Pity the Parsnip!

dear shoppers, The plain Jane of the root vegetables, the parsnip, has in recent decades at least, been vastly underutilized. In its heyday, when sugar was scarce, the parsnip was valued for its sugar content as well as its starch. But once sugar became more readily available and the mighty potato conquered Europe, the wan and frumpy parsnip took a back seat and was only fried or pureed into creamy soups.

Nothing wrong with that but the parsnip, whose flavor is actually surprisingly robust and delicate, is capable of SO much more! For starters, when very fresh, it is delicious raw if julienned into fine strips with other vegetables and tossed in a light lemon dressing.

Elizabeth Schneider, author of "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" suggests mashing parsnips with other starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beans or hard squash. Or, use parsnips in a gratin, with turnips, sunchokes and potatoes. The parsnip will always take credit for giving those heavier dishes a bit of a "lift."

Parsnips are delicious steamed, roasted, simmered & sautéed. Peeled Parsnip chunks add great flavor to soups and stews, just throw them in the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Here's a simple recipe for leggy roasted carrots and parsnips.

Have you tried the chicken soup at Bistro du Soleil - something your abuela could have made. Bright, clean flavors with a bit of a kick. The perfect way to ward off the chill. True Food has a new spicy Indian wrap as well as pulled-pork burritos, which should also help. Take home one of their rustic chicken or vegetable pot pies to serve with, what else?  A fine parsnip & potato mash...made only better by a drizzle of Kontoulis Olive Oil, also here this week.

Have you rendered your turkey for Thanksgiving? Both Roaming Angus and Raghoo Farms should have some birds left. You can also order an organic bird from McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton. They will deliver the birds to the Irvington pre-Thanksgiving Farmer's Market on Wednesday, November 27 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Main St. School. Just go to www.mcenroeorganicfarm.com and click on the "order a turkey online" link. Make sure to let them know you want to pick up at the Irvington Market on the 27th.

BRING YOUR CARVING KNIFE FOR SHARPENING THIS SATURDAY - you don't want to tackle your turkey with a dull blade!

See you at the market!