain 6 to 10 items, depending on the season and availability. Certified 100% Organic.

    Address: 652 Peconic Bay Blvd Riverhead, NY 11901  Phone: 631.722.3302 
    Email:
    info@goldenearthworm.com

    Browder's Birds: The Browder’s Chickens are certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC. Their hens are fed certified organic laying rations and live on a certified organic pasture benefiting greatly from the ability to forage daily. They have a pretty snazzy outdoor pantry of their own brines, pickled eggs, duck eggs, Christmas quiche, mayo, golden honey and dry rubs.

    Chicken Share: Their Chicken share runs for 20 weeks for a full share & 10 weeks for a half share and guarantees you a chicken each Saturday during your share time frame. 

    Winter Egg Share: Receive 2-dozen organic eggs twice a month.  

    Gift Certificates: These can be used to purchase organic chickens, organic eggs, and other products in season. If you want to shop from the comfort of your home they are offering free shipping for that special someone. They ship to the lower 48 states only, all others should call Holly and Chris at: 631.599.3394 for shipping information.

    Address: 4050 Soundview Avenue, Mattituck, New York. Hours: Fridays 3 - 5pm, Saturday & Sundays, Noon - 5pm.

    Bigalice Brewing: For $125 here is what you get for their Community Supported Brewery (CSB)
    Two new, empty half-growler bottles (each bottle holds 32 ounces), Two half-growler fills each month for 6 months; choose from any beer on tap, A Big Alice Brewing tote bag, 10% off merchandise and First opportunity to purchase special bottle releases.

    Address: 808 43rd Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101   Phone: 347.688.2337   Hours: Wed-Thurs, 5-9pm; Friday 5-10pm; Saturday, Noon-10pm; Sunday, Noon-8pm

    Moustache Brewing Co: For $150 here is what you get for their Growler of the Month Club: One 64oz Moustache Brewing Co. amber growler, One fill per month for a year in said growler, $1 off additional fills, Free birthday pint, 10% off all merchandise, Other perks and offers.

    Address: 400 Hallett Ave Riverhead, NY, 11901, Hours: Friday, 3-7pm; Saturday, 1-6pm; Sunday, 1-5pm
     
  10. Tend Coffee I have to admit, I'm a coffee snob. And I'm sure many of you would proclaim the same; coffee time is sacred to me and it needs to be good, real good. My first sip of this java jolt was at the Westhampton Farmers Market. Their coffee subscriptions are perfect for those with a refined coffee bean palate. Each subscription is based on pound, bean and grind.

    Address: 924 Montauk Highway, Shirley NY, 11967   Phone: 631.772.4707   Email: info@tendcoffee.com
    Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 6am-8pm; Sunday, 7am-7pm

Hail to the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin

The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin has had a complex since the 1960's. It has been pushed aside by the likes of it's curvaceous and—oh so sexy relative—the butternut squash, and glossed over by it's default pie-favorite neighbor, the sugar pumpkin; the name alone is cute. These winter squash go-to favorites seem to have been marked early on as, "most likely to succeed", "best bottom", and "biggest flirt", that easily moved them up the Cucurbita charts as squash Queen and King to join the biggest Jester of them all, the modernization of seed and food production. Pumpkin varieties like the Dickinson and Kentucky field pumpkins were preferred by farmers for their round shapes and smooth skins (easy roll off on conveyors and for easy peeling and processing for the canned pumpkin), unlike the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin that is squat in shape like a cheese rind (hence the name) with beige skin that has deep ridging. Sadly, the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin was not widely being grown and was not available through seed retailers.

But I'm here to say, "Hail to the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin", because it is making a come back.

In the late 1970's, Ken Ettlinger, a local seed saver, noticed the pumpkin had disappeared commercially from seed catalogs and farms. It was then that he began scouring farmstands and saving the seeds from select varieties. "Growing up on Long Island during the 1950's, I would pick up a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin from farmstands in Cutchoque, just before Thanksgiving for my mother to make a pie," says Ettlinger. "Anyone who grew up during that time was using the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin for pie."

If you want to learn more about the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium will be hosting their 2nd annual Seed Swap on February 13th at the Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead. There will be a panel discussion dedicated to the pumpkin, recipe demonstrations and much more.

My go-to squash for pie, pasta and risotto has always been butternut squash. I am now taking the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin pledge and can attest that this pumpkin reigns supreme. I have made gnocchi, stews, raw salads, pie and most recently, soup. The bright orange flesh is meaty (with less strings) and has a sweet nutty flavor. I made the soup with unsweetened coconut milk —in place of dairy—that gives it a silky taste and baked for depth of flavor. What to do with the seeds? Roast them as a garnish with cHarissa, brown sugar, salt and olive oil. They are addicting and may not even make it to the bowl.

This Thanksgiving, let's give thanks to the folks who are saving seeds, the farmers who are growing varieties that are on the verge of disappearing and to those who see beyond the surface, for what is inside is what really counts.

RECIPE: Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Soup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and set-aside. Lightly apply olive oil to flesh of pumpkin and bake until tender. Careful to not allow the pumpkin to burn (may need to cover with tinfoil)
  2. Once pumpkin is done let cool so it is easy to handle with your hands. Scoop out the flesh and set aside.
  3. Place a soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot and turnip.
  4. Once onion is translucent add the spices, salt and pumpkin pureé. Then add the stock and deglaze.
  5. With a hand immersion blender, blend until smooth. Then add the brown sugar and coconut oil and blitz again.
  6. This is where you may need to adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  7. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin olive oil.

    Note: If you do not have a hand-held immersion blender you can use a food processor or blender. Make sure the mixture is cool before you pureé.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, roasted
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium Milan turnip, chopped (any turnip would do)
  • 1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Pumpkin olive oil for garnish (okay if you do not have on hand)
     

RECIPE: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds                          

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from the bits and pieces of pumpkin flesh.
  3. Soak seeds in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to remove the remainder of the flesh. (do the best you can). Then strain the seeds from the water into a bowl.
  4. In that same bowl mix-in the olive oil, salt, cHarissa, and brown sugar. Then pour on a baking sheet.
  5. Cook until golden brown and fragrant.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of cHarissa
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar