seasonal recipes + all things cozy
It’s officially Eatin’ Season.
So pull on your stretchy pants, haul your favorite, most lived-in sweater out of storage, and let’s do this!
Rutabaga + Apple Puree
Time to become acquainted with this oft-forgotten root vegetable.
Rutabagas feel old-fashioned to me — in the best way! I grew up on my Mom’s rutabaga and mashed potato combo, never to have them again, until… now. I’ve been eyeballing them in recent years with renewed interest, and finally decided to see if my memory of them matched up with my adult palate. This nutritious member of the Brassicaceae family (including broccoli, cauliflower & kale) is a robustly flavored cross between cabbage and turnips. Rutabagas have a reputation for being on the bitter side, but I’ve added shallots and apple to soften the flavor and add some complexity. We’re finding this light and silky puree to be the perfect foil for roast chicken.
1 can full-fat coconut milk - preferably additive free
2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 good-sized shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Honeycrisp apple, (or similar) peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (added at the very end)
Optional garnish: crispy shallots — you’ll need an extra shallot
To peel the rutabaga, start by cutting a slice off the top and the bottom. Next, slice it in half so it’s easier to handle. Cut away the rest of the thick skin, and any spots that are especially tough, as they can be bitter. Cut into 1/2 inch dice and add them with the coconut milk to a 3 quart (or larger) saucepan and turn the heat to high.
Add the shallot, apple, garlic, sage and salt to the saucepan. Note that you will not add the nutmeg until later. Give it all a quick stir, and cover. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 35 minutes — this will depend on the size of your dice.
Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add the fresh nutmeg and blend again until combined. Check the seasoning - you may want to add a bit more salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crispy shallots, and freshly ground black pepper, if you like.
Crispy shallots: peel a shallot, and slice it either lengthwise into thin matchsticks, or crosswise into thin rings. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced shallots to a small (cold) sauté pan. Sauté on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until they’re golden all the way through. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer the shallots from the oil onto a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with pink salt while they’re still hot. They will crisp up once cool.
Notes: I like to simmer root veg in coconut milk instead of water to retain all the flavor and nutrients instead of pouring them down the drain. If you’ve ever used an immersion blender to make mashed potatoes, you know it turns them to glue. Not to worry, that’s not the case with rutabagas! Trader Joe’s coconut milk is free of additives and thickening agents - the same is true of this brand.
Fresh Cranberry Relish w/Cherries + Cardamom
An alternative to the usual cranberry concoctions.
I’ve been on cranberry watch since early October. Each year, I’m keenly aware that we have three short months with these crimson beauties, so I’m already deep into enjoying them in any form possible! In a sea of heavy Thanksgiving dishes, this light crisp relish bursts with flavor and brings balance to the mix. It pairs perfectly with the obvious, turkey, but also complements roast chicken and pork loin.
12-ounce package of fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
scant 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
Make this a day ahead so flavors have a chance to meld.
Rinse and pick over your cranberries, then pat them dry with a paper towel so they don't make the relish too juicy. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until use.
Easiest-ever way to turn this relish into a weeknight salad: baby kale or baby romaine (lightly tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with flake salt) + shredded rotisserie chicken + red onion (thinly shaved on a mandolin) topped with a generous scoop of cranberry relish.
Gingerbread Energy Balls
Because who doesn’t love gingerbread.
Mmm, fresh ginger with its characteristic warmth makes these balls a little… extra! I decided to omit the molasses, which is traditionally used in gingerbread because I didn’t want you to be stuck with a whole jar of it. You can store energy balls in the fridge if you plan to consume them within a week, but having some parked in the freezer is a solid snacking strategy. Their fat content keeps them from freezing solid, so you can grab one anytime the mood strikes. And when properly protected from freezer aromas, they’ll hold up for months.
10 Medjool dates, pits and woody ends removed
1 cup (well stirred) almond butter, made with roasted almonds
1 packed tablespoon freshly grated ginger - grated on a microplane
2 level teaspoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon Himalyan pink salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the dates are broken down and everything is well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides, as needed. Don’t over process, or the oils will separate and the mixture will become greasy. Roll into balls. Using this cookie scoop will yield 15 balls. Transfer them to an airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze. I store them in these glass Weck jars, paired with these lids. Optional: freezing the balls on a parchment-lined plate for an hour before transferring to a storage container will help them hold their shape.
If you store your ginger in the freezer, you will always have some at the ready. And when you grate frozen ginger, it’s fluffy and free of all the fibrous bits that usually gum-up your microplane. Be sure to freshen all the surface areas before using it, by giving it a light shave with a vegetable peeler.
I use the large plump Medjool dates available at Costco. Transferring your dates to an airtight container before storing in the fridge, will prevent them from drying out.
I’d love to hear from you! Did you make any of the recipes from my last newsletter… which ones excite you most this month… and how can I make this newsletter more enjoyable and more useful? Please leave me a comment or question, below.
Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends in food - x