Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Root vegetable magic
My CSA sends a newsletter each week. It has a list of produce members will get that week, news about the farm and a recipe featuring one of the vegetables that are available for pickup. Last week they sent around a recipe for aromatic parsnips and carrots, which they got from Food.com. It simply never occurred to me to blend the spices that this recipe calls for, but they work very, very well with carrots and parsnips.
It takes maybe 30 minutes to make, so if you're looking for a really quick vegetable side dish, it's probably a no-go. However, it adds a real kick to any meal. It's a wonderful combination of sweet, savory and spicy, with hints of lemon and a tang of cinamon. It offered a bright and complex taste; I really, really liked it. Your kitchen will smell like heaven when you make it, and you'll be quite tempted to forgo the main course (or just make this the main course).
I did a few things differently, as I was pressed for time---I didn't shred the lemon peel, I just used the juice, and I didn't crush the fennel seed. It still came out great.
This did inspire me to start thinking a little more creatively about side dishes. I often steam or sautee vegetables, maybe with a little garlic or some herbs (depending on the vegetable I'm cooking). Sometimes I'll pan-sear something (like brussel sprouts) or I'll roast them. But I think combining different herbs or spices is something I should start doing, especially ones that I may not have considered before. Like cinamon. Yes, people use cinamon for winter squashes, as well as brown sugar. Have I mentioned that with the exception of Thanksgiving, I do not cook squash with sugar? What is that point of that? It's sweet enough. And I associated cinamon with sugar, so I didn't bother using it when I cooked vegetables.