Swede Flower

(Originally a Cooking for Wellness post on January 25, 2016)

At least these two words were the brief reminders at the top of the veggies part of my co-op shopping: swede as that reminder to get rutabaga, and flower for cauliflower.  I do cook with both – but generally I’d put swede into soups, especially a stew of lamb shanks and cold weather veggies, which is known as cawl in Welsh families; and my use of cauliflower seemed to extend to roasting in the winter along with cabbage and carrots as side to a beef or pork roast. I grew up primarily knowing this veg as “relief truck food” from my Pops’ family, who consumed far too many root vegetable meals in a 1930s southwestern Minnesota beset by droughts on multiple fronts – no rain and no money.

While on leave 5 years ago in Northwest England, I re-met rutabagas – with swede as the naming, and with a wonderfully nutty sweet taste in a dish from my favourite Liverpool deli.   My Manchester and Salford friends made use of swede in the same ways I was raised to use potatoes – in soups, as mashed sides (with carrots, with potatoes, with shredded cabbage), as chips with fish fingers.

There I also re-met cauliflower in savory soups akin to the ones we made/tasted during the lab session last week – and as roasted, thick “steaks” with a savoury gravy, or as another veg that could be featured in a cold roasted salad, or as the base for something akin to a falafel.


Cauliflower Roasted & Other Ingredients Assembled

So, this week I consulted my UK cookery resources and came up with these recipes:

From How to turn a big batch of cauliflower into four different meals in Cook (a section of The Guardian) I made these two recipes while working at home on Saturday:

  • The tangy salad: Cauliflower, sultana and pine nut salad with garlic yoghurt
  • The lunch wrap: Spiced cauliflower patties

Both recipes require a bit of time from start to finish, but most of it is “hands off” time.

The tangy salad includes pretty much what the title says along with wedges of red onions; the prep includes about 50 minutes roasting time – with minimal knife work to get things ready, then addition of some ingredients at a 1/2 way point, then the stirring up of 3 ingredients to make a dressing before mixing the cauliflower mixture with spinach leaves for the salad.  I made just a couple of substitutions based on what I had in my pantry – Aleppo pepper nuggets in place of chili flakes, and dried currants in place of sultanas (golden raisins would work, too).


Tangy Salad at the Left – Start of Lunch Wraps at the Right

I chopped items for the lunch wrap recipe, also from the big batch collection, while roasting the cauliflower as part of the tangy salad prep – not much difficult to do here, either, tho a bit more “hands on” as after the chopping of various items I needed to steam the sweet potatoes and saute the onions before adding in the remaining ingredients.

I did change the basic ingredients to make use of what I had on hand:

1 large baking potato (about 300g), peeled and diced – I used sweet potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil – used olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped – used small sweet orange peppers
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste – mashed two big cloves of garlic with powdered ginger
200g cooked cauliflower, roughly chopped – the recipe calls for steaming, but I roasted
A handful of breadcrumbs – used Panko, could have crushed last of the oyster crackers
A large bunch coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped – used a mix of this & rosemary

Really good call on using the sweet potatoes – while any mashed up potato will help in holding the mixture together, the sweet potato added a depth of flavor that would have been missing with the baking potato option.

As patties, the mixture held its shape, and cooking up in a non-stick pan with a bit of oil was easy.  Rather than opening a new jar of chutney, I made extra of the garlic yogurt dressing for the tangy salad to use as if Tzatziki.

In all, making these two dishes involved about 90 minutes of relaxed cooking with ample “hands off” time – and after a supper that combined the both, I have left overs I can bring for lunch (the patties) or use as a side for supper (salad).


Supper with a side of Shiner Bock.

Soon I’ll follow up with making other dish from that big batch collection – a cauliflower and blue cheese bake, and a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi for a cauliflower cake; both will be great for upcoming weekend brunches.

The rutabaga use comes with tonight’s meal. I’m making Sheperd’s Pie, but in this iteration of a UK favorite the starchy potatoes for the pie topping are replaced in full by mashed swede, or in part with combo of swede and carrot mash.  The mix is the option I’ll be taking.  This pie recipe is from another issue of Cook, which features ways of making four different recipes from one batch of mashed swede.

And I’ve bookmarked one more of the mashed swede recipes for some weekend when I want to make use of a Friday or Saturday night to stir up the makings for a next morning breakfast, as the cover feature of the mashed swede special is a savory beignets recipe featuring tumeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper in the flavoring.  It looks luscious – and should taste so after a night of the flavors mingling together in the fridge between stirring up, frying up, and topping up with with cilantro and lime pickle.


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