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Monday, December 23, 2013

A Holiday Garden Side-Dish Turn-ip’ed

David Tanis sums up the whole kitchen and cooking scene best. “Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.” 

So let’s give this tasty turnip recipe a whirl. It works well for the traditional Christmas dinner or a healthy side dish for a winter party. Even if you aren’t much of a turnip fan, this tasty concoction of turnip, cheese and pears is one to recommend. Who would have thought? This kitchen epiphany knocks any other turnip dish out of the park. Even if you aren’t a gorgonzola fan, you won’t know such a strong cheese is one of the ingredients at all. You could give it your own signature and swirl with a different cheese or spice but just in case you like to follow straight by the book, what you'll need and directions below. Proportion wise – it serves 6-8. So double up if there’s more to feed. 

1 lb. turnips, peeled and cut in half
1 lb. pears, peeled and cored
½ cup minced shallots
2 tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
¼ cup (1oz) gorgonzola cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash nutmeg


Place turnip in a vegetable steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 15-20 minutes or until turnips are tender. Set turnips aside. Place pears in steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 5-10 minutes or until pears are tender. 

Sautee shallots in butter in a small skillet until tender. Transfer shallot mixture to container of an electric blender or food processor. Add half the turnips, half the pears, and 2 tablespoons cheese; cover and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Repeat this procedure until all is well blended. Sprinkle turnip mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; serve hot or chilled. 

If you want a piece of trivia to share with your dish, the original Jack-o’-Lantern was carved out of a turnip, not a pumpkin. Different time of year and holiday but just in case you need some lively chew and chat.

Image by Ann Bilowz ©

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)