Sunday, January 7, 2007

Crazy Head Parsnips

I really love the farmer's market at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park! It was an insane 72 degrees in New York today, so there was no way I could resist doing a run around the park before hitting the market. I got there a little late and wasn't surprised to find that there wan't a whole lot left. I'd hoped to pick up a bunch of ginger and some tiny onions for pickling this weekend, but no luck. Checking out one of my favorite stands that sells root veggies and sprouts, though, I spotted the funniest looking things I've ever seen. They were curly-headed parsnips! (picture to the side on this page)

You can imagine the first thing I thought: pickled parsnips! How crazy it would be to pickle these things...they'd look so cool in the jars. I asked the woman who runs the stand how she cooks them, and she said she'd never heard of picking them, but she likes to soak them for a few hours to get all the dirt out, and then just roast them whole with all the curly stems, which get crispy and crunchy. It's always a good idea to get an idea about the taste of a veggie, I think, before you pickle it, so I set my excitement for pickling aside and took them home to roast for dinner.

That morning over breakfast, I dug out my two old Bon Apetit and Cooking Light magazines to look for a recipe I had seen for a navy bean salad. I found that recipefor Cauliflower, White Bean, and Feta Salad, but also found a recipe for Ponzu-Glazed Flank Steak and decided that's what we would have for dinner. It was delicious, and looked festive and fun on the plate. If we ever did open a restaurant, this could be a good meal for kids. The steak was sweet and tender, the cauliflower salad looked like little clouds on the plate, and the parsnips--we decided we'd call them "crazy head parsnips" might entice even the most veggie-resistant. We drizzled some butter garlic sauce with rosemary over the parsnip heads.

I also picked up two big quinces, and asked the man who ran that stand how to cook them. He said I could treat them just like apples, and I asked him if he'd ever made a crisp out of them. He said he hadn't, he'd made pies, though, but that I would have a hard time doing it. He said I'd end up eating all the quince slices before they made it into the crisp dish! That's the great thing about having a local market like this. You can ask the sellers all kinds of different questions about their produce.....and they always know the answers! I'll be away for the next two weekends, but the next Saturday morning I'm back in Brooklyn, you'll definitely see me up at the market buying a pound of two of crazy head parsnips for pickling!

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