Hello Rootabaga Subscribers,
This week we have some special recipes to share inspired by Valentine’s Day coming up. It’s always nice to make a tasty meal for yourself or people you love! I experimented with a seasonal twist on a classic dish – scalloped potatoes. In your bags this week are the ingredients to make Scalloped Turnip and Kohlrabi, which pairs wonderfully with simple lemon and herb baked salmon. And to really wow your valentine, finish the meal with a Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake. I’ll share the recipes below, but first, in the small share this week we have:
Kale – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Turnip – Noggins Corner Farm, conventionally-grown
Red Cabbage – Taproot Farms, certified organic
Bosc Pears – Noggins Corner Farm, conventionally-grown
Onions – Noggins Corner Farm, conventionally-grown
Yukon Potatoes – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
Super Sweet Carrots – Elmridge Farm, spray-free
The large share has all the above, and also includes:
Full bunch of kale instead of half
2 ½lb of turnip instead of 2lbs
Pea Shoots – Taproot Farms, certified organic
Delicata Squash – Taproot Farms, certified organic
If kohlrabi is new to you, you can check out this previous Uprooted blog post on kohlrabi to get some tips on how to prepare it: https://www.uprootedmarketcafe.ca/2023/01/12/rootabaga-january-14-2023-kohlrabi-recipes/.
And a note on Bosc pears, they’re a firmer variety than other pears grown in Nova Scotia. If you wait for them to be completely soft like you might with a Bartlett pear, they will likely be too far gone. Instead, watch for the tip of the pear near the stem to start to wrinkle. That’s a good indicator they’re ripe and ready to eat. The firmer texture makes them great for baking or poaching as the crisp texture holds up well to heat, though they slice beautifully to eat raw as well.
To make your Valentine’s meal you’ll start with making the Scalloped Turnip and Potatoes. I’ve found that eating seasonally and locally often means recreating traditional recipes but with seasonal ingredients. It was fun switching up the flavour of this dish with the addition of turnips. I consulted this recipe (https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spicy-scalloped-rutabagas-parsley) and the Joy of Cooking recipe for Scalloped Potatoes before settling on this method. Here is the recipe:
- 2 lbs of turnip
- 2 lbs of Potatoes
- 2 small onions
- 1 ¼ cup milk or cream - I used Knoydart Grass-fed Whole Milk for a lighter but still creamy option
- Cheddar cheese or parmesan - I used Knoydart medium cheddar which is slightly sharp and pleasantly rich
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3-6 tablespoons of butter
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Prepare the turnip and potatoes by peeling the skin and trimming off the ends. Slice the turnip lengthwise in half then thinly slice the turnip into half rounds about an ⅛ of an inch thick. Slice the potatoes into ⅛ of an inch rounds. When the water is boiling add the turnip and potatoes and boil for 5-10 minutes until they are just starting to soften. Drain the veggies.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of butter. Fry the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, salt, and pepper. Stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To assemble the casserole, layer half the turnip and half the potatoes in a casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Between each vegetable layer sprinkle some flour and dot some butter. Pour half of the milk/onion mixture into the dish. Repeat with the other half of the vegetables and finish with the rest of the milk. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a fork pierces the turnips easily.
- Remove the foil and top the casserole with ½ to 3⁄4 cup of cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it! I find a little can go a longer way with quality cheese like Knoydart’s). Change the oven setting to broil and broil for 5-10 minutes (watching closely as to not burn it) until the cheese is melted and the top begins to brown.
This side dish is versatile enough that it could accompany many things well, like Snowy River pork chops or baked Cogmagun chicken breasts, but I recommend oven baked Afishionado salmon filets with a simple recipe like this: https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/best-easy-healthy-baked-salmon/. The creamy scalloped vegetables are the perfect pair to lemony herb salmon and makes for a special and delicious home cooked meal.
We all know a Valentine’s feast must be completed with a decadent dessert! Wanting to showcase the Bosc winter pears, I found this recipe for a Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Pears: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-pear-cake. It also happens to be gluten-free if you’re serving someone sensitive to gluten. I followed the recipe exactly, but it’s written for an English/European audience so I will share my substitutions and gram conversions (though the recipe will be more accurate if you use a scale):
- 85 grams chocolate = all but one row of a 100g Camino chocolate bar (I used Camino 70% Dark Chocolate, I recommend a good quality chocolate and this one is Fair Trade)
- 85 grams butter = 6 tablespoons
- 85 grams golden caster sugar = 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (I used 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the remainder white sugar, since caster sugar, a middle grind between granulated white sugar and icing sugar, isn’t commonly sold in Canada).
- 85 grams hazelnuts = ½ cup plus approximately a tablespoon or 0.65 cups. I bought a 100g bag of hazelnuts and used all but a small handful.
Another note is to make sure the egg whites are truly beaten to a soft peak, meaning when you lift the beater a defined peak is formed but shortly after falls back on itself. Otherwise the cake won’t have enough structure.
I used a 9 inch spring-form pan and baked the cake at 350 degrees, on a medium-low rack. Check the cake for doneness at 25 minutes. You’re looking for a toothpick to come out clean. The recipe says to check for the pears to be soft, but Bosc pears won’t soften when cooked as much as other varieties. My cake needed 5 minutes more but ovens vary and you don’t want to over cook it.
Once the cake is cooled, dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. This cake is moist, light, and not overly sweet. The juicy pears, hazelnuts, and dark chocolate makes for a relatively simple yet indulgent tasting dessert!
Thank you for joining us for a seasonally-inspired home-cooked Valentine’s day feast! If you make either dish and would like to share photos please tag us @uprootedmarketcafe, we would love to see.
Until next week,