an otherworldly parsnips recipe

One of the things I like most about subscription to our CSA box is that occasionally we’ll get veggies that I’ve never tasted or even seen before.  it was through these means that Sunchokes, agretti (a relative of the tumbleweed family!), and nettles were introduced into our lives–despite their wild-west heritage, agretti are delicious and I liked sunchokes so much I actually sought them out at the Farmer’s market once, nettles I can live without, or maybe I prepared them incorrectly. 

Another more common produce item which I’d just not experienced before was parsnip.  Parsnips are not super-prevalent here in the US and indeed, the only place I’ve ever even seen them sold is the farmer’s market.  Apparently this is because of how difficult they are to grow and store.  That said, they are delicious and if you’ve never had them before, imagine something starchy like a potato, but sweet like a carrot.  Parsnips are downright heavenly when roasted in the oven, and drizzled with maple syrup, giving them a brittle, carmel-like glaze:

Roasted parsnips with Maple Syrup (Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine & the Two Small farms recipe page)
2-4 parsnips, peeled and quartered–parsnips should be white, firm and not spongy inside. 
olive oil
maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

pre-heat oven to 400F.  line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and spread out the parsnips out.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss briefly and arrange in a single layer (do not allow to overlap or touch, they will not carmelize correctly).  put in oven for 45 minutes, until the parsnips begin to brown at the edges.  Remove from oven and drizzle 1/2-1 teaspoon maple syrup onto each parsnip piece.  put back in oven for about 15 more minutes.  Maple syrup will reduce and turn into a brittle-like candy on the outside and bottom of each parsnip.  peel off the aluminum foil and eat, or serve.

Obama Family to eat home grown Veggies!

Home grown veggies get major press today as it was disclosed that the White House will have its own veggie garden for the first time since WW2!  This shines a strong and positive spotlight on fresh, locally grown veggies as a way to combat obesity and make investments in one’s personal health.  Although I don’t think many people will necessarily grow their own food, they can turn to other forms of Community Supported Agriculture–or consuming food grown by local farmers.  We’ve been subscribing to a CSA box for three years now, and living in California we’re spoiled for choice with the farmers markets in every town, and a multitude of subscription services available.    That said, there needs to be awareness and strong support elsewhere in the country too, and the Obama’s garden will be a big step in that direction!

Here’s a link where you can find out more about the Community Supported Agriculture choices near you.