Thursday, November 20, 2008

Photo Essay – A salvaged dinner

So you may recall my post from yesterday, an inquiry as to how to cook turnips. I decided last night that I would create a mashed root vegetable dish to accompany the chicken tenderloins and spinach that I needed to cook. I only had turnips, potatoes and carrots from the root category so I decided to use them all. It started simple and innocent enough...

4 tennis ball– baseball sized turnips (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
4 medium yellow potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
2 large carrots (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
4 ounces light softened cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add turnips and potatoes. Return to a boil and add carrots. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Drain well, add cream cheese and mash with an immersion blender. Add salt and garlic and mix well. Check seasoning, then salt and pepper to taste. Oh and this probably makes 6–8 servings. It's quite a lot.

I did all of this (except the cream cheese) and much to my surprise my mash was more of a puree. Turns out boiled turnips hold a lot of water. I almost thought about tossing it all out and then I decided to add the cream cheese. Good decision ;) To perfect the consistency in the future, I'd probably use a higher ratio of potatoes.

So I was disappointed, because the plate started out looking like this:Not too appetizing. It looked like a plate of melted orange sherbet. I was starting to swear at myself for not just following one of those uber-fattening gratin recipes...Every once in awhile we all have a big flop in the kitchen and I was thinking this would be my most recent. The orange of the carrots was throwing me off, despite it tasting pretty good. I decided to wilt some spinach and season with salt and pepper and see how it progressed.Okay so it was looking a little better and I liked the subtle sweetness of the puree combined with the mellowness of the spinach. I had some chicken tenderloins that I tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil and a little bit of pre-made lipton "garlic and herb" soup mix. I decided to grill those babies over some med-high heat in my grill pan and see if dinner was salvageable after all.
And you know what? Dinner was not only saved, it turned out really good. My hubby had no clue of the struggle that had transpired before he got home. The mash was well balanced and the flavors and textures were well complimented by the spinach and chicken. Despite it's bizarre color, I even thought it actually looked mildly appetizing on the plate with the other components. Hubby raved and I enjoyed it. Try something new, outside your comfort zone and wing it.

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Triplet Mama said...

The plate looks beautiful in the end! I'm glad it ended up being a success. I hate myself when I spend a lot of time on something and it comes out mediocre or even worse, not tasty at all!

teg said...

I completely agree with TM. Beautiful - you are so talented :)

Heather said...

yay! looks good :) i think purees always look so nice underneath meat... and the spinach is such a lovely color contrast :)

Jeni said...

Thank you!!! It was a relief that it turned out okay after how much food it made!

pauldude said...

Another good way to cook turnips is to peel and dice them, toss them with salt and olive oil, and roast them in a hot oven (400 degrees or more) till done.

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