Monday, July 14, 2014

Carrots and Turnips with Marsala

This recipe gives me an opportunity to introduce a few interesting ingredients:
  • Marsala wine - a fortified wine from Sicily. It has a wonderful nutty flavor. It's fairly inexpensive and because it is fortified with brandy (and sometimes sugar), it lasts forever. I used a dry Marsala, which is an aperitif, but sweet Marsala is also made and served as a dessert wine. Marsala is the primary flavoring in Zabaglione, a silky, frothy egg custard dessert, and one of the great Italian sweets.
  • Walnut oil - full of delicious walnut flavor, it can be used for cooking, as a salad oil, or as a finishing oil, like a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. And like extra-virgin olive oil or butter, it can handle medium-high heat cooking. A great source of healthy fats, so I like it to use it instead of butter in many recipes where the flavor of olive oil is too savory. Walnut oil is expensive, about twice as expensive as butter, which isn't exactly cheap either. But, if you can fit a bottle in your budget, and use it sparingly, it packs a lot of flavor per penny. 
  • Turnips - Not the most popular vegetable in the garden. They have an earthy flavor which is most pronounced in bigger turnips like rutabagas. I prefer the smaller purple topped turnips that show up in the Boulder Farmers' Market in early summer. From a good family, the Brassicas, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbages.
We're going to put all these together with some carrots - their sweetness balances the earthiness of the turnips - to make a delicious and unusual vegetable side dish.

Carrots and Turnips with Marsala
(makes 4-6 servings)

4 medium carrots
12 oz. purple-topped turnips
2 Tablespoons walnut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dry Marsala
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (about 4 sprigs) or more
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Peel the carrots and turnips. Cut the carrots into thick sticks about 3" long. Cut the turnips in half and then slice into half-moons. Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover over medium heat. Add the carrots and turnips and toss to coat in oil. Sprinkle with the salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Marsala and cover the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes until the wine has evaporated and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and black pepper. Serve hot.

Adapted from 1000 Italian Recipes by Michele Scicolone, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Granola

My breakfast: granola with strawberries and yogurt. Yum!

As I said last year, the low-sugar granola recipe is one of the most popular here. Here's yet another version of this: apple-cinnamon. Boosted the cinnamon a bit, added a touch of powdered ginger, dried apples, and raisins, though like my dear friend Deb, I like to add the dried fruit as I eat it, so I can eat what I feel like that day.

Apple Cinnamon Granola
(serves about 8-10)

3 cups rolled oats (not quick or instant)
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup honey, heated in the microwave until pourable
1 cup silvered or sliced almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
a large pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup diced dried apples
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, honey and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Dump onto a large rimmed cookie sheet. Don't clean out of the bowl; you'll be using it again. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes so that it browns evenly. Keep an eye on it near the end of baking so that it doesn't burn. Transfer the hot granola from the cookie sheet back to the bowl. Drizzle on the vanilla and stir. Allow to cool and mix in the dried fruit. Store in a cool, dry place.