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Nourish and Nurture

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Melissa Clark joins us to talk about eating and cooking local vegetables during this challenging time of year. Then A History of the World in 100 Objects continues with a look at a Native American pipe shaped like an otter. And Pamela Druckerman takes a look at what the French can teach us about raising children.

Melissa Clark on Winter Vegetables

Farmers markets are looking pretty bare this time of year, and cooking the vegetables that are in season right now can be difficult. Cookbook writer and New York Times dining columnist Melissa Clark is here to help! She offers inspiration and a variety of recipes to make use of rutabagas, kohlrabi, celery root, parsnips, and dark green leafy vegetables. She’ll also take calls from listeners to give advice on making the most of winter vegetables. Her most recent cookbook is Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make.

If you have a question about how to cook what's in season now, or what to do with the vegetables you have on hand, call us: 212-433-9692!

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An American Mother on the Wisdom of French Parenting

Journalist Pamela Druckerman compares the French and American ways of parenting. In Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, Druckerman reveals the secrets behind French parenting—from their parenting philosophy to their different view of what children are.

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late night subway map

Object #10: The NYC Subway Map

It’s fitting that we kick off our countdown of the 10 objects that tell the story of New York with an object that, quite literally, lets us explore the city. Even the most savvy, life-long New Yorker ends up consulting the subway map regularly. That's probably the case because — for better or worse — a subway map is the map that explains much of the city’s geography to us. (continue reading)

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Melissa Clark's Crispy Roasted Cabbage

If a regular Irish boiled corned beef and cabbage dinner is the essence of soft, silky, and supple, my version is crisped, browned, crunchy – the cabbage included. Roasting it in slices gives the cabbage plenty of surface area to brown in the oven, while the center gets tender but doesn’t turn soggy. We eat roasted cabbage all winter long and into spring, all the way up until the day the first asparagus show up at the farmers’ market. Then we unceremoniously cast cabbage aside – until the next winter, when we are grateful for its hardy, sustaining, sweet presence in every market stall.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

 

1 pound green cabbage (1 small one or half a large one), cored

Olive or peanut oil, for brushing

Pinch kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut the cabbage into 1-inch thick slices. Brush the slices with olive oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Try to keep the pieces from falling apart (though if they do start to separate that is ok). Sprinkle the cabbage with a generous seasoning of salt. Roast, turning once, until crispy and browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

 

What Else?
Obviously you needn’t limit yourself to serving this with corned beef. I like it as part of an all-vegetable meal, with brown rice and fried tofu croutons. It’s also lovely as a side dish for roast chicken, maybe under a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and showered with dill. Sometimes I make it by itself for lunch and eat it accompanied by toasted brown bread with plenty of butter. Sometimes I sprinkle grated cheese (pecorino is excellent) on top during the last 10 minutes of roasting. If you like cabbage, you will find plenty of ways to enjoy this simple dish.

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Melissa Clark's Roasted Rutabagas with Maple Syrup and Chili

Every time I roast a rutabaga, I mentally thank Bill Maxwell, of Maxwell Farms. He was the one who suggested, then cajoled, then finally insisted that I try rutabagas again when I hadn’t had one in years. “They’re so sweet I don’t know why people aren’t going crazy for them,” he said, motioning to a milk crate brimming with the waxy vegetables. “Because they’re hard to cut and then when you cook them don’t taste like anything,” I said. “Those must have been old and overgrown. Just try one of these and tell me what you think,” he said, pressing a pineapple-sized specimen into my hands.

Bill suggested I boil it, mash it, and serve it with caramelized onions. I went home and roasted it instead. I’d read online that roasted rutabaga was the ideal way to cook the vegetable, caramelizing its juices and enhancing its sweetness. And Bill was right, the rutabaga was wonderful – soft, mellow, browned around the edges, and tasting a little like roasted butternut squash with a pleasantly sharp, turnipy edge.

Since that day, I roast rutabagas all the time, often glazed with a little maple syrup or honey to help deepen the browning. In this recipe, I’ve added a pinch of chili for a spicy kick, but the rutabaga is good without it, too, and perhaps more appropriate if you’re feeding small children. The one thing I haven’t done yet is to try Bill’s recipe for a rutabaga mash. But I will soon, now that his rutabaga authority has been so firmly established.

Makes 4 servings

 

1 1/2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the rutabaga, oil, syrup, salt, and cayenne; toss well to combine. Spread the rutabaga in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the rutabaga is tender and dark golden, about 40 minutes.

 

What Else?
Like turnips, rutabagas are sometimes an acquired taste. If you’re still getting used to it, you can substitute some of the rutabaga for potatoes, carrots, parsnips, or whatever other root vegetables you are into at the moment.

If you haven’t worked with rutabagas before, they are a little bit more watery than most root vegetables. I think this gives them a refreshing feel, even when roasted, but it does mean that you probably won’t achieve that totally crisp, dark brown crust you usually get on roasted vegetables. A nice golden hue is just about right. The maple syrup will also help caramelize them a bit.

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