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Savory-Sweet Rutabaga Pudding

Somewhere between a fluffy ricotta dessert and mashed potatoes, this delectable rutabaga pudding has all the qualities needed to become a standard in your culinary repertoire. This dish will surprise you in many ways: in taste, in texture, in ease of preparing, and in the compliments it will bring to your table. It pairs exceptionally well with lamb. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables.

Serves 6 to 8

1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds), peeled, cut into 2-inch dice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
butter for greasing the baking dish
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon maple syrup
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins, plumped in hot water for 15 minutes and drained (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rutabaga and 1 teaspoon salt, partially cover, and cook until the rutabaga is very soft, 30 to 45 minutes. (You will need to reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.)
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with butter.
3. Beat the eggs and egg yolk in a medium bowl. Stir in the cream, bread crumbs, maple syrup, and nutmeg.
4. Drain the rutabaga, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Mash the rutabaga thoroughly with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If the mixture seems dry, add a little of the reserved rutabaga water as you mash. Add the egg mixture, raisins, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grindings of pepper; stir to combine.
5. Transfer the rutabaga pudding to the prepared baking dish. Smooth the top and dot with butter.
6. Bake until lightly golden on top, about 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Market News

As I type this, there are 669 products listed at Athens Locally Grown. I’m sure that’s a record for us for this time of year. If you take a spin through the new products carousel, you’ll find a whole bunch of products listed by a brand new producer, AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery. They produce a surprising variety of Greek yogurts and fresh mozzarella cheese using daily deliveries of milk from another one of our growers, Johnston Family Farm. The yogurt was a smash hit in the breakfast line during the Georgia Organics conference, and I think it’s going to be a hit here at Athens Locally Grown. It’s really, really good stuff.

AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery and CalyRoad Creamery (more on them later) are two examples of what I see as a clear sign that our local food system has reached another level of maturity. Not only do we have growers supporting themselves by selling what they have grown, but now we have a number of people who are supporting themselves selling products made with ingredients from the growers. You always here about the “multiplication effect” when discussing the value of local economies, and I can’t think of a better example than this. We have mills grinding locally grown grain, creameries transforming local milk, and bakers using local ingredients. Having these other outlets for their items lets our growers produce more with confidence, and encourages new growers to begin production. It’s a win-win for everyone, and brings us that much closer to being a community that can support itself.

And getting back to CalyRoad Creamery, this past week saw the annual “Flavor of Georgia” contest held in Georgia. Food producers from across the state submitted samples for judging, and in the dairy category CalyRoad’s Camembert cheese took the top prize. They have about a dozen listed on the site this week, if Camembert is your thing. I know that’s not a lot, but keep in mind they’re a brand new creamery. We’ll be seeing a lot more as time goes on.

Enjoy the first week of Spring, and please enjoy the fruits of all of our growers’ and producers’ labors! I’m very happy to see so much locally grown & produced food listed week after week. Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Coming Events

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season too. All but Athens Locally Grown, that is.

Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!