I call them literary rutabagas because they are mentioned in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” book series. Though, in the books they are called “neeps”. More about that in a little while, be patient with me. Several years ago I read through Diana’s very fine books from the first, “Outlander”, through , “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”, and I enjoyed them all very much.When Claire and Jamie were living on Fraser’s Ridge, in the North Carolina mountains, in one of their meals, they were eating a pot of “neeps”. I turned to my husband, who is part Scottish and asked, “Yo, you of Scottish ancestry, what are ‘neeps’?” He gave me a blank face and mumbled that he had never heard of them. So I looked it up on Duckduckgo.com and they listed ‘neeps’ under rutabagas. So here is a link that tells some interesting rutabaga, aka ‘neep’ facts https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutabaga I thought all the information was very interesting!
When I read various books and they mention different foods in the story, I like to sometimes make those foods to add to the enjoyment of the story. For instance, when I read “Dracula”, by Bram Stoker, … while I was in high school, I fixed Hungarian Goulash, as it was mentioned in the story, with lots of paprika and garlic, to help keep the vampires away. That was back when I still ate meat.
When, much more recently, I read “Cold Mountain”, by Charles Frazier, which is set in North Carolina, during the Civil War…I fixed hoe-cakes and boiled peanuts, which added to the enjoyment of the story. You know, eating along with the characters.
So, back to the rutabagas. I tracked down an interesting and simple rutabaga recipe in my trusty go-to vegetarian cookbook…Deborah Madison seriously knows her way around vegetarian cooking! As I was looking for recipes for rutabagas, I came across one that looked promising, “Rutabaga Fries”, on page 436, down towards the bottom of the page. Cooked in the oven, instead of the fryer, so much healthier than fried potatoes. So, rutabagas, not exactly cooked like in the “Outlander” stories, but still very good. So, here is Deborah’s version of the recipe, when I prepared these, I used extra virgin olive oil and I didn’t use the rosemary and they turned out just fine.
- A big bowl of cold water
- Vegetable oil
- Sea salt
- Finely minced fresh rosemary
- Freshly cracked pepper
(I showed the ingredients I used for my version of these) Peel and slice the rutabagas into long batons or French fries. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, …then drain and towel-dry. Toss with vegetable oil to coat lightly and add a few pinches of salt. Spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees… turning occasionally, until golden and tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When done, toss them with a little finely minced rosemary, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.Though, when I cook these in my little Cuisinart oven, they take longer to cook, more like 50 minutes. And, you really have to watch them, they scorch real easy, as you can see in my picture above. I ate the over-done ones and gave the nice ones to my husband, he declared them very tasty! I like them too, and we now eat these regularly. I would say though, that cutting rutabagas is not something I would let children attempt, they are almost as difficult to cut into as pumpkins. You need a very sharp knife and you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing so you don’t slip and cut yourself. But these “fries”, are well worth the effort, they are very, very tasty! I even came up with a bit of a, not strict to form haiku, about rutabagas…
why oh so hard to carve
but oh so tasty
So, there you go! A little rutabaga info, me rambling a little about some books I’ve read and foods they inspired me to try, a rutabaga fries recipe, and even a somewhat tortured rutabaga haiku by me. Not something you see everyday! Maybe you too, might be inspired to try an interesting food you’ve read about in a story you’re reading or have read! The ‘Outlander”, book image, the Claire and Jamie image, the “Dracula”, book image, and the “Dracula”, movie still, and the “Cold Mountain”, book image, all came from Duckduckgo.com free images. All the books I showed are available on amazon.com and the rest of the pictures are ones I took. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT NEW WEEK!!!!! HAPPY READING!!!! HAPPY COOKING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!