I don’t often use this blog to vent. I prefer it to simply be a fun collection of my adventures in the kitchen, sort of a culinary scrapbook, that allows me to share one of my hobbies with others in return for the numerous times I’ve been inspired by them.
These last few weeks have been rough, though.
I’ve had a stack of recipes ready and waiting on my desk; a collection of veggies and odd ingredients taking up space in my fridge. There just hasn’t been much time to cook and the time I do have I’ve spent with good friends and family to try to help lighten my mood. You see, as much as I enjoy my job – and I really do enjoy it most of the time – it can be very emotionally draining. I don’t have to face tragedies so directly as my good friend over at Corn Flakes And Coffee does, I don’t know how she is able to put so much dedication and care into children only to see them slip away at the end, but I do witness the aftermath of tragedies. As a recovery technician for a non-profit tissue bank I sometimes see teenagers, children even, who have no business being in a morgue. And this month there have been more than ever.
After my most recent teenage suicide case I felt my emotions shift from sadness to anger. How can these kids even think of ending their lives when they have yet to experience even a fifth of it? What makes them think that this world is so limiting that there can’t possibly be anything better, anything different, any escape? Why aren’t people listening to them and giving them the support they so desperately need??
So, I started looking into suicide watch groups in my state in an effort to find some way to help prevent these tragedies. While there are some amazing organizations in place to help train teachers, administrators, and the like, there are currently very few local resources for the average citizen. Then, I remembered reading about a national group that can work with volunteers from across the globe to help prevent suicide and promote awareness. After doing a bit more research, I signed up and had my interview today! It was quite long – over an hour – but I passed and am now about to begin my training.
One the big attractions to this program is that, once completed, I will be fully certified in crisis intervention and so will be qualified to help at other organizations outside of this project if I care to do so in the future. I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing, large-scale effort and can’t wait to become a full-fledged volunteer! 🙂
Now, back to the food…
Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter
(Eating Well, December 2010)
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and diced
8 oz. turnips (about 2 medium)*, peeled and diced
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
30 fresh sage leaves, divided
2 T butter
1 t salt
pepper to taste
*Note: I don’t know much about turnips and this is the first time I’ve ever cooked one, but just one of the turnips at my market weighed about 13 oz! Like other vegetables, I’m sure turnips come in varieties so as long as you can get at least 8 oz. worth for this recipe you’re fine.
- Place potatoes, turnips, garlic, and 12 sage leaves in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to Medium-low, cover, and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
- Drain and return vegetables to the pan; cover to keep warm.
- Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. As the butter melts and turns lightly brown add the remaining sage and allow them to crackle and flavor the butter for about 1 minute.
- Pour the sage butter – saving the fried leaves for garnish – over the vegetables and smash the mix with a potato masher. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
This is one delicious mash, peeps. If you like sweet potato pie, but wish it were a bit more savory or want a healthy twist on traditional, creamy mashed potatoes this is the recipe for you. According to the source recipe, a single serving of this orange beauty provides 180% of your daily value of Vitamin A! In addition “preliminary research suggests [sage] may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. In another study, college students who took sage extracts in capsule form performed significantly better on memory tests, and their moods improved.” So there you go. Super simple recipe with a very impressive name and plenty of health benefits to boot!
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥