Tag Archives: parsnips

Root vegetable and rice gratin: 92 cents/serving

The first time I ever had a traditional gratin, I actually thought I was being virtuous. Look at this! I thought. A dish based entirely on vegetables! That is, until I actually took a bite, and realized the vegetables were nothing but a coagulant for what seemed like an entire carton of cream and a pound of cheese. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a bona fide cheese and cream fan, but it was even too much for me. A single bite was so thick and heavy, the only discernible flavors were fat and salt. This gratin is far from traditional and probably even pushes the definition of “gratin,” but the flavor of each vegetable (you can use whichever ones you like) comes through loud and clear. Plus, you can eat it as a main dish without a whit of guilt.

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Wine-braised short rib & parsnip ragout: $2.27/serving

When I was a kid, I remember noticing with not a small tinge of horror that my mom seemed to eat everything—eggplant, lima beans, Brussels sprouts…things that, to me, ranked up there with boiled rat spleen. I remember asking one day if there was anything on earth she didn’t like, and she responded that in fact there was: parsnips. I knew nothing about parsnips at that point, but somehow found myself subconsciously ignoring them well into my late 20s. After all, if someone who’s willing to eat Brussels sprouts doesn’t like them, why should I even try? Now that I’m well acquainted with $1.29-a-pound parsnips, they’re not only one of my favorite root vegetables, I can’t fathom why someone wouldn’t like them. At their worst they’re simply overgrown, knobby white carrots, at their best they’re shockingly sugar-cube-sweet, a perfect match for rich and beefy short ribs.

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Curried root vegetable stew with currant dumplings: $1.17/serving

To be honest, the only reason I even wanted to try this stew was because, unlike the similar root vegetable cobbler I made back in November, it called for my three favorite root vegetables of all time: sweet potatoes, parsnips, and celery root. Unfortunately, momentary amnesia precluded me from remembering where we shop, because of course our grocery store doesn’t have celery root. Did you know this very store that I complain about at least once a week was actually featured a few years back in a somewhat famous photograph, held up across the Internet as an example of All That Is Wrong With This Country? What it lacks in things like porcini, mint (seriously, this store DOES NOT EVEN CARRY MINT), and celery root, it makes up for in six different kinds of Cheez-Its and half an aisle devoted to artificially flavored pudding. So, in a moment of duress and frustration, I grabbed a rutabaga.

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