Food & Drink | April 2019

By Abby & Kevin Tankersley

In Season

Did you know that a turnip, if prepared the right way, can taste just like mashed potatoes?

Courtney Anderson didn’t know that. (And, honestly, I didn’t either.) But that was one thing that Anderson learned as she created “The Power of Produce: Nutrition,” a book of recipes and nutrition information during her time as an intern at World Hunger Relief Inc, also known as “the Farm.”

Anderson, who is pursuing her master’s degree in nutrition sciences at Baylor, said she saw many unfamiliar vegetables when she was working at the Farm.

“There were a lot of vegetables that I had no idea how to cook, and I imagine others feel the same way,” she said.

So she suggested that the Farm create a resource to explain basic information about the vegetables grown on the Farm and give some cooking tips as well. And then it fell to her to manage the entire process.

“I was in charge of the whole thing — creating it, marketing it, everything,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much time and effort it took to develop a project so seemingly small. Nonprofits in Waco work together, so I had to get input and then funding. Then I had to make sure it was marketed to the correct audience.”

She actually had to market the end product to two different audiences: one that will buy the $10 book as a show of support for WHRI, and one that will — hopefully in the near future — receive a free book in a box of produce from the Farm that the Family Health Center gives to its clients.

Last growing season, the Farm donated 1,300 boxes of produce to the health center, and that number is expected to increase this time around. Each box already comes with one recipe card, but the recipe book will give those receiving the vegetables even more guidance on how to cook the products, using as few tools and other ingredients as possible.

“Our goal was to make it simple and straightforward,” Anderson said. “We wanted to make sure that it was basic but involved enough to educate people.”

The book runs the gamut of vegetables, from beets to turnips. There are three cooking or serving suggestions for each of the vegetables, and other nutritional information is included as well. It lists foods that are sources of vitamins A, C, E and K.

Anderson, a native of Dallas, earned her undergraduate degree in nutrition sciences from Baylor and hopes to work as a nutrition counselor when she graduates in May 2020. She’ll receive her registered dietician license in a couple of months.

World Hunger Relief Inc. in Elm Mott, just north of Waco, “is a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of food insecurity and malnutrition through sustainable agriculture and community development,” according to its website. The store at the Farm is open to the public and sells eggs and meats from animals raised there. It also has a presence at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market each Saturday, and that’s where the recipe book can be purchased.

For recipes this month, we chose lots of vegetables that are in season. We paired grilled (or baked; either is good) pork tenderloin with bok choy and simple sautéed vegetables. And though it’s not in the photograph, we included a recipe that calls for spaghetti squash, one of our favorite vegetables. After it’s baked, the flesh of the squash turns into long, thin strands that resemble pasta. It’s a good substitute for pasta if you’re trying to cut back on carbs.

The Garlic-Herb Compound Butter is used for the vegetables. Save the rest of the butter and put a dab on steak hot from the grill right before serving, or spread it on bread before toasting to make a tasty sandwich. You can also use it on hot corn on the cob.

The Recipes

Pork Tenderloin

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin

In a large bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients. Place the tenderloin in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the tenderloin and refrigerate for several hours.

For baked pork tenderloin, heat the oven to 425 F.

Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place in a large baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 150 F for medium or 160 F for well-done.

To make grilled pork tenderloin, the tenderloin can instead be placed on a grill over low heat for about 25 minutes, turning often.

Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Garlic Baby Bok Choy

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 pound baby bok choy; rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bok choy, soy sauce and water; cover immediately. Cook for 1 minute, then uncover the pan and toss the ingredients. Cover and cook until the bok choy is tender at the core, about 3 more minutes.

Makes about 4 servings.


Sauteed Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons Garlic-Herb Compound Butter (recipe follows)
  • 1 beet, peeled and julienned
  • 1 turnip, peeled and julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 4 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons compound butter. Add the vegetables and saute until they’re crisp-tender, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 4 servings.


Garlic-Herb Compound Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

In a bowl, mash together the butter, garlic, herbs, lemon juice, pepper and salt.

Spoon the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a log and wrap well. Chill for at least 3 hours before using.

Makes about 8 servings.


Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

  • 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the squash halves, cut side up, on the foil. Drizzle with the sesame oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Turn the squash halves over and bake for about 1 hour, until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

Use a fork to scrape out the squash flesh. Transfer to a colander set over a large bowl, toss with 2 teaspoons of salt and let drain at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the fish sauce with the lime juice and brown sugar.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the carrots, bok choy, bell pepper and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the fish sauce mixture and cook for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in half the scallions and 1/4 cup of
cilantro. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the eggs and cook over moderate heat, swirling the pan to coat the bottom but not stirring, until the bottom is just set, about 1 minute. Using a thin spatula, carefully flip the eggs and cook until the bottom just sets, about 15 seconds. Carefully slide the eggs onto a work surface. Gently roll into a log and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips.

In the same skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the drained spaghetti squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of fish sauce mixture, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Return the vegetables to the skillet along with the egg and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in 1/4 cup of the peanuts and the remaining scallions and cilantro. Transfer to a platter and garnish with cilantro and the remaining peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes about 4 servings.


Mashed Turnips

  • 7 large turnips
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash the turnips and cut them into quarters. (You can peel them if you desire, but the recipe books suggest leaving the peel on as many vegetables as you can. That outer skin contains a lot of nutrients.)

Place in a large pot and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat and boil for 30-45 minutes, or until the turnips are tender. Drain the turnips and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash them like potatoes and add the milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 8 servings.