Posts tagged ‘parsnip’
I realize I’ve left you for nearly a week without a new recipe. I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually, I do. I was thinking how nice it would be to get away and enjoy a little winter sporting, namely cross country skiing at beautiful Crystal Lake. So, instead of cooking and writing a post over the weekend like usual, I got some gear together and headed north with D.
Before any of you ski enthusiast out there start thinking about leaving comments regarding the technicalities of cross country skiing and my experiences, let me put a stop to it right here. I’m thatperson, the one puttzing around the trails, falling at least once every mile and laughing at myself. I am not a good skier, but I do love being out in the snow, filling my lungs with clean winter air and getting some much needed vitamin D from the sun’s rays. I spend as much time stopped, gazing out among the towering pine trees at some bit of wildlife, as I do gliding along on my skis.
So that’s what I did this weekend instead of blogging. Now, more importantly, let’s talk about what I did rigtht before I left for this mini-vacation. I made my very first soufflés ever. They were Parsnip Soufflés to boot. Fancy, eh?
I’m not sure why I’d never made a soufflé before last week – probably something to do with my general disinterest in heavily egg-y savory dishes – but I’m quite happy I finally gave soufflé-ing a shot. Yes, they deflated within moments of exiting the oven, but the color was gorgeous and, thanks to the parsnip, the flavor was complex and not at all eggy. On the flip side of that coin, these soufflés are heavy on the parsnip “zing” so if you’re not a huge parsnip proponent, it might not be the recipe for you.
a thin slice of parsnip held up to the light
Port Wine and Pastries: Yes, my dear readers, I am currently away from my desk/computer, hiking around the steep hills of Lisbon and rural sections of the northern Minho region of pint-sized Portugal. I can’t wait to get back and tell you all about the rich old-world culture of this unique little country oft forgotten by European travelers intent on getting to Italy and Spain. In the meantime, enjoy this post for Parsnip Chips (a knock off of Terra brand chips), and please have patience with my delay in responding to comments.
Obrigada e adeus (thank you and farewell)!
To make parsnip chips, slice parsnip into rounds as uniformly and thinly as possible. If using a mandoline, apply almost no pressure to the mandoline when running the parsnip over the blade.
For microwaving: Lay parsnip slices out in one layer on parchment paper, being careful not to overlap the slices. Spray slices with butter spray and sprinkle with salt. Place another sheet of parchment paper over parsnip slices. Cook on high for 3 minutes. Check to see if slices are crisp. If not, cook for 30 seconds more and check again. Continue with this method until you’ve established the correct time needed to produce crisp, but not blackened, chips. Repeat process for all the slices, being careful to reduce time as necessary as your microwave heats up and gets more moisture in it with multiple batches.
For frying: Heat 2 cups of vegetable or peanut oil in a deep pot until piping hot (test oil with a pinch of flour – if it sizzles, it’s ready). Add about 6 or 7 parsnip slices at a time, using a slotted spoon to lay them into the oil so you don’t get splattered. Fry for about a minute until darkening around the edges. Flip them over with the spoon and fry until deep brown. Parsnips need to get very dark before they’ll get crisp – don’t worry, you’re not burning them. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on parchment or paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Repeat process for remaining parsnip.
With either method, one large parsnip will yield about 1 cup of chips.
I’d like to think I’m a fairly dedicated soul when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. I eat lots of vegetables, snack mostly on nuts and pretzels instead of junk, and ride my bike a lot. I also try to go to the gym over my lunch break every day. I’m not a fan of the corporate culture, but I do have to say I love having a company gym that makes winter workouts convenient. But even with the treadmill a mere 15 steps from my cozy cube space, the “convenience” just wasn’t making an impression on me yesterday. Fridays are always a tough day for discipline, aren’t they? Instead of hitting the gym, I found myself daydreaming about dessert. Woops.
I couldn’t dispel the daydream all afternoon and found my feet shuffling towards the grocery store (instead of the gym) after work in search of ingredients for a recipe I’ve been concocting in my head all week. Little did I know I wouldn’t need the gym to get my workout in the end…
Ever since my parsnip soup post’s discussion about this underrated vegetable’s sweetness, I’ve been thinking about how to use them in a dessert. I was thinking maybe scones or a quick bread. But then I was struck by the idea of carrot-turned-parsnip cake. I mean, it seemed so obvious that these two root vegetables could be used interchangeably. So that was my plan. Until Friday night’s cold walk to the grocery store, during which I decided I wasn’t in the mood for a carrot cake knock-off, at least not entirely.
Make your own cupcake/muffin liners using squares of wax paper
Wandering the aisles, narrowly missing first a baby stroller and then another shopper’s cart, I mulled over my options. I definitely liked the idea of cake. But gym-shirker that I was, I didn’t want anything too guilt-inducing. I saw some ginger and the idea ball started rolling from there. I decided to put together a relatively airy and warmly spiced batter to transport my parsnip into cupcakes (portion control, my friends, is what it’s all about) that I’d then top with a lighter version of cream cheese frosting accented by fresh ginger. I think I had just uttered “eureka” in my head when literally I tripped over the shelf holding the raw sugar, which turned out to be the perfect decoration for these homespun treats.
Wondering yet how it is that I got my workout? It wasn’t terribly long, but it was demanding. I’d never grated a parsnip before and if these cupcakes hadn’t turned out so darn delicious, I never would again. Those things are tough!! But the cupcakes are amazing, so it was worth the grueling upper body workout to get the couple cups of grated parsnip that I needed. If you have that glorious luxury called a food processor, I’d advise using it.
So that’s the story about how I got my workout and felt justified in satisfying my Friday night sweet tooth with a cupcake.