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Fall salads are different from the ones we make in summer. In summer, the goal, at least for me, is to keep the oven off and the dressing light. When cooler weather comes around, I use:

–heavier, spicier greens like mustard, kale, and cabbage in addition to lettuce;

–cooked ingredients—roasted carrots, butternut squash, and beets, boiled potatoes

–raw veggies like sliced radish, cauliflower and broccoli florets

–chunks of cheese



–grains, such as quinoa, farro, orzo

–fall fruit: fresh and dried apples, pears, and grapes; orange and grapefruit

And the dressinngs are heavier and spicier as well, often heated. Here are two of them:

WARM CIDER VINAIGRETTE (from the Food Network(

¾ cup apple cider or apple juice

2 tbs cider vinegar

2 tbs minced shallots

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.


1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until completely combined.

TAHINI-SOY SAUCE (based on a recipe from Terra Brockman)

Combine ¼ cup tahini paste, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tbs chopped garlic, 1 tsp lemon juice ad hot pepper to taste.


I’m always happy to get daikons.

–Slice them thinly and layer into sandwiches; smoked turkey with daikon and egg salad with daikon are two possibilities.

–Make slices a bit thicker and use them as crudités; they are great with hummus ad techina

–Shred them; peel, cut into chunks and put them in food processor. Whirl for just a few seconds. Throw them into or eat as a side dish. One of my favorite salads is bok choy, watercress, shredded daikon with the tahini-soy sauce above.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Daikon with Crisp Tofu (Mark Bittman)

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

This has everything you want in a stir-fry: delicious bok choy, with its wonderfully creamy stems; sharp daikon radish; crusty pan-fried tofu; and a load of spice.

Tempeh, the nutty fermented soybean cake, also goes beautifully with bok choy. If you want to use it in place of the tofu, crumble it into the hot oil and stir until it’s crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.

1 head bok choy

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 block firm tofu (about 1 pound), cut into 1?4-inch slices and patted dry

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 or 2 fresh hot chiles (like jalapeño or Thai), seeded and minced

8 ounces daikon radish, cut into 1?4-inch coins

2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

Black pepper

1. Cut the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Trim the stems as necessary, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and keep them separate from the stems.

2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, slide in the tofu, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook until the bottoms are crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes; carefully  flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes on the other side. When the tofu slices are done, transfer them to paper towels to drain.

3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile and cook, stirring, for just 1 minute. Add the bok choy stems and daikon and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just lose their crunch, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the bok choy leaves and about 1?2 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the stems and radish are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes; add a little more water if necessary. Return the tofu to the pan, stir in the soy sauce, and sprinkle with black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.



½ lb. carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1½ lbs. small daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. plus ¼ cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. white vinegar

1. In a bowl, combine the carrots, daikon, salt, and 1 tsp. sugar. Let sit until the vegetables have wilted slightly and liquid pools at the bottom of the bowl, about 30 minutes. Drain vegetables; rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer vegetables to a medium bowl.

2. Whisk together the remaining sugar, the vinegar, and ½ cup warm water and pour mixture over the vegetables. Stir to combine. Set mixture aside to let marinate for at least 1 hour or refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 4 weeks.

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The last time we got celery in our shares, I pooh-poohed it. The celery we get from Stoneledge is not the kind we see in the supermarket, with giant stalks. And in past years, our celery has been flavorful, but stringy, leafy, and with small ribs. But the celery we got a few weeks ago was great, big and juicy and perfect for all kinds of recipes as well as stock.And we’re getting it again this week. Mark Bittman provided a comprehensive guide to using celery a few years ago and I can’t wait to try some of them:


His interactive recipe guide is here:



I’m going to roast my cauliflower in slices (not breaking it into florets as the recipes suggests); I’ll use some of it in this salad and I’ll mix some with olives, nuts, and capers for another day.

Roasted Cabbage & Cauliflower Salad With Peanut Dressing
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 head of cabbage,thinly sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 (15oz) can chickpeas – or 2 cups of homemade beans, warmed

1/4 cup green onions or chives, sliced (optional)

Peanut Sauce

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup cup hot water

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.

2. Place cauliflower and cabbage onto a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for 30 minutes or until cabbage and cauliflower are browned.

3. Meanwhile, mix together peanut sauce and set aside. You can add more water to thin the dressing if needed.

4. Once cauliflower and cabbage are done, let cool for a few minutes then mix cauliflower, cabbage and chickpeas together. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

5. Serve over grain of choice or greens and drizzle with peanut sauce. Garnish with green onion or chives if using.


The vegetables in this week’s share can be combined in any number of ways—simply, quickly, deliciously. Here are some ideas to start you off—I’d love to hear how you used your share.

If you want more detailed recipes, the newsletter at Carnegie Hill has some interesting ones:


1. Crunchy raw salads: Peel and slice root vegetables (carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, radish) paper-thin or matchstick-size. Combine with broccoli and cauliflower cut into florets, torn lettuce leaves. Add toasted nuts, capers, beans and your favorite dressing; the nuts and beans provide protein and carbs, so this can be a main-dish salad.

2. Cooked vegetables salads: Cut any of the vegetables listed above into bigger pieces—keep the sizes as uniform as possible. Toss with oil, lemon, and your favorite herbs. Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan, salt lightly, and roast in a 400 degree oven, then allow to cool slightly and toss again.

Or—carmelize the vegetables by sautéing in oil, with a teaspoon of sugar added. Toss over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and browned.

Combine the cooked vegetables with shredded lettuce and any dressing. Bits of meat—grilled chicken strips or shrimp, sautéed sausage—can be added as well.

3. Steamed. Layer the vegetables—cut in uniform wedges or slices–in a steamer basket over boiling water, the heaviest first. Potatoes, carrots, and squash may take 10-15 minutes to cook over steam, while broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms take only a few minutes. Add vegetables as the lower layers are nearly done, and at the last minute, throw in shredded greens which only take seconds to cook. Season with salt, pepper, herbs, spices and you’re done—or squeeze on lemon; or dress with a mixture of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

4. Mashed. One by one or in combo—root vegetables that are not potatoes are also great candidates for mashing. And broccoli, cauliflower, and squash can be added as well. Dick Sandhaus describes his favorite mashed turnips here:


But it’s also fun to experiment with combinations, adding butter, milk, cheese to finish.

5. Soup. Those mashed vegetables can become a soup in seconds; thin with milk, stock or cream. If you’re planning on soup, reserve some small chunks of cooked vegetables to add texture to the soup. Or make simple croutons: toast a slice of bread, rub with garlic, and drizzle with oil. Cut into small pieces and add to your soup.

6. Raw Crudites with dips. Root vegetables make the best crudités. You can drop them in boiling water for a minute, then plunge them in icewater—it intensifies the color and makes them I easoer on the teeth—but I usually don’t bother. A tray of root vegetables—radish, turnip, kohlrabi, carrot, plus broccoli and cauliflowerets—with a dip is a wonderful party dish. Try bagna cauda (Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 108; or warm cheddar (melt cheddar cheese in a saucepan or microwave; stir in cream or milk until it’s the right consistency; add herbs or spices and serve warm.

7. Gratin. Once you get the hang of it, you can make a grain in about 15 minutes, plus 35-40 minutes baking time. There are full instructions in Recipes from America’s Small Farms (p. 15). But the basics are: Peel and slice any combination of vegetables and boil them for about ten minutes, until soft. While they are boiling, make a béchamel sauce: Melt 2-3 tbs butter in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour and keep stirring until smooth. Add 3 cups milk (heating the milk in the microwave makes it go faster) and stir until the sauce thickens. Add 2 cups of your favorite cheese, grated, to the béchamel. By this time, the vegetables are ready; drain and combine with the sauce. Put the sauced vegetables in a lightly greased baking dish, sprinkle bread crumbs over it and bake in a 375 degree oven.

I find that if I make a gratin at the beginning of the week, I have two or three meals all set; just add a salad and there are no more pots to wash

8. Sandwich. Layering thin slices of turnip, radish, or kohlrabi into any sandwich adds crunch, flavor, and vitamins. I especially like radish with egg salad, kohlrabi with turkey.

9. Grains and Roots. Sauteed or roasted roots are great with pasta, rice, quinoa, or any other grain. I’ve been trying a lot of new ones—wheatberries, farro/emmer, freekah—and find they’re easy to prepare and are just different enough to be interesting.

10. Many of the vegetables in our share are perfect for deep-frying—and if you fry at the right temperature, the food does not absorb much oil. I’m using Mark Bittman again—here’s his piece on deep frying.


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Poblano/Ancho peppers

Last time we got these peppers in our share, several people asked me if they were anchos or poblanos. I looked it up; poblanos morph into anchos when they are dried. Drying also intensifies their smokey flavor and their general awesomeness.

Here’s how to dry them in the oven(adapted from HOMEGROWN.ORG)

Slice the peppers; remove some, most or all of the seeds, depending on how heat you like. Put the slices on baking sheets; that way the sheets will collect the seeds and you don’t have to spend time removing them or, worse, picking them off the floor of your oven. Set the oven to a low temp, 150-200, and, if you’ve got a conventional model, prop the door open slightly to allow air circulation. If you’ve got kids or pets, keep a close eye on the proceedings. If you’ve got a convection oven, you win! No need for door propping. Turn the peppers occasionally until they’re fully wrinkled. Again, you’re aiming for Grandpa George, but trust your own judgment. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

I tried this and it worked beautifully. I left the oven on 200 and went to sleep; by morning, about 7 hours later, they were perfect. I chopped up my anchos and used them in pretty much everything I made since then—tomato sauce, salad dressings, the winter cauliflower stew below. I left in about half the seeds and the heat was enough to assert itself, but not scalding.

Poblanos, pre-ancho-ing are perfect for chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers). Here’s a recipe:

Quinoa-stuffed poblano pepperw with Avocado Cream sauce

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 chipotle pepper (packed in adobo sauce)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 small red bell pepper, diced

1 plum tomato, diced

One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons chopped green onions, optional

2 large poblano peppers (4 if small)

1/2 cup grated reduced-fat pepper jack cheese

Avocado Cream Sauce, recipe follows

Diced tomatoes, for garnish, optional

Green onions, sliced, for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the whole tomatoes, garlic and chipotle to a blender and puree until smooth. Add to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and cook until it breaks down, another 3 minutes. Stir in the beans, quinoa and chili powder. Turn off the heat and fold in the chopped green onions if using.

Split the poblano peppers in half and remove the seeds. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa mixture. Ladle about half of the tomato sauce into a 13- by 9-inch casserole dish. Place the peppers on top and ladle over the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the peppers with the cheese, cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the top and cook until the peppers are very soft, another 5 minutes. Top with Avocado Cream Sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced green onions if desired.

Avocado Cream Sauce:

1 large ripe avocado

1/2 cup reduced-fat Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh into a food processor and add the yogurt, lime juice and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.


I’ve seen several recipes that use cauliflower as “mock mashed potatoes”—cooking it until it loses its crunch as texture and then mashing it. I find it offensive to both the cauliflower and the potato—cauliflower has its own advantages, but it’s not a potato.

It’s not easy to face down a cauliflower. It usually doesn’t break apart as easily as a head of broccoli and needs a sharp knife to cut it into bite-sized pieces, The core and leaves have to be cut away and composted, though the stems are just as good as the flowers.

Cauliflower can be boiled or steamed to soften it—but my choice is raw, cooked lightly, or roasted.

Raw, it does well in a marinade, as below, or as a crudite with any dip or dunk. If you’re not a fan of very crunchy vegetables, cook it briefly before marinating, as in the salad below. There are also instructions for roasting below. Cauliflower is also great in a gratin, often mixed with broccoli. See general gratin instructions in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 25. And there’s a more complicated Cauliflower Cheese Pie on p. 74.


This recipe appeared in the NYT (David Tanis) late last fall and it became one of my favorites instantly. It uses only one pan (plus whatever you cook the chickpeas in and is a full meal, especially if you add rice and raita. I have not included the raita recipe because it was not especially great and took a lot of work—raita is easy, just add diced vegetables (radish is perfect, cucumber is good too). They suggest apple, which was just ok. Add curry powder, cayenne, diced hot pepper, or hot sauce. Mix the whole thing up, allow to sit in the refrigerator and bit and serve cold.

The first time I made this recipe, I followed it exactly, using the spice seeds and individual ground spices. I found the spice was too weak overall; now I just use pre-mixed curry powder. I start with a tablespoon and keep adding until it tastes right. I also add chopped greens to the stew, at the same time as the chickpeas—and sometimes string beans as well..

3 tablespoons untoasted sesame oil or vegetable oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 2-inch piece of ginger, grated

6 small garlic cloves, minced

4 small hot red Asian chiles or Mexican chiles de árbol

1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups delicata squash, unpeeled, in 1-inch slices, or butternut squash, peeled, in 1-inch cubes

1 cup parsnips, hard center core removed, in 1-inch slices or chunks

½ pound tiny potatoes, such as fingerlings, halved

2 cups small florets of cauliflower

1 cup cooked chickpeas, preferably home-cooked and the liquid reserved

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Steamed basmati rice (optional)

Apple raita (optional),


1. Put oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. When oil is wavy, add cumin seeds and coriander seeds and let sizzle for about 1 minute. Add turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic and chiles and stir to coat.

2. Add onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Add squash, parsnips and potatoes, salt lightly, then add 3 cups chickpea cooking liquid or water, or enough to just cover vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.

3. Add cauliflower and chickpeas and stir gently to combine. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Taste broth and adjust seasoning, then transfer to a wide, deep serving platter or bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice and apple raita, if desired.

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

From Martha Stewart Living

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets

1/4 cup white-wine vinegar

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons brine-packed capers, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch cauliflower until just tender, about 2 minutes; work in batches if your pot is not big enough. Drain; transfer to a bowl.

Whisk together vinegar, onion, and mustard in a small bowl. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over warm cauliflower, and add capers and parsley. Stir to combine.

Cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 day. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds and Kalamata Olives

5-6 cups of cauliflower florets

2 tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs lemon juice; and 1 tbs zest from an organic lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup crumbled goat or feta cheese (if desired)

¼ cup blanched or slivered almonds, toasted

¼ cup sliced kalamata (or other) olives

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Add the almonds and olives and toss until combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This is just the beginning of the winter squash; I don’t know how the harvest for winter squash has been—it was not good last year—but we usually get an abundance of amazing winter squashes—carnival, delicate, sweet dumplings are my favorites. There are some good recipes in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, but I usually keep it simple. I prick the squash all over and put on a plate in the microwave for five minutes. This can be done in the regular oven as well—and those of you with sharper knives or stronger arms than mine can skip this step; I find it very hard to cut the squashes in half before I soften them. When cool enough to handle, I slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, add a very little bit of butter and brown sugar/honey/maple syrup to the cavity, and put it on a baking sheet, cut side up, in a 350 degree oven. When it’s soft and almost mushy, I eat it. Sometime, I put it on a plate first. If you want something more complicated, here’s a recipe from an old Carnegie Hill newsletter:

A simple Braised Winter Squash is a great way to use the abundance of squash we’re receiving this fall. This recipe comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is a great read for anyone interested in gardening, food or our food choices and their impact on the environment. Ms. Kingsolver is an advocate for CSAs just like ours!

2 pounds winter squash, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1?2 inch rounds

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 cups apple cider

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh chopped Rosemary pepper to taste

Heat butter/oil in skillet with rosemary; after a few minutes add the squash, salt and cider. You may need to add some additional cider (or water) to cover the squash. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and braise for 20 minutes or until tender. At this point, the juice should be reduced to a glaze. If not, raise heat for a few minutes until excess liquid evaporates. Add pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you like.

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You can use turnips pretty much like potatoes—boil them, steam them, roast them, mash them. One difference is that turnip greens, especially greens from young turnips (and Debbie’s note indicates that these are pretty young) are delicious, cooked like spinach and other greens. Another difference is that turnips can be eaten raw and make great crudités. Cut off the rough tops and greens, peel them and you’re set.

Debbie’s recipe for CREAMY TURNIP SOUP is in Recipes from America’s Small Farm, p. 189. It’s much better when made with vegetable or chicken stock instead of water—but the stock can be the water in which you cooked other root vegetables for Multi-root Mash.


Mashed turnips are nice; just boil or steam them, add milk, butter, and your favorite herbs and spices and mash like potatoes. But even better: turnips mashed with other root vegetables.

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 leek or onion, sliced thinly

4 cups of roughly chopped root vegetables—turnips, potatoes, beets, carrots, celeriac, parsnips; winter squash and sweet potatoes can also be added.

6 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese or sour cream to taste

Chopped chives or other herbs

Melt the butter or oil in a large saucepot. Saute the leek/onion until very soft over medium heat. Then add the chopped vegetables and toss with the butter/oil and softened leek/onion for a minute or two. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft. Allow to cool slightly, then pour off most of the water—don’t discard, save it to use as stock, leaving about 1 cup with the vegetables. Transfer to a blender/food processor or use a stick blender to puree until smooth. Or, if you prefer, mash the whole thing with a potato masher.

Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like, add cheese or sour cream and sprinkle with chives or other herbs.

SOUP: To turn this into a soup, add milk or cream until you achieve desired consistency; serve with croutons.

The Best Ever Turnips

4 Reviews

Recipe Courtesy of Michelle Urvater, The Food Network

2 pounds white turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

6 tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a lot of salted water to a boil and parboil the turnips for 7 minutes; add the garlic and boil 1 minute longer; drain.

Melt 4-5 tablespoons of butter and cook the garlic and turnips, covered, over low heat for 5 minutes.

Transfer turnips and garlic to a food processor and puree until smooth, adding 4 more tablespoons butter with the machine turned on. Season well with salt and pepper and, if made in advance, reheat in a double boiler.


1 pound turnips, (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1/2 ounce)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine turnips, cayenne, nutmeg, and oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan and toss gently to combine. Arrange turnips in a single layer and roast until golden on both sides, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.


From Dan Barber (Stone Barn and Blue Hill) and Bon Apetit

2 large turnips (each about 8 ounces); or, if you are using smaller ones, cut into halves or quarters instead of eighths.

1/2 cups white sesame seeds

1 large egg

16 very thin slices pancetta (about 1/4 pound)

Vegetable oil (for deep-frying)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the turnips and each cut into 8 wedges. Place the sesame seeds in a medium bowl; whisk the egg in another medium bowl to blend.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap 1 pancetta slice around each turnip wedge, covering most of turnip. Dip each pancetta-wrapped turnip wedge into beaten egg to coat, then dip into sesame seeds, coating generously on all sides. Set aside on wax paper.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy medium saucepan. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 350°F. Working in batches, add sesame-coated turnip wedges to oil, and deep-fry until sesame seeds are golden, about 1 minute (turnips will be very crunchy).

Transfer turnips to paper towels to drain, then arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and bake just until they are beginning to soften, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and divide among 4 plates.


Transfer turnips to paper towels to drain, then arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and bake just until they are beginning to soften, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and divide among 4 plates.

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The vegetables we are getting this week, along with a few leftovers from last week, will make a great vegetable stock. Using stock instead of water in soups and to cook other vegetables gives everything a more complex taste. There are many variations of vegetable stocks; this is a simple one that works:

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

1 garlic clove, diced

1 medium onion or 2 shallots, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 large celery stalks, with leaves, chopped

2 potatoes

Other possible additions: parsnip, turnip, squash

2-4 tablespoons chopped herbs, any combination

Salt and pepper to taste (or leave out the salt and pepper, and add when you use the stock in recipes)

Heat the oil in a large pot; add the garlic and sauté until it is fragrant.

Add the onion/shallot, carrots, and celery and stir until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes (Onions, carrots, and celery cooked this way are called mirepoix; they are sometimes added to soups and stews as flavor enhancers.) Add 4 quarts of water; continue to cook, covered, for about an hour, over medium heat until all the vegetables are soft. Then add the potato and cook for another hour.

Check every 30 minutes or so; if scum forms on the top, skim it off. If water evaporates, add more.

Add the herbs and salt and pepepr, taste and adjust. Allow to cool, then strain. I think the cooked vegetables can be used—but I usually toss them. Store the strained stock—some people strain a few times to get the clearest stock possible, but I’m not that fussy—in tightly closed containers. It will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, a couple of months in the freezer.


Basic Version

The standard mirepoix recipe calls for two parts onion to one part each celery and carrot.  I’m working on a piece about basic soups and stews for next week—these flavor enhancers can be used for all of them.

A small quantity of tomato paste is frequently added for color and flavor if the mirepoix is intended for brown stocks, sauces or stews. For white sauces, leeks are generally substituted for the carrot.


It’s important to dice the vegetables as uniformly as possible to ensure even cooking. The size of the dice can vary according to overall cooking time of the dish for which it is intended. The shorter the cooking time the smaller the dice.

Cooking the vegetables in butter over a relatively low heat until they start to give off their juices and the onion turns translucent is called sweating. If you cover your pan during cooking, the process is then called smothered.

For rich flavor and deep color, prepare your mirepoix as follows: Start your onions and carrots first and cook until they begin to brown. Add the celery and continue cooking until it softens and its color becomes a brighter green. Stir in a small amount of tomato paste and cook until the entire mixture develops a rich brown color. This technique is referred to as pincage.

Beyond French Cuisine

There are a number of international variations on the French mirepoix. The Cajun trinity substitutes green pepper for the carrot and is used to flavor dishes like gumbos and etouffees.

The Italians have a similar combination called soffritto. They substitute olive oil for the butter and often add garlic and some pancetta or prosciutto to the mix. A Spanish sofrito consists of onions, tomatoes, garlic and parsley cooked in olive oil.

In Cajun cooking, a sweet pepper is added to the mix; hot peppers are sometimes added as well.

The concept is also used in the cuisines of Asia. Many Indian dishes start with a combination of onion, garlic, ginger and some variety of hot pepper. In Thailand, curry pastes begin with a combination of lemongrass, shallots and chiles. The list could go on and on.

Worth the Effort

In summary, the little extra time it takes to introduce a base of aromatic vegetables to your finished dishes can make a world of difference in the overall depth of flavor.

Here’s Lee’at’s favorite kale recipe:

My favorite kale salad is very simple: slice lacinato kale very thin, pour on some olive oil, then massage the kale for a minute until it is softer and shiny. Add lemon juice, salt, a little minced onion or shallot, and crumbled feta cheese.