Sunday, January 03, 2010

All the makings for a Hearty Winter Stew

Pictured above: Bison strip steak, white turnips, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, green garlic, green onions and baby carrots.

Have you ever shied away from buying seasonal vegetables that you've never cooked before because you don't know how to prepare them? I certainly have until I began reading Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka. This book has changed my life! Now, I'm excited to find veggies I've never worked with before and inspired by the recipes I find in the book. Why? Because this handy book catalogs every veggie (and its varieties) and tells you how to buy, store, wash, cut, and prepare them. In addition to recipes, it also has "yields and equivalents". It has become my farmer's market bible. So it was the first thing I picked up yesterday when I got home after purchasing white turnips (and everything pictured above). Sure enough, they were in there. Key preparation fact - you must twist off the greens, cut the ends, and peel them. Good to know! There wasn't a recipe for all of the above together so I'm inventing my own by making a fail-safe hearty stew in the slow cooker.

I began by cleaning the veggies, cutting the turnips into quarters, dicing the green garlic and scallions and threw them in the cooker with about 3/4 cup of water. I cut the steak into big chunks and then coated it with flour and spices - cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper and placed them on top of the veggies. I added more spices and then a top layer of bacon to tenderize the really lean steak.

A couple of hours before dinner, we'll make the cupcakes - tangerine/carrot. An hour before we'll make beer bread, a perfect companion to a hearty stew. I love cooking in the winter, don't you?

AND, all of the above fits nicely in a backpack or basket for the ride to and from the market. Nice.