Archive for ‘Parsnips’

January 3, 2012

Variations on a Theme | Caramelized Endive and Walnut Risotto

It might strike you as esoteric, caramelized endive.  But let me assure you that it is entirely devour-able, and not in the slightest way effete.

And the New Year is a perfect time to delve into comforting vegetarian dishes.  I just know you want to ease into your new-found resolve to eat more veggies, but dammit, it should taste good and be filling.

In this risotto, the endive is left to caramelize in a separate pan, given only a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove and salt to help it achieve its golden color.  Do this and you are rewarded with what looks a whole lot like oxtail and onions, only unabashedly vegetarian.  And simmering in another pot, a simple elixir of water, parsnips (crucial sweetness, in my opinion, to balance the bitterness of the endive), onion, bay and some seeds from the summer’s past garden (corriander in this case) round out the quick stock.

Combine it all and you have yet another version of one of my favorite things to cook for my family: risotto.  It is, after all, my lifetime dish.  One of those things I want to master perfectly before I die.  After all it is resolution season.

PK Tip: This dish is entirely versatile.  Sub kale and pecans for a thoroughly American take on the dish; radicchio and chestnuts for a U.K. variation.

Caramelized Endive and Toasted Walnut Risotto; serves two to three; inspired by this recipe in the Telegraph

For the stock:
1 very large parsnip, peeled and quartered length-wise

1 small onion, unpeeled and quartered

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December 5, 2011

Early Winter Heaven | Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips

Turbot has become my new favorite fish.  At first blush, it’s light, mild, and delicate.  But a heartbeat later you realize its meaty, dense, and packed with beautiful flavor.  Pair it with this seasonal and politely assertive sauce and you’ll really get your loved one’s attention on a cold December night.  Most importantly, the ingredients are familiar and the techniques are pretty basic.  It’s a can’t miss weeknight meal that’s quick, healthy, satisfying and elegant.  I can hardly believe something so simple could make such an impact.  It’s a beautiful dish.

Turbot is popular on European plates, but lately it seems to be making its presence known in American eateries and grocery stores as well.  If you can’t find it, ask your fishmonger.  The success of this meal is directly related to the quality of the ingredients.  Find the best mushrooms you can.  These were from the Greener Grocer and perfection.  This is a modified version of a dish found in Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood.  You must own this book.

Early Winter Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips, serves 2

2/3 to 3/4 of a pound Turbot fillet

3 strips of bacon, thickly sliced

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November 30, 2011

Pie Season | Parsnip and Butternut Tart

Pie.  Tart.  Deliciousness in a dish.

The recipe for this Any Season Fruit (or Vegetable) Tart (page 19) is from Gilt Taste.  It’s a surprising base that can skew sweet or savory.  But on first blush, you could only assume it would be sweet as the base is butter and sugar creamed together.  It has to be cake, right?  But no, with a full teaspoon of salt in it, as well as some savory and thyme (thrown in by me), this autumnal pastry was devoured by everyone, including Cherub.

I used a combination of parsnips and butternut squash, parboiling them for just five minutes in heavily salted water before draining them and adding them to the tart.  I also sprinkled in some dried thyme and savory.  To add a little extra oomph to the final dish, I shook up a quick chili and sriracha cream in a half pint ball jar until thick.  A tablespoon per slice adds a nice kick of heat.

Playlist included Video Games, by Lana Del Rey.

February 9, 2011

Cold Weather Curry | Masoor Dal with Root Vegetables

Just because it’s a weeknight meal and it’s cold, and – let’s face it – you’re a little bit miserable, doesn’t mean that you have to compromise.

We always hear the world is getting smaller.  Things that we once thought were inaccessible, foreign and exotic, even five years ago, are now within easy reach of the home chef of today.  As South Asian food and culture continues to entice new followers, why not adopt these beautiful, time-tested and spice-kissed flavors as your own, even if just for one night?  You might just fall in love with the fragrances and techniques and make them a part of your cooking repertoire and perhaps, your family’s traditions.

Tonight’s recipe is for a dal that adds root vegetables.  Made with a base of quick cooking split red lentils, I added some onions, carrots, parsnips and potatoes.  The pleasure of a dish like this is that if you manage the base technique, you can change up the ingredients, and even spices to make it just to your taste.  Like cumin seeds, but don’t have the black cardamom? Fine. Use what you like and have.  PK tip: The basic trick to getting the flavor right in this dish is heating the oil very hot and frying the whole spices until they are very brown.  This makes a perfectly balanced vegetarian dinner if you serve this with basmati rice that’s been cooked with a cinnamon stick, four whole cloves and a few crushed cardamom pods.  Or if you’re in the mood for meat, serve this, like I did, with garam masala dusted lamb loin chops and homemade naan bread with cumin seeds.

Mansoor Dal with Root Vegetables

2 T vegetable oil

1 bay leaf

1 T whole corriander seeds

1 T whole cumin seeds

1 T whole mustard seeds

4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1 black cardamom pod, lightly crushed

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January 19, 2011

Globetrotter | Braised Brisket

Sometimes, the heavens align to make my cooking for the week a little easier.  Enter the brisket.  Such a great cut and so flexible.

Sidenote: I’m in serious trouble if Zeus is reading this post, because in the country I was raised, brisket can be prepared one way only.  Small exceptions are made one day out of the year – March 17th – when it is acceptable to consume corned beef.

A brisket is a great, inexpensive cut of meat that’s superbly tender if it’s been given some low and slow cooking (just like bbq, y’all).  And if you cook a really big piece of meat one day, you are left with the lovely proposition of leftovers.

Tonight, this simply-braised brisket was served in generous slabs lacquered with the cooking liquids.  Partnering it was a silken parsnip and potato puree and the world’s greatest (hyperbole, perhaps) spiced purple cabbage.  A bit like a dinner in Alsace.

The excess brisket will be the base of two more days of worldly deliciousness.  Look later this week for recipes in which the leftovers will be dressed up in tight Mexican Mariachi pants and a big hat and then subsequently looking demure in a separate Philippine dish.  Globetrotting indeed.

Simple Long-Braised Brisket

1 – 3 pound  brisket

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut in thirds

6 cloves garlic (I used some garlic confit that was in the fridge – you don’t have to, of course)

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October 21, 2010

Pub Night: Steak Pie with Mushy Peas

We have a love for just about all things English in this house: Shaun and Ed, Brit rock, Liberty fabrics, English comedy (the original Office, please), Chelsea football, Stilton, the Queen, English gardens, and the concept of a “local.”  Give me some grass-fed beef and I’ll give you a pie.  I could have used some kidneys to throw in there, too.  Next time.  I like to serve that lovely pie with some mushy peas.  These peas are the easiest side dish of all time: two ingredients, one of which is frozen peas.  While I didn’t use marrowfat peas as a traditional recipe calls, a good organic frozen variety pinch hits nicely.  Add in a bit of English cheddar to the peas and you’re laughing. 

A PK tip: this is a great meal for a Saturday afternoon; you need time, but not much of it is hands on time.  Plus it goes very well with beer.

Who Ate All The (Meat) Pie?

For the Pie

2 pounds (grass-fed, organic) chuck roast, cut in large cubed, bones reserved

small handful baby leeks, chopped (or 1 small onion, or 1 large leek)

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October 4, 2010

Dinner, Day Two: Needmore Chicken

Sunday dinner with the family is important to me.  It’s a time when the extended family  is invited (tonight it was Cronus and Rhea) and everyone partakes of a leisurely meal.  It’s a great thing for Cherub, who is three: she gets to practice her table manners and eat something the whole family is enjoying.    

For Local Foods Week, I thought chicken would make for a good Sunday dinner.  As it turns out, Hill Family Farm is in Xenia, about an hour away.  We bought a whole bird and decided to take it the French country route, a riff on a Coq au Vin.  Anthony Bourdain’s recipe in the les Halles Cookbook was a jumping off point.  I used Ohio wines for marinating and for the table.  Since we purchased our bird at Dorothy Lane Market, what better musical inspiration than Dayton’s Guided by Voices.   

Hades has hung with Franz Liszt; gave the odd tip to Stravinsky.  He’s held his own with Shane MacGowan, and there’s a rumor that he wrote the bassline to “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  In short, he knows music.  He cannot impress upon me the greatness of Guided by Voices often enough.  Its time to rock.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Ohio’s own, Needmore Chicken!    

Needmore Chicken    

1 whole roasting chicken, giblets removed and reserved for another use    

2 parsnips, sliced (ours were from the backyard)    

4 green onions, white parts only, sliced in two lengthwise (we were late to the farmer’s market, feel free to use a whole diced onion)    

Bouquet Garni – cheesecloth wrapped bay leaf, 10 peppercorns, small sprig of fresh thyme, two sprigs of parsley)    

1 bottle of red wine (we used Firelands Cab Sauv)   



In a large bowl that will hold the chicken comfortably, combine all ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight to 24 hours.    

Notice the lighter parts where a parsnip or chicken wing stuck close to the breast skin during marinating.



2 T butter    

1 T flour    

Salt and pepper    

After marinating, remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season inside and out with salt and pepper.    

Remove the bouquet garni, and strain the solids out of the marinade, reserving each seperately.  In a large, heavy lidded pot, add 2T of butter and heat over medium high heat until almost smoking.  


Using it for its God given purpose.


Place the chicken in the pot and sear on all sides until golden brown, turning as needed.  Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.  Tip in reserved vegtables from the marinade and cook until softened, about three to five minutes.  Sprinkle the vegetables with 1T of flour and stir to coat, cook for another minute.  Add back in the chicken, pour in the marinade.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes.   

1/4 pound bacon ends, chopped finely   

 1 large handful of shitake mushrooms, stems sliced, tops quartered   

 6 to 8 whole baby shallots (or pearl onions)   

Pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, water   

In a small skillet, render the bacon ends until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.  Keeping only 1 T of bacon drippings, heat over medium high heat and add in the mushrooms.  Sear until browned, remove to same paper towel lined plate as the bacon.  In the same pan, add in the shallots or onions, along with the salt, sugar and water to cover.  Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the shallots are carmelized a bit.  Add in two ladlefuls of the cooking liquid from the chicken and reduce until syrupy.  Remove from heat.   

When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the sauce and place on a cutting board to slice up.  Strain the liquid from the pot and add to the skillet with the reduction.  Mix in the bacon and mushrooms, remove from heat and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce.   

A simple, elegant appetizer for this meal, or any meal, let’s be honest, is French breakfast radishes with herb butter.  The butter was from Snowville cream, and mixed with backyard herbs (this time, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, basil, and green onion).   

Serve with egg noodles and Provencal tomatoes (tomatoes halved and stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsely, garlic and chopped tomatoes).  Pour a ladle of sauce over the noodles for good measure.   

Meal notes: breadcrumbs for the tomatoes were from the left over biscuits from this morning.  Noodles were from Mrs. Miller’s Homemade Noodles, Fredrickstown, Ohio.  Herbs were from Cronus’s garden.  All other sourcing can be found on the Farms and Producers page.  Wine served with dinner was a 2008 Syrah from Kinkead Ridge, Ripley, Ohio.  


Playlist included Bulldog Skin because it totally rocks and it’s my personal favorite GBV, unless you count My Valuable Hunting Knife…

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