Rutabagas. I received two in the CSA this week. I had no idea what to do with them, but I was determined not to let them go to waste. I turned to the internet to figure out what people do with them. I discovered a Finnish dish called Lanttulaatiko. I have no idea what it translates into, but it is seems to be essentially a rutabaga casserole. Here is my take on it:
- Two medium rutabagas
- Two carrots
- One egg
- 1/2 cup of bread or cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup of milk
- salt and pepper
- One TBSP of butter
Peel and chop the rutabagas and carrots. Put them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until it covers the vegetables by an inch or so. Generously salt the water. Bring pot to a boil and continue to boil the veggies until soft, around 25 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, in another bowl beat an egg with the milk. Add the bread or cracker crumbs, and allow them to soak up the milk/egg mixture. (I had wanted to use bread crumbs, but I had used the last of them on the meatloaf I was making at the same time. I found some buttery crackers still sealed in their tube in the pantry. I think they were from the last time we had company at the house. I crunched them up and threw them in the egg.)
Once the rutabagas are soft drain and return to pot. Then mash them until they look like lumpy mashed potatoes. Pour in the milk, egg, and crumbs and mix together. Salt and Pepper to taste. Then pour the entire thing into a greased baking dish.
Dot the top with several pats of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. My cinnamon kind of exploded out of the jar on the first shake. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
Once out of the oven allow it to cool slightly, and then dish it up. We enjoyed this quite a bit. It may end up on our Thanksgiving table. It could be served as a main course or a side dish.
This food experiment starts with our “As Seen on TV” Goodwill find. A couple weeks ago we purchased a nearly new pasta machine with all the attachments. It was a whole $2.50. After a few trial runs we finally figured out how to create our own pasta.
Anyway… here’s the recipe:
1. cut an acorn squash in half, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Around 45 minutes.
While the squash is roasting make your pasta- or cook up your ready made pasta.
When the Squash is done scoop the insides out and puree with a little milk.
Now its on to the sauce. We used two very different cheeses, both from Appleton Creamery. One is an aged raw sheep cheese, and the other a soft cow’s cheese. Shred the sheep cheese which will make about two cups, or three handfuls.
Dice a medium shallot. In a medium sauce pan melt 4 TBSP of butter. Toss in the shallot and cook in the butter for a few minutes. Add about 4 TBSP of flour. Whisk the flour, butter, and shallot. Add the squash puree. Add 3-4 cups of milk, continue whisking. Add the soft cheese and two handfuls of the shredded cheese.
When the cheese has melted mix the cooked or fresh pasta in the cheese, and pour into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle remaining handful of cheese on the top and bake for 20 minutes at 400.
B has been wanting to experiment with cheese making. He has been doing a lot of research on the internet, reading Mother Earth News and the Lehman’s catalog.
Today we went to the State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockport in hopes of finding rennet and other cheese making supplies. Unfortunately, they had sold out of some of their supplies, and we went home empty handed.
B then found several recipes for Ricotta that didn’t require rennet. He got everything he needed at the Common Market just up the road. Normally, Ricotta is made from the whey of mozzarella, but the recipes B found were not.
Ingredients for Ricotta cheese are a half gallon of milk, a splash of cream, three tablespoons of lemon or three tablespoons of vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt.
Start by juicing the lemon. It has to be real lemon juice, not something from concentrate. Set aside.
Then pour half gallon of whole milk into a large pot. Add a splash of cream if you want. Heat the milk to 200 degrees or until it comes to a simmer.
Then add salt and lemon juice.
Continue to stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes after the curds start forming. Then pour mixture into a colander lined with cheese clothe which is set into a large bowl.
Let the whey drain out. You may need to do a lot of gentle squeezing once its cool enough to touch. The whey has several uses. Use it as a base for soup, feed your animals, etc.
This week we received corn, purple potatoes, squash, cucumber, goat cheese, a hard, raw cow’s cheese, salad mix, carrots, cauliflower, onion, cherry tomatoes, sheep’s milk cheese, and the large plant in the back is a cut soybean plant. I had to pick the beans off myself.
Last Thanksgiving we helped out our community center by doing prep work for a town wide thanksgiving. My husband had the unfortunate job of trying to hack apart several donated hubbard squash. After several attempts with various knives and many cuts and blisters, he used a machete to bust those puppies open.
This spring I came upon a single hubbard squash seedling. I picked it up as a joke. As I put it into the ground, B asked, “Is that a pumpkin?” “No,” I answered and handed him the tag. “Oh no! I can’t believe you bought that! Seriously? Hubbard Squash?” I smiled, my joke had gone as planned…or had it?
Within just a few weeks this tiny seedling had taken over a large section of my squash patch. It climbed out of the bed and into the yard. We had to buy a new section of fence just so we could mow the grass. In the other direction it climbed up a trellis and into the tomatoes. The hubbard and pole beans developed some strange symbiotic relationship and wrapped around each other quite happily.
Today we cut two squash off this single plant, and there are more coming.
My daughter couldn’t even lift the larger one. These behemoths are currently taking up most of the counter space in our kitchen while I try to figure out what I’m going to do with them. Luckily, they last forever, and I absolutely love squash. I will conquer them.
This week we received: red potatoes, shallots, onion, turnip greens, cherry and large tomatoes, basil, zephyr squash, beets, and green pepper. The cheeses were a dill cheddar, chipotle goat cheese spread, and chevre in olive oil and basil.
We have been getting a lot of basil. So much that until today we hadn’t even harvested the basil growing in our garden. We have one lone basil plant. We end up with a small basil plant every year, but other than a couple last minute meals we don’t use it much. I don’t even remember where we bought this little plant. I wasn’t expecting much, but this one has proved me wrong. It is so happy where I absentmindedly dropped it into the ground that the center of the plant is like a tree trunk. We spent the last part of the afternoon making pesto and freezing it.
This was just some of the basil we cut from the humongous basil plant.