A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rutabagas in Disguise

My annual rutabaga "roast and freeze" consists of peeling and cubing one large rutabaga, roasting it and freezing it in 1-cup portions.  Here is the roasted rutabaga:

And here is the story behind why there is one and why I disguise it:

Being of Norwegian heritage on my mother's side, rutabagas were always represented at traditional holiday meals.  I tried to continue the tradition, but the bowl of rutabagas on my holiday table would be returned to the kitchen with nary a spoonful gone.  Noses were turned-up at the suggestion to my kids that they at least have a little taste.  My conviction that all seasonal foods should make at least one appearance at the table, and be tried at least once, forced me to pull a fast one with the rutabagas.  I mixed a combo:  squash, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and a little rutabaga.  Add a hunk of butter, a heavy pinch of brown sugar and a light sprinkling of nutmeg.  Called it "Squash Bake" and a family favorite was born.   The actual recipe is as follows:
Disguised Rutabaga   aka  Squash Bake    Serves 12-20 
1 med-large butternut squash
1 med acorn squash
1 small pumpkin, preferrably small pie pumpkin
2 large potatoes (peel, cube and boil and mash)
2 sweet potatoes (peel, cube and boil and mash)
1/2-1 cup cooked, mashed rutabaga
Cut squash and pumpkin in half, scoop seeds and lightly coat with cooking oil.  Place flat side down on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 until flesh feels soft when pushing finger against outside skin.  Remove each half as it is done.
When all squash and pumpkin are cooked, let cool slightly and pull off skin.  Mash all together, either with a potato masher and strong arm or a large bowl and mixer.  Place in large baking dish or roasting pan.  Bury small hunks of butter throughout, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and then a light dusting of nutmeg.  Add salt and pepper.  Return to oven at 350 and bake until heated, stirring halfway through.  Note:  This can be made ahead, put in the pan and refrigerated until baking.

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