Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogging, the zone of privacy, and turnips

Linda Ellerbee once talked about "committing journalism" and the toll that it can take on the life of the writer, and especially on the people in their family. Not meaning to be grandiose here, but if it is the case for journalism, it certainly applies to blogging all the more. How to protect the privacy of the people for whom you cook and with whom you eat, when it is integral to the story you have to tell? So I decided to stop worrying about it.

Amy is on a very low carb diet (not Atkins) and as we were about to sit down on Wednesday to a dinner of salad, sauteed broccoli (from the CSA), roasted baby potatoes for Harry and me (also from the CSA) and take-out roasted chicken, she said, "You know, we really have to eat more vegetable dishes with dinner." So, we had to come up with something fast. We had picked up a load of veggies that afternoon, but one of the great unreported problems with CSAs is that washing their vegetables can become a part-time job. Supposedly, in India, dirt on produce is seen as a sign that food is farm-fresh. Regardless, it makes it hard to get another dish on the table quickly. Anyway, we had some lovely young turnips with their greens which were not too gritty. My general preference would have been to steam them together and serve simply with butter, but this is no longer something we do with chicken. Besides, Amy finds this boring in the extreme. So here is what we had, adapted from a recipe of Madhur Jaffrey's for cooking radishes:

Indian-style turnips and greens:
  1. Clean and trim turnips, cut in large dice and save the greens.
  2. Heat about 2 teaspoons oil on medium heat in a skillet. (I used light sesame oil)
  3. Add 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds, turn heat to low, and let them pop.
  4. Fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, clean the greens well by soaking and swishing in a change or two of water.
  6. Shred the greens coarsely.
  7. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, and if you want, a sliced hot green chili to the turnips.
  8. Stir a bit, and then add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, salt to taste. Stir a bit more.
  9. Add the greens, stir around, and the cover and cook until both greens and turnips are tender. The whole process should take between 10 and fifteen minutes, though it will vary greatly with the age of the turnips, the size of the pieces, and the type of pan you use.
  10. Sprinkle with garam masala if you want (I didn't) and serve.

This only works with tender young turnips with their greens. The turnips should be no larger than golf balls and not have developed thick skins yet. Amy's reaction:"It's not my favorite, but not too bad."

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