Friday, October 26, 2007

Wait...There's Still Something Growing... my garden! I haven't talked about the garden since it pretty much tanked, but there are a few treasures still in there. I have some brussels sprouts going that I'm really waiting for it to hard frost a few more times before they'll be ready. I have just a few small beets that survived the fall planting, and I have last night's addition to dinner:Turnips! I happen to be one of those strange people who enjoy eating turnips, especially raw and sliced like an apple. The first time I tried growing turnips was in Mom's garden. We planted them in the late spring with everything else. Turns out that's not the time to plant turnips. When they grow in the heat of summer they get spicy and bitter, and they bolt to seed quickly. Oh, we planted so many turnips then, and mostly they just went to waste. This time I planted turnips in August and I've been very patient with them. The few heat spells we had slowed them down a bit, but for the most part, they've been slowly growing, and I figured it had frosted just enough times to sweeten them up.

I picked a handful last night and was not disappointed. They are almost as sweet as an apple. Delightful to eat raw, but I wanted to do something with them for dinner. I searched and hunted and really didn't find too many recipes for turnips, and many of the ones I did find were for mashed turnips. I didn't want to mash them, so that was out. I decided to create my own, and sliced the turnips up for a version of Turnip Gratin. I'm afraid there's no recipe, but on the off-chance that someone else is looking for something to do with turnips, here is my method.

I began with an olive oil bechamel. You can read my detailed post about bechamel here if you need to know how to make a bechamel. To the bechamel I added about 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, and a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg, salt and plenty of black pepper. While this simmered on the stove, I sliced my turnips into slices and sprayed a baking dish with Pam. Then I layered the slices into the pan- nothing fancy, just evenly. I poured the bechamel over the top of the turnips, rapping the dish to get the bechamel to surround all the turnips, and then I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top. This baked and bubbled in a 350ºF oven for about an hour, and then I let it rest for about 10 minutes before diving in.

It was pretty good, the thyme and nutmeg were perfect with the sweet turnips, and I daresay that the next time I may add some apple slices to the turnips. Strange as that may sound, I think it would pair perfectly. Overall though I was very pleased with the turnip gratin and I'm looking forward to figuring out what to do with the remaining turnips.

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