Root for these local, seasonal vegetables

Sometimes all it takes is a few new suggestions to encourage people to eat their veggies, even the most familiar.

Carrots of all things brought customers out in droves Tuesday to Ashland’s Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market. Applegate farmer Josh Cohen, who kindly shared the story of his carrots, for last week’s A la Carte, encountered a number of farmers market first-timers who were “intrigued” by the sound his organic produce. That translated to 400 pounds of carrots sold, a bit higher than normal, Cohen said.

Carrot recipes with last week’s story included soup, pilaf and root-vegetable ragout. Then columnist Jan Roberts-Dominguez added to the bounty with a slate of salad recipes that accompanied this week’s A Fresh Approach.

If all that wasn’t enough rooting for root vegetables, this week’s A la Carte edition of Since You Asked played up parsnips, often touted as carrots’ ideal companion. Parsnips help round out the ragout. And because parsnips deserve their own follow-up, here are a few more tips with a short, simple recipe courtesy of McClatchy News Service:

Keep parsnips unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a ventilated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Small, tender parsnips may be peeled and grated raw into salads.

Peel parsnips just before cooking just like you would carrots. If you find a bitter woody core in a large parsnip, remove it with a paring knife.

Parsnip Puree

6 to 8 medium-size parsnips

Whole milk, enough to cover

Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the parsnips like carrots and trim away tips. Cut into equal-size pieces. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with the milk. Add a pinch or two of the salt.

Simmer (don’t boil) until parsnips are soft and tender. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer solids to a blender jar and blend until smooth, using a little cooking liquid at a time — just enough to allow some movement in blender.

Blend some more. Adjust seasoning and enjoy. Makes 4 servings.

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  • Blog Author

    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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