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It’s that time of year when the soil lays barren.  My once bountiful garden now adorns a light snow coating, yet there are still some veggies in the height of their season!  Rutabaga, beets, turnips and carrots, all root vegetables can be harvested much later into the season since they grow deep in the soil and can retain heat more readily.  However, they must be harvested before the soil begins to frost, so late November to early December would be ideal.

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But anyways, the main point of this whole lesson is that we can and should eat seasonally even in the dead of winter!  We are spoiled with the year round endless selection of fruits and vegetables at our grocery stores, yet we have to think about where do those tomatoes and green beans come from? No Jersey Fresh corn in Mid-winter.  And I am not saying tomatoes and corn are not healthy, they definately are and I eat them year round too. However, I am trying to become more conscious about my food and where it comes from and who picks it and are they being treated well and how does it all affect the environment? Because unlike many centuries ago where a person would till the soil from which they ate, I have become so removed from the whole system and I feel it is time that I try to learn and get closer to my food by eating seasonally and meeting the farmers who raise the chicken I will roast.

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Ok but now to the veggies! And what bright, wonderful veggies these are!  If you have never tasted a rutabaga don’t fret, I had never tasted one either before I roasted these up!  And I am never going back.  It has an earthy, yet sweet tang that is unlike anything else I had ever tried.  The consistency was perfect, a nice bite, yet not too tough.  And the beets gave the whole plate a beautiful color.

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The creamy sautéed spinach dip worked perfectly with the tangy, earthy veggies.  Yet there is no cream at all in the spinach dip, just some milk!  It’s amazing how veggies can be so creamy and delicious.  

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Before Roasting

Ok so I was going to have a second recipe here for baked root vegetable chips, yet I had quite an accident with the mandolin.  USE CAUTION when using a mandolin people! Wear gloves or use the handle thing, cuz that is a death trap i swear!  I was just slicing the rutabaga on the mandolin, almost at the last slice when, ttszstszts.  Catastrophe struck.  Instead of a slice of beautiful rutabaga, was a slice off the skin of my thumb.  To tell you it hurt would be quite an understatement.  After hours of pulsing pain and endless bleeding I went to the emergency room.  Never again am I using a mandolin without a grasper or a metal glove (if such things exist). (Or I could have one of those metal sheet shields in the form of a glove which the hobbits wear in the Lord of The Rings, which protect them against any and all possible attacks…absolutely necessary).

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After Roasting

So I only have this one recipe since I tainted the root vegetable chips.  But no worries, this is a killer recipe.  You can have it as a snack, appetizer for a party or even part of your dinner with a nice side of brown rice.  And it is extremely healthy. If I haven’t already convinced you to try rutabaga then this will do it…one cup of this crazy root supplies more than half your daily need for vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, fiber and only 66 calories.  Tell that to your new years resolution.

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Roasted Root Vegetables with Sautéed Spinach Dip

(Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients*

Roasted Root Vegetables

  • 2 red beets, peeled and cubed**
  • 1/2 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bushel of small carrots, washed, stems removed
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

Sautéed Spinach Dip

  • 1 bunch spinach leaves plus the greens from the beets, washed****
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (skim, 1% or whatever you have)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish***
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Roasted Root Vegetables

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Add chopped beets, rutabaga and carrots to a bowl with balsamic vinegar, olive oil salt and pepper
  4. Pour the mixture on the lined baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until fork tender (anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on how small or large you chopped)

Sautéed Spinach Dip

  1. Steam the spinach and beet greens for a minute or two, drain and chop well
  2. Add a sprinkle of olive oil and the minced garlic to a sauté pan, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach and beet greens and milk and cook until the spinach has absorbed the milk, about 5 minutes.
  4. Take off from heat add the parmesan, horseradish and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper
  5. Place mixture in a blender, add lemon juice and blend until smooth.

Notes

  • * Try to get as many of your ingredients from local sources.  Co-ops, farms if you live near one, a CSA box. 
  • **Cubed means to cut the vegetables into dice sized cubes.  The larger the dices are the longer you will have to roast the vegetables.
  • ***Totally ok to omit this is you don’t like it or don’t have it! it will still taste wonderful
  • ****Yes you can eat the greens from the beets! Just cut out the tough middle section and through them in with the rest of the spinach
  • The sautéed spinach mixture could also definitely be used as a sauce for pasta, a spread on a sandwich or would be delicious on a whole grain pita chip as a snack.  Seriously good stuff, and good for you.

Alright guys well I hope you try this.  If your not up for this whole schpeal then maybe you could try something new, maybe going to a local farm, or co-op.  Trying to find some fresh produce in the dead of winter.  And if you do let me know about it!

 

 

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