Category Archives: gluten-free

Rutabaga Caponata


So I had some deliberation on whether to use this title because caponata doesn’t mean much to most people. In fact I had a hard time remembering the term myself. But, we all need to learn new things, right?

Ordinarily, I now understand, caponata is an eggplant dish. Not having made the original version, I have nothing to compare this with. However, I can tell you that Wikipedia’s description is fairly apt, a sweet and sour vegetable dish that could be used as either a side or main. It’s pretty exciting and has interesting flavors that I would probably never think to put together on my own. Always looking for new rutabaga outlets, I came across this recipe from Saveur and I think it’s a keeper. It should end up sweet but hearty—the flavor of the rutabaga plays nicely with the array of spices.


I’ll have to try the eggplant version sometime.

On another note, I broke ANOTHER paring knife. That one in the picture, actually. It’s got a good core but part of the stone piece fell off. I’ll have to find the right adhesive material. I guess maybe I am overusing them, because my larger knife feels a little flimsy and anyway mostly I’m just cooking for me, which doesn’t generally require too much knife power. Except that apparently it does. Ah, well.

Saveur's Rutabaga Caponata
2 rutabagas
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
A couple cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons currants (I didn't have these but they'd be good)
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (you keep them around now, right?)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or a little cayenne if you don't have them)
A small spoonful of honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
A tablespoon of cocoa

Start by roasting the rutabaga. Rutabaga is friendlier than squash to chop quickly, although it does have quite a thick peel that takes a little practice. Anyway, peel (with a knife) and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Drizzle with oil and bake in a hot oven (around 400ºF) for 30 or so minutes, turning over every once in a while, until soft but not mushy.


Chop the rest of the veggies. Heat up oil in the pan and cook the onions first, then when they begin to soften add in garlic, shallots, currants, and raisins. Then add the vinegar, and scrape the pan (deglaze) to collect anything that might have gotten stuck. Add the pine nuts and spices, going easy on the honey and cocoa until you taste it, and adjust as necessary.

I ate it with some water buffalo sausage, because I felt like, but it’s also perfectly acceptable as a main course by itself.


In other news, the just 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a new report detailing diet suggestions for the American populace. You can read the Executive Summary if you don’t want to get into the whole thing. Basically, though, we need to be eating more vegetables, less red meat, and considerably less sugar. If you are surprised by this, I’m glad you’re here, because you have some indoctrination in store. It’s getting harder in the winter, though. Hence the rutabagas.

If you have great (read: varied) recipes for winter vegetables (turnips, cabbage, carrots, beets, potatoes), send them my way!


Yellow Indian Cabbage


So, what else do you with all that cabbage?

I’m going to be totally honest, all wannabe vegetarians/part time vegetarians/omnivores/carnivores should be eating way more Indian food than we are now. This is because a) it’s delicious b) it’s much more sustainable (less meat-centric and all that c) it’s fun and shareable and d) it tastes reeaallly good. Yah.


Outside of the quintessential dal, chicken tikka masala, and saag paneer, none of which I have delineated here yet (/some I haven’t even attempted), there are some excellent Indian-style dishes that I actually have never ordered at an Indian restaurant. Like this one. Which has the added benefit of using up some of your endless cabbage (okay, it’s not that endless).

Actually cabbage is pretty amazing. It’s not quite as versatile as, say, eggs. But you can it is raw (shredded in slaw), stuffed, grilled, braised, inside crepesroasted with cheese into a casserole, mixed into soups, what have you. One of my favorite things to do it slice it thinly on top of tacos, sandwiches, or whatever else you happen to be eating (fried tofu? with a little lemon or vinegar? lunch). It takes flavors well, which is what makes it nice for Indian food, with its fantastic array of spices.

I may have mentioned that cabbage is rather prolific this time of year.

Oh! This furthermore gives you an opportunity to use fresh turmeric. Turmeric root looks a lot like ginger, except that it’s bright orange on the inside, and guess what—it grows in Maine (along with all sorts of unexpected crops)! Incroyable, non?


This recipe is originally from Girl Cooks World, which is pretty great. It’s super fun once the mustard seeds start popping because they are quite loud and your kitchen begins to sound a little rambunctious.

Yellow Indian Cabbage
1/3 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
A knob of fresh turmeric, minced
A medium-sized cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

Chop everything up and have it all ready to go, because this will go quickly. Heat oil until quite hot over high heat in a large-ish pan (I used my nice big cast iron). Add the mustard seeds and quickly cover the pan, before oil and seeds fly everywhere. At some point the pops will begin to taper off (it’s like making popcorn, you have to be listening), add the garlic and both turmerics. Turn down the heat and stir until slightly soft. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and coat the cabbage with what is now a yellow oil. Cook down the cabbage a bit, again until slightly soft but not mushy (I was about to write, “unless you are inexplicably a fan of mushy cabbage,” but if you are a fan of mushy cabbage you are wrong, and must learn better ways).

Serve with samosas, naan, or something entirely unrelated. It’s delicious either way. If you’re not a vegetarian, you could stir in some (just a little) cooked ground beef and it would be a more complete meal.

By the way, if you haven’t yet seen The Hundred Food Journey, I think you would enjoy it. Indian food, a village in France, a cute French girl and an attractive Indian boy, and Helen Mirren. Yup.