Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Parsnips, Please!

Ahhhhh, parsnips. I mentioned this new love affair a few days ago. Inspired by a parsnip puree scented with 5 spice powder I had at Moveable Feast, I made a puree of my own for our Christmas dinner. Parsnips and pears cooked in cream and finished with a splash or two of dry sherry. It was looked upon warily by the entire family. Heavenly, is an understatement and it was liked, even by the most cautious of the bunch.

My 2010 resolution (Should I say one of them or would that be a total falsehood?) is to experiment and inspire others to experiment with new vegetables that have been passed by for years. Besides, who isn't sick of broccoli by February 1st? I've experimented with celery root, green cabbage, pascal celery, fennel and, of course, the lovely parsnip.

I needed to do a demo at the Community Winter Market a few weeks ago. Demos in the winter can be a bit challenging, when working with local food in Chicago. Parsnips, perhaps since they're my new fav, seemed like a good ingredient to focus on. Why not a quick bread?

I decided to use some walnut oil I had in the fridge in place of a more basic canola oil.

A handful or two of coarsely chopped walnuts.

Since I doubled the recipe, I used an ice cream scoop to equally divide the thick dough between the two pans.

Out of the oven, it looks, well, basic. It's a tasty if simple spice bread and received many recipe requests. Always a good sign. I noticed as the leftovers aged, the flavor of parsnips became more pronounced. It made this basic loaf more complex and even better. Now, unfortunately, since there isn't much in the way of knock out nutrients in parsnips, this isn't going to be considered a "superfood" any time soon.

What makes this recipe worth trying is that it's made with an unusual vegetable. Sometimes the unusual all you need for a gratifying day in the kitchen.

Spiced Parsnip Bread

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
3/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2# (2 medium) parsnips, peeled, cored and finely grated
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8x4 bread pan.
Stir together flour, baking powder,salt, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, walnut oil, egg and vanilla extract then fold in parsnips. Gently stir flour into parsnip mixture. Gently stir in walnuts.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack.


Georgine said...

I would have never thought to make parsnip bread! Is it like carrot bread? Just add cream cheese icing and I'll eat it!

Jennifer said...

Seriously though, you can put cream cheese frosting on ANYTHING!!!