Tam had made a soda-pop run and I asked her to pick up a turnip. I was expecting one of the near-giant ones our corner store stocks -- but they don't carry Tam's preferred soft drinks. The store that does have it sells medium-sized turnips in bags of five or six.
After adding a couple of turnips to the stew (along with a potato, onion, carrots, celery and a small can of tomato paste), there were three left. Frustrating, because they don't keep as well as potatoes.
This morning, it occurred to me that most of the ways we cook potatoes can be applied to turnips, often with tasty results. Home-made turnip chips are a real treat, crunchy and with a complex, slightly-sweet flavor. So what about latkes?
My favorite recipe calls for a couple of large potatoes, shredded or coarsely grated and with the liquid pressed out; three peeled turnips is about as much volume. The binder is a half-cup of flour (I shorted it a bit and added cornmeal to make up the difference), two teaspoons of coarse salt, a teaspoon of baking powder and a half-teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper. That gets mixed into the shredded vegetable along with a couple of beaten eggs. You're supposed to grate an onion, too; I'd used the last one the night before, so a generous amount of onion powder, a little garlic powder and a couple of teaspoons of dried chives filled in for the fresh onion.
So, yes, turnip latkes.
[TAMARA KEEL PHOTOS]