About debbrunson

Terrified Tastebud: one physician's passion-fueled leap into the professional kitchen!

Relish Your Turnips

Along with classes, I’ve had the vastly entertaining part-time job of assuming the role of Farmers’ Market Manager for our school. It’s difficult to decide exactly which part of the deal makes its way into my favorites category:

Getting to know local farmers and purveyors of artisanal food products (like fine yoghurt and goat cheese)… meeting the well over a thousand market shoppers we have each week in Boulder… decorating the bi-fold chalkboard with ChalkInk markers and my ‘recipe of the week’… or actually creating and testing the recipe attempting to use as many local and seasonal ingredients as I can.

There is a bit of an artsy dork hiding- arguably not well- inside me, and you can’t possibly imagine how fun it is to decorate the chalk board each week! I remember as a teenager wanting to be ‘that guy’ who decorates sidewalk signs for cafés or paints holiday themes on store windows. Fake snow and all. Happy sigh~

But this week playing around in the kitchen with some surprisingly sweet fresh turnips has taken the cake. Or at least some crackers or chips. Or maybe even your favorite sandwich. This refreshingly earthy and sweet, not to mention guilt-free, turnip relish tastes exactly like spring and summer should.

The following recipe incorporates several Colorado products which I’d love for you to explore if you’re even remotely local. But for those incredibly loyal readers from around the globe (I truly do appreciate you!) here are a few descriptions to help you find a similar product hopefully a bit closer to home.

Haystack Queso de Mano Goat Cheese is a raw milk, aged firm cheese with a robust flavor that serves as a fine compliment to the sweet notes of the turnips

 

Noosa Honey Yoghurt is a lightly sweetened cow’s milk yoghurt made with Colorado honey and grass fed, happily roaming Colorado cows~ another happy sigh

 

Japanese sweet white turnips, also known as salad turnips, are literally sweet enough to be eaten like an apple. I did, actually. And of course, keep the greens for a quick sauté or a slow, Southern-style simmer.

Sweet Turnip Relish

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (about 6 large or 9 small) sweet white turnips coarsely chopped, greens removed
  • 1 cup Haystack Queso de Mano goat cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Noosa Honey Yoghurt
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 pinches of salt, or to taste

Method:

Combine all ingredients except salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Enjoy as a refreshing summer spread for crackers and chips, or as a condiment for burgers and sandwiches.

Yield: 2 cups (vegetarian, gluten free, nut free)

Dose of Humor & Candied Cashews

It’s infrequent that I attempt to delve into humor- or anything too poignantly personal- as the Terrified Tastebud. I don’t have a particularly profound reason. And I don’t have cable television at the moment, but I’m still pretty positive there’s a reality show (or fifty) out there that have much higher entertainment potential than my daily musings.

So breathe a sigh of relief… I’ll only dip my toes gingerly into humor today. And, of course, it has EVERYTHING to do with FOOD! You can even have some darn good cashews for snacking as you laugh if you have the very short list of ingredients and a few spare minutes. Feel free to jump now to SweetSourMoments‘ perfect Honey Sesame Roasted Cashew recipe and skip the rest of the dialogue. I promise I won’t mind a bit. Shoot… I won’t even know ;).

It’s been a little over a year that I’ve been a single adult, and the realization has struck me that sharing food from my kitchen has somehow become incredibly complicated. I’m not really sure how this happened.

I love to bake and cook (usually in that order) and generally end up in the kitchen when I’m sad or happy or stressed or excited or it’s raining and I can’t play outside. So, yes. Often. And unfortunately I lack a healthy serving of self control when it comes to sweets particularly. So I give food away. To neighbors. Coworkers. Sometimes random places where I do business. I love it.

Usually people are pretty glad to see me coming with a warm treat. And that’s still primarily the case. Most of my neighbors are happily paired couples and sharing with them is risk-free. Perfect!

But the entertaining twist has become apparent with single men. Of all ages much to my surprise. One of my neighbors is a young guy in his mid-twenties I’m guessing, and he seems to be hanging in a post-fraternity stage of life. That’s ok by me. As long as he eats; which he does. He’s had fresh bread stuffed in his mailbox, cookies, pies (not in the mailbox), candies… but I think it’s taken a full six months for him to realize I’m not the crazy condo lady, a decade his senior, trying to score a date. Really?

The other end of the spectrum was a gentleman at least twenty years my senior who misinterpreted my cookies. After a couple dinners that I thought were friendly gestures, I realized I’d given quite the wrong idea. Frick.

Just in the last week I’m fairly certain I’ve scared away a new friend- my age this time- by sharing one of my kitchen creation staples. Oops. He mentioned he ate this particular item almost everyday, so I figured he’s pretty close to an expert, right? I was curious how my own version compared to what he buys locally.

It felt innocent to me, but I’m just getting used to this new food-sharing phenomenon. My Maman always said “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” but now I’m wondering how to localize only to the stomach. Just stomach for now would be brilliant. Maybe she’ll have some words of wisdom here. Or perhaps you will? Have you ever scared someone with food?

Maybe I should write disclaimers to accompany the treats…

But enough of the food fear… if these little pics of cashews I made this afternoon have you tempted, check out the recipe here by SweetSourMoments. Her instructions are absolutely spot on. I used a silicone baking mat instead of foil to minimize stickiness, and if you’re an I-like-it-hot person, feel free to add a little cayenne.

And I just can’t help myself, but… tied up in a cute little bag they’d be a perfect little food share with a neighbor. Disclaimer attached~

Reconnection and Colorado Sunshine

For a few weeks, our class has officially traded the heat of gas burners and convection ovens for the warmth of a Colorado sunshine. I’ve also inadvertently traded a working internet for a non-working one, but that little challenge has finally been resolved. Grateful to be reconnected.

As much as I love the kitchen, I’ve found my own little heaven weeding row upon row of three-inch fledgling cucumber plants. There’s something innately satisfying with removing obstacles and encouraging life. It sounds melodramatic. But I’m finding it incredibly fun.

We’ve spent time at two local farms which have completely different approaches to agricultural production both within ethical and sustainable parameters. It’s fascinating. Mornings can be early and days could seem endless, but how often can I say “we planted 100 thousand lettuce seedlings today?” We did. And in about three weeks they’ll look like this.

I’ll continue to get my hands dirty for the next few weeks on a larger scale, and they’ll surely stay somewhat soiled playing in my patio garden for the rest of the season.

And amid the recipes and farmers’ market photos I may just drag you back onto the farm and into the sunshine another time or two…

Carrot Pizza

Formal class time in the kitchen is quickly approaching its end (yes, you are hearing a few sniffles), and we’ll be heading out to local farms soon. No sadness on that end: I’m ready to get my hands dirty and learn tricks from several ethically managed farms in the area.

But our past few days in the kitchen have been creative ones in which we’ve had a little room to play with local ingredients that happen to be available. Pizza day last week was one of the most fun, and a classmate of mine concocted an absolutely delicious vegetarian Carrot Pizza. I still can’t get it out of my head, so I figured it was time to share it with you.

He began by sweating chopped carrots and onions in a little oil or butter, simmered them in vegetable stock (or water) until tender, strained, and puréed them in a food processor yielding a silky smooth and sweet carrot ‘sauce’ base for his pizza. He finished it simply with julienne of various veggies, fresh basil and a little cheese. It was brilliant. I’m still craving it.

I would love to know your favorite and/or most creative pizza flavor combinations! I’d also love a really fantastic crust recipe if any of you have one…

So while you’re still thinking about pizza, here are a few pics of more traditional pies that made the Pizza Day cut…

Pear, bleu cheese, pecan and balsamic. The same version, sans the bleu cheese, is above for the non-bleu-cheesers of the group.

Traditional tomato sauce we’d made during our days exploring canning techniques, topped with mushrooms and prosciutto.

Pesto of mixed salad greens with just a little basil- still quite delicious- with sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella we made earlier that day.

Anchovy, onion, basil and sun dried tomatoes.

All the meats, with a few shrooms. I’m thinking this one was made in retaliation to the carrot pizza above which avoided animals altogether.

Caramelized onions, prosciutto and fresh basil finished with an egg.

Finals and a Nutella Pound Cake

The past few days have been consumed in the fun of both written finals and practical finals in the kitchen. Ok, so maybe taking a written final isn’t ‘fun’ exactly… but it sure wasn’t the torture of a quiz on pharmacokinetics or medical biochemistry.

And a practical final in the kitchen? Three hours and a mystery basket- yes, I was literally given an actual basket, straw woven with a cloth napkin lining… full of obligatory ingredients… I was almost giddy! Definitely an intense few hours- unfortunately without time for photos- but in the end I was pleased with the final platings. Huge sigh of relief.

It would be lovely to tell you that I made this incredible pound cake as a celebratory dessert. But in actuality, it was a beautiful distraction as I was in the midst of study. This pound cake recipe had been posted in the last week or so by Sammie in her blog Sweet Samsations. And the moment she told me the dark swirl of marbling was Nutella, I was smitten. Copy and paste. And buy Nutella.

If you’ve met Nutella, then I don’t need to write another word. If you haven’t, it is the most glorious concoction of hazelnut and cocoa you’ll ever taste. Then why did I have to go buy Nutella for this cake? For nothing short of complete lack of restraint, I am no longer allowed to keep Nutella in my living space. Self imposed rule, of course, but strict nonetheless. Consider yourself warned.

And as for pound cakes… I think they get the short end of the dessert stick. With elaborately decorated cupcakes, trendy cake-pops and multi-layered confections, the pound cakes our grandmothers baked may seem less than glamorous. But there is something so comforting and nostalgic about a well-made pound cake. Moist, buttery and rich. And classic with a glass of milk or cup of coffee.

I’m fairly certain it’s hard to mess up a pound cake. Especially one containing Nutella. And fortunate for us, Sammie has already done all the work to tweak this recipe to marbled cocoa hazelnut perfection. Find her recipe here: Nutella Marble Poundcake. Make one in a bundt pan as I did or an angel food pan as she did, or even a classic loaf. Eat a slice (or two or three) and share the rest. You and someone else will both be glad you did~