Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cinnamon Turnips

Although serving a chilled vegetable dish, as described in my last blog "Spicy Tomato and Corn Salad," in the wintertime is a chef's faux pas, serving warm vegetables, especially those seasoned with a good wintry spice like nutmeg or cinnamon, is a definite do. And this recipe for Turnip Casserole will definitely help complete any winter meal you're serving to guests, family, or just yourself.

I had found a recipe in a vegetarian cookbook, given to me by my mother, for a winter vegetable cobbler that just sounded too good to be true, but the grocery stores here in Richmond, Ky., weren't exactly catering to my recipe's needs. I needed rutabaga, and Wal-Mart, Kroger, Save-a-Lot, and Meijer all did not offer rutabaga. After reading about rutabaga substitutes on the Internet, I purchased four turnips at Meijer. However, I had a trouble keeping all the ingredients I needed for my cobbler--I kept using them all for smaller recipes. Finally, worrying that my turnips were aging too much, I did an Internet search for a recipe that would use them, and came across the "turnip casserole" recipe I hyperlinked above.

Not to knock the author, but I was a little aggravated that this was called a "casserole." There's nothing "casserole"-y about it--it's just freaking seasoned turnips. So I Googled "turnip casserole," and to my surprise found the same picture, and I think the same recipe author, on another website; this time, though, she had added in bread crumbs, apples, and nutmeg, which I guess is closer to satisfying the necessities of a "casserole." Having just made apple dumplings, I was fresh out of apples, though, so I went back to the very naked recipe I'd originally found, though, thinking to myself, "Why not? I don't even think I like turnips."

Yes, I wasn't sure if I liked turnips before--but I definitely know I do now. Turnips, whether mashed or cubed for a casserole, with cinnamon is an excellent combination, like eggplant and mozzarella or tomato and cucumber. It's so delicious. I made this with a broccoli cheese casserole and stuffed celery for dinner one night, and it was the most delightful, flavorful dinner I'd had in ages. It was very warm, very soft, and very tasty--and it's now a permanent wintertime staple in my kitchen.

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