Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mashed Rutabaga Gratin - Caity

I know what you may be thinking; I know I have heard of rutabagas, but I wouldn't recognize one if it danced naked in front of me. Up until a couple of years ago, I felt the exact same way. But now that I am older and wiser, I have learned that a rutabaga is a really ugly root vegetable that makes a delicious mashed side dish for Thanksgiving.

I would have never learned this important information about rutabagas and probably would have never tried one if it weren't for the Kestles. In Canada, Mashed Rutabaga Gratin is a common Thanksgiving side dish so Lynn would bring a dish to our Thanksgiving dinner. I always avoided the dish because a rutabaga sounds like a scary vegetable that a kid probably shouldn't eat. Then a couple of years ago, I finally decided to try this mysterious dish and I realized what I have been missing out on. Yum!

I did a bit of light research about what exactly a rutabaga is and found it is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. This would explain the unique smell it has while baking, not a bad smell but just a little.... cabbage-y. Thank goodness it tastes so good! Lynn calls this dish a Turnip Mash or Turnip Puff because apparently in Canada a rutabaga is called a turnip. I am still confused on this point because I wonder what they call a turnip then. If you know the answer, please enlighten me!

The recipe comes from the Best of the Best Cookbook which is where our favorite Orzo with Parmesan and Basil and Christmas Morning Brunch Bake recipes are from. As I mentioned earlier this recipe is also called a Turnip Puff because I guess the mash puffs up some as you bake it. This is a really nice dish to add to your Thanksgiving spread to mix things up or to surprise a Canadian guest with should you be so lucky to have one at your dinner table. Another great thing is that you can do most of the recipe the day before (yay!) then finish it up the day.

Three years ago: Thanksgiving Stuffing

Serves 6 as a side dish

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey - Caity


This will be the first year I won't be spending Thanksgiving at home in Utah and I am a little bummed. I will miss being woken up early in the morning by Molly jumping on my bed and sitting on my chest, I will miss snacking on Sugared Cranberries while my mom and Lynn repeatedly tell everyone to get out of the kitchen, I will miss my mom sneakily calling me into the kitchen to taste the crispy, salty turkey skin without my dad knowing because if he knew he would tell us how much cholesterol and sodium we are consuming. Most of all I will miss sitting down around the gigantic makeshift table(s) with the Kestle family, enjoying the fantastic food and being together with my whole family.  And of course I will miss the point where Erin feeds Molly from her fork while Molly sits at the table! 

But then I remember how lucky I am to have my Portland family and how blessed I am to have such wonderful people to celebrate with. This year, I am especially lucky because Becca is coming down from Vancouver, B.C. to celebrate the holiday with us! She will help me keep the Walsh/Kestle Thanksgiving family traditions alive like making our favorite recipes and watching Christmas Vacation after dinner is over. 

Brendan is also keeping one of his favorite family Thanksgiving traditions alive, which is a pie baking contest with his cousin Colleen. Unfortunately, Colleen will be in Utah and not able to come to our Portland Thanksgiving, so Brendan had to find a new opponent. He has officially challenged Becca. I am already looking forward to tasting the final product. 

I have only cooked three turkeys in my life and I do not claim to be an expert of any sort. Each time I cooked the turkey though, I was on the phone with a real expert, my mom. This recipe is the way she cooks our turkey for Thanksgiving and this is way I will be making it next week. My mom does not baste her turkey or stuff it (see our Thanksgiving Stuffing, which I guess is technically dressing) and it always turns out great. 

If you're looking for any additional Thanksgiving related recipes (like Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish or Orange and Herbs Turkey Brine) check out our "Thanksgiving" header under the Recipes section. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

Three years ago: Thanksgiving Stuffing