Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Roots of the Garden

During our last Midwestern warm spell, I spent some time in the garden. I treated myself to the digging of my first parsnip. It was humongous - freakishly so but I'll proudly eat it anyway. This is the first time I've ever grown parsnips and I am going to leave them in the ground covered with a cozy layer of straw. I love the idea of going out to harvest food from my snow covered yard. Parsnips are an oft overlooked vegetable. Look for them at your local green market. Roast, puree or bake them in bread. Add them to your rotation and I promise you'll be thrilled

My other first attempt this year was celery root. I bought tiny plants, set them in the ground and left them alone. The occassional top off of dirt and that's it. Today I will be bringing them all in where I am sure I will cook them in quick succession. This first dug was a bit smaller than I had hoped. The can get really big and knarly looking. Slipped into a stew or pot of buttery mashed potatoes. Heaven.

Though modest, I am happy with the new additions to my garden this year. I will definitely include them again next year. Until them I will eat.

Looking for something to do with parsnips? Try thinking "outside the recipe box" recipe.

Spiced Parsnip Bread
Something unusual & delicious from Relish

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1`/2 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
3/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1/2# parsnips (about 2 medium), peeled and finely shredded
1/4 c. walnut or canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan.

Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon,allspice, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, parsnips, oil, egg and vanilla. Slowly stir parsnip mixture into flour mixture. Stir in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake 55-65 minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool in pan on wire rack.

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