Imagine going to the grocery store, fending off the oblivious shoppers and crying children to stake your claim at the dairy cooler, agonizing over food labels, arriving at the purest choice, and investing a small fortune in a gallon of the most earth-friendly, wholesome milk on the shelf. Then imagine returning home, unloading your groceries and promptly pouring half of that milk-of-the-gods down the drain. You wouldn’t do that with your milk, and yet, we as consumers probably discard a lot of valuable ingredients without a second thought.
The Urban Farmer lives and breathes the word “permaculture,” and the principles have begun to permeate our kitchen too. As the movement’s co-founder Bill Mollison described, “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation, rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” (Check out this short video of Bill Mollison to learn a little more). In simpler terms, learn more, and waste less.
If we go back to that grocery store analogy, dumping a half-gallon of milk down the drain seems preposterous, but most of us, myself included, have tossed valuable greens into the compost, at best, or worse yet, straight to the garbage pail. These leafy greens offer a world of flavor beyond the pre-packaged produce aisle varieties, as well as many nutritional benefits. Inspired by the Urban Farmer’s permaculture interests and the latest CSA shares, I channeled a classic savory snack as a way to take full advantage of the seasonal turnips- chips and dip!
If you have a mandolin slicer, you’ll be able to mimic the thin crispness of store-bought chips, but being a rustic, knife-slicing type of gal, my “chip” consistency landed somewhere between a roasted potato and a potato chip. However, the extra depth soaks up the spices and delivers waves of flavor, especially when paired with a thick dollop of dip!
Accented with fresh, fragrant dill, this Turnip Greens Dip is reminiscent of the party spreads we all know, but this blend of raw turnip greens, garlic and thick and creamy Greek yogurt replaces guilty snacking with a clear conscious. This is wholesome, conscious eating that works to waste less and enjoy more.
We all affect the environment with our choices, but what I find inspiring about permaculture is seeking how my individual influence can be a positive force for the world, how I can add and contribute, rather than resisting and combating. You attract more flies with honey, as they say, so whether you’re a gardener, an old hippy, an “earth cruncher,” or just a plain old salty-snack lover, take advantage of the whole turnip, and share this savory snack with someone who might not understand your fixation with soil and seeds.
Baked Turnip Chips and Turnip Greens Dip
About This Recipe: If you’re a gardener or CSA member in planting zones 5 or 6, you’re probably seeing lots of turnips, radishes and herbs in your produce shares or at the farmers’ markets. These two recipes work together to use all of the turnips. The dip is also delicious on pasta or sandwiches, or any place you might use a pesto. The thickness of the turnip slices will alter baking time, so watch the turnips carefully when in the oven.
Baked Turnip Chips
10-12 small-medium turnips & greens
1/2 cup melted, organic, extra-virgin coconut oil
1 Tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from 1 organic lemon)
1 teaspoon Yakama Smoked Sea Salt (or regular sea salt)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash, and slice the turnips thin. Save the turnip greens.
In a large bowl, toss turnips with remaining ingredients; stirring to evenly coat them with oil and spices.
Lay turnip chips flat on a baking sheet. If you stack turnip chips, baking time will be increased.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, to desired crispness, flipping the turnips halfway through baking. Note: If you use a mandolin or are able to slice the turnips to less than ⅛”, your baking time will be drastically reduced- 10-15 minutes.
Turnip chips are best enjoyed while still warm.
Turnip Greens Chip Dip
yield: ~2 cups
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled, cut in halves
2-3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
Turnip greens from a bunch of turnips (see image above)
handful of fresh dill
dash of freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt (such as Fage)
½ cup organic, raw cashews (or nut of choice)
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, and sautee the garlic, until soft and lightly brown.
Combine the remaining butter, the garlic and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse to desired consistency.
Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek into my life. My trusty kitchen companion and photography assistant, Julep, is never far from my side.