Mother nature has been busy these past few days. Our snow has almost entirely melted and our skies have been clear and bright. The sunrises and sunsets have been a vibrant aura of orange, red, yellow, pink and purple hues. Temperatures have been higher than normal and it almost feels as though spring is just around the corner. The weather has a calmness to it, like the stillness of a snow globe when it rests on a shelf, unsuspecting of change. Seemingly ignorant that at any moment everything could change.
And like that, mother nature has stirred things ups. A bright blue sky beckoned the morning in and out of nowhere a hazy and grey covering made its way over the blue. The wind picked up and snow flurries danced across the sky. It was short-lived as a clearing came through and the sun peaked out its head. A few hours later the grey returned and this time, with even more gusto, the snow flurries covered the landscape blowing left and right and up and down. Our little world was turned upside and shaken, just like that snow globe. And after the flurries found their resting place on the ground, all returned back to normal. Only with colder temperatures this time.
I suppose that’s a good metaphor for each new year. There’s times of stillness, times of chaos, times of change, times of stagnation, times of highs and times of lows. One thing is certain, time carries on and our journey through it can be quite unpredictable.
Some things are predictable though. The first of the year always brings a whirlwind of lighter fare to the table. Resolutions abound with consuming more fruit and vegetables and leaner dishes. It’s a welcome approach following the holiday season of sweets and rich foods.
Kålrabi (rutabaga/swede) is one of my favorite root vegetables. I particularly enjoy it raw, with its crunchy exterior and earthy, sweet taste. It’s also really healthy with loads of vitamin C and one of those vegetables that’s just fun to look at.
Rutabaga has been cultivated in Norway since the 1600s and used for both human consumption and animal fodder. During WWII, the intake of rutabagas in the Norwegian diet increased dramatically with the shortage of potatoes. It remains widely used and is a most treasured side dish during the holidays.
So, here’s to the new year and to eating more rutabaga!
This salad is a lovely break from traditional salad. Rutabaga, apples and red cabbage are mixed together with toasted hazelnuts and dressed in a light vinaigrette. A light and fresh beginning to the year!
Rutabaga & Apple Salad (Kålrabi Salat med Epler)
(Makes a large bowl)
- 1 medium rutabaga (about 1-1.5 lbs)
- 2 apples, cored
- ¼ red cabbage (about 2 cups, cut)
- ½ cup whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped in half
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tb honey
Peel and cut the rutabaga into matchsticks by hand or with a mandolin. Cut the apples into matchsticks as well. Thinly slice the red cabbage. Place into a serving bowl.
Place the hazelnuts in a large frying pan over medium-high heat to toast. Shaking once and while to prevent burning. When starting to turn a golden brown remove from the pan and add to the salad. (I like to add the skins and all, but you can remove the skins if you wish)
Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk well. Pour over the salad and gently mix until everything is covered. Serve immediately.