When I was an undergrad, I submitted a short story to the university literary journal, which was edited by my beloved mentor, John Ditsky (I guess on some level, since we’d already become friends by then and he’d always encouraged my writing, I kind of “knew” he’d publish the story). It was a tale about a 20-something university student who arrives home for the holidays, only to find that her parents don’t recognize her. She meanders through the house, frantically seeking signs that she’d once lived there, only to find none. No matter which childhood stories she relates, or which personal items she describes, her parents don’t seem to recognize her. Eventually, confused and hysterical, she crumples to the ground, pounding her fist on the floor like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes, wailing, “But I’m your daughter! It’s ME, your daughter!! I’m your daughter. . . you know me. . . Oh, my God. . . ” and runs from the house, clearly having lost her sanity. In the last scene of the story, the mother turns to the father and asks, “Who was that young woman?” To which the father intones, “I have no idea.”
Cliché (and the fact that, duh, of course Ditsky wasn’t going to publish that piece of hackneyed tripe) aside, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling after spending the past 2 weeks away from this blog. (Yes, I’ve posted a couple of giveaways and the regular Wellness Weekend posts, but my typical recipe-plus-blathering has been absent). Do you all even remember me? (It’s ME, Ricki, I’m your blog hostess. . you know me. . . !!!).
Okay, so maybe I’m being a tad histrionic. Nevertheless, thank you all for your patience–and your kind wishes–while I’ve been trying to get control over these pesky health issues. So far, the doctors don’t quite know what to do with me (have they been consulting with the HH?), but they’ve got me booked for all manner of ultrasounds and appointments with specialists galore, so hopefully we’ll get to the root of the problem. Of course, given the Canadian healthcare system, my appointments could well be scheduled for October or November. (After we got back from my visit to the emergency room last Thursday, the HH quipped, “It only took seven hours. Wow, that’s pretty fast.”).
For now, anyway, my kidneys and I are feeling better as I finish up a second round of antibiotics (as you know, that’s my very last resort in any health crisis–antibiotics can cause candida to flare up and I really, really, REALLY do not want that to happen). To prevent the yeastie beasties from revisiting, I’ve been eating lots of probiotic-rich fermented foods, upping the green veggie intake, and cutting out all sweets for now.
This dish was created at the end of a week during which I hardly cooked, after we’d received an organic delivery box the previous week. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate all the new foods I’ve tried courtesy of our weekly CSA delivery. In fact, there are myriad types of produce I might never have sampled had they not been delivered to my door among the usual apples, bananas, kale and onions. Fennel, fiddleheads, Jerusalem artichokes, pomelo, real turnips (ie, not rutabaga), mizuna, and so many more. . . . they ended up in my belly only because they’d first appeared in my organic produce delivery.
The other serendipitous outcome of the organic produce box is that it forces me to come up with original and unique food combinations. I always receive a list of the produce the week before and always vow that I’ll write a menu plan (and when I did—thanks, Amy—it was great!) but when time is short, or when I’m not feeling well, my meal plan falters. On those days, I throw together whatever I find in the refrigerator. More often than not, I end up with a simple stir-fry or salad. Serviceable, yes, but. . . not exactly Iron Chef material.
But on other days, I hit the jackpot. As with these potato-free home fries, for example. It was late on a Sunday morning when I noticed a lone, neglected rutabaga hanging out in the produce drawer. Now, you may recall that I’m not the biggest fan of rutabaga (unless it’s coated in almond butter, or baked into a rich, creamy gratin, that is). I was hankering after home fries, but with no potatoes in the house, I grabbed that ‘baga, along with its produce cohorts zucchini and parsnip. I envisioned a rösti-style side dish to serve along a tofu scramble or chickpea quiche.
In the end, the “hash browns” comprised the bulk of the meal, they were that good. Alongside a black bean burger and light salad, this made a most spectacular brunch. Glad to say that my rutabaga repertoire has now increased to three much-loved dishes.
Two Years Ago: Dog Day: Mothers and Mothers of the Heart
Four Years Ago: Dog Day: Celebrate All Moms!
Rutabaga “Hash Browns”
Although this dish takes some time to cook fully, I’d still categorize it as a “flash in the pan” (ie, quick and/or easy) dish. Once you plop all the ingredients in the pan, you can more or less forget about it while it cooks, stirring only occasionally while you putter around in other parts of the house. As the vegetables begin to brown and caramelize, you’ll find that the tantalizing aroma draws you back to the kitchen.
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and grated
1 large zucchini, trimmed and grated (you can leave the skin on)
1 medium parsnip, peeled and grated
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used a mix of parsley and fresh dill; cilantro is also nice)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable broth or stock
fine sea salt, to taste
If you have a food processor, now is the time to use it: grate the rutabaga, zucchini, parsnip and onion using the medium grater blade. Otherwise, grate all the vegetables on the medium holes of a box grater.
Place the grated vegetables, herbs, garlic and oil in a large nonstick frypan (a cast iron pan is great for this recipe). Pour the broth evenly over the top and stir to mix. Turn the heat on to medium-high and allow to cook until the mixture begins to sizzle and cook on the edges, 10-15 minutes. Stir the vegetables to distribute any browned bits evenly throughout.
Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook undisturbed another 10-15 minutes, then check to see if the veggies have begun to form a brown crust on the bottom. If they have, stir once more and then cook again another 10-15 minutes, until cooked throughout and crusty in spots. Scoop and serve. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs