My aunt, uncle, and I made the trek back to Wisconsin this weekend to visit my parents and grandparents. Tonight we got together for a big family dinner, all eight of us. My dad grilled hamburgers, which were accompanied by a big greens salad, roasted potatoes, and rutabaga fries. I introduced my parents to rutabaga fries last year and ever since they've become a regular staple at their dinners.
Rutabaga, in my opinion, is one of the tastiest vegetables around, but is also misunderstood and underappreciated! First of all, a rutabaga is not a turnip. Rutabagas are golden yellow with a purple top and are generally fairly large, like the size of a baseball to as large as a softball sometimes. Turnips are most commonly white with a purple top (although there are heirloom scarlet turnips), and usually fairly small (ranging from golf ball to baseball-size). Since rutabagas are often mistaken for other things, they get overlooked, and underused. You can almost always count on them being in stock at the grocery store, because they aren't very popular. For those of us in the know this is great, because they are totally inexpensive. Rutabagas are full of vitamin C and fiber, and have naturally antibacterial properties like all crucifers. Rock on! Plus, they are awesomely versatile. Rutabagas can be eaten raw or cooked. Eaten raw, they are crisp and crunchy, with a slightly sweet, bity, cabbagey flavor. Sometimes I eat them grated in salads, or just plain with bean dip. My mom used to grate them and put them in these huge sub sandwiches we ate on car trips when I was a kid. Cooked, they are earthy and awesome. I love them in stews and soups and vegetable pies, and they are amazing roasted.
But my favorite way to eat rutabaga? You guessed it: fries.
I've always been a fry fan. I never cared much for potatoes except for in fry form. When I stopped eating potatoes, I had to satisfy my fry desires in other ways. So, I started making fries from other root veggies, like sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and rutabaga! Rutabaga becomes very sweet and just a little crisp on the edges when cooked as fries. My mom recently bought a super cool crinkle cutter, which makes absolutely awesome crinkle cut rutabaga fries. I need to get a crinkle cutter ASAP.
Tonight the rutabaga fries were gone before the roasted potatoes were. Take that, taters. The other delightful addition to our meal was a gluten free, vegan, sugar free chocolate mint trifle. It tasted sinful, but it absolutely wasn't.
What started as an idea for a layer cake sort of transformed when my cake layers were way to tough and spongy to be served in regular cake form. But cubed? The cake was perfect! So, I decided I would make a trifle instead of a layer cake. My avocado-based chocolate frosting was just like a pudding, so made a second batch of frosting/pudding sans chocolate and with mint instead. Then Ilayered it all in my mom's crystal trifle dish. It was amazing. My whole family flipped for it. No one had any idea they were eating avocado, especially sugar free avocado. I'd never made a trifle and it was a lot of fun, and was perfect way to use my less than perfect cake layers. I am totally going to tweak this recipe a little more and make it again and will share it with you. It was killer. I am eating leftovers tomorrow for breakfast. Hey, when life gives you tough cake, make trifles. Then make rutabaga fries.
Rutabaga Fries (gluten free, vegan, ACD)
This recipe is variable - make as much or as little as you'd like!
yield: variable | active time: 10 minutes | total time: 45 minutes - 1 hour
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
sprinkle other herbs of choice - parsley, basil, thyme, Italian herb mixes, etc. Tonight we used my dad's homemade herb mixture du jour.
Pre-heat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment or coat with olive oil.
Peel rutabaga using a sharp knife. Slice into 1/2" sticks using a knife or a crinkle cutter. Place rutabaga sticks in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Sprikle with garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, and any other herbs of choice, toss to coat, then transfer to pan. Give a final sprinkle of seasoning, then place in the oven.
Bake until tender and slightly crisp, about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes so they don't burn. Depending on your oven, it may take more or less time, so be sure to check often.
Serve hot. Very tasty with any of your favorite dips. I like them with homemade mustard, my dad likes them with ketchup. I have also made creamy dips from tahini or cashew butter, and they are awfully tasty dipped in that.