Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rutabaga Story

(With apologies to Carl Sandburg.)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had never eaten rutabaga. Her family didn't grow rutabagas in the garden, it was rare that she even saw them in the store, and really, could something with as funny a name as "rutabaga" be any good?

She pondered this while writing a little ditty to winter vegetables two years back (has it been that long?). She thought, well, they might sound funny, but I've learned to eat other funny things, so if someone can give me a recipe, I might give them a try.

Happily, a brave Slow Cook offered to take up her challenge, and a few months later, Ed posted a recipe for his rutabaga soufflé on his own blog.

Our hero! And yet, this intrepid girl could not find a single locally-grown rutabaga with which to complete the challenge.

A year passed... a year and a half... and finally, thanks to a conversation with new farming friends, she found local rutabagas, grown by good people and sold at her new local foods market. Oh joy!

Then, of course, in the mad rush of the holiday season, those rutabagas languished in her refrigerator, so sad and forgotten. A week went by... two weeks... and shamefully, she finally pulled their wrinkled roots from the refrigerator and made herself pull out the recipe to make Ed's soufflé.

She peeled, cut, steamed the rutabagas. She mashed them with egg yolks. She whisked together a thick roux. She beat the egg whites into airy submission. She mixed it all together.

And when she poured the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish, she found that she had made way more than that dish could hold. Dare she make two soufflés in one evening, with no guests threatening to darken her door?

Dare she did, and an hour later, she was rewarded with the luscious fragrance of baked egg bliss in the shape of two rutabaga soufflés.

She spooned up a heaping helping of this dish, paired it with some crisp fresh lettuce (locally grown; yes, fresh lettuce in winter!) and a glass of local red wine, and proceeded to chase the winter chill away with a slice of heaven. Creamy, light, savory with a hint of sweetness, this soufflé brought a breath of spring to her humble home.

And then, her challenge completed, thanks to her brave friends, she proceeded to pen her tale to offer the hope of rutabaga sustenance to other wary and weary travelers on the local foods road.

The End (until it's time to reheat the leftovers...)

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