Sunday, October 25, 2015

Parsnip and Carrot Puree

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I was put on side dish duty for two Thanksgiving dinners the weekend before last (it was Canadian Thanksgiving here), and my friend Kristy suggested I try one of her family favourites - Parsnip and Carrot Puree.  She said it was so good that she likes to have a little bit of it on the fork with every bite of her Thanksgiving dinner.  Sold!  So I found a great recipe on and decided to give it a shot.

Just four ingredients: parsnips, carrots, chives, and butter.  So simple, yet so much flavour!  You will need an immersion blender for this recipe to get the vegetables pureed easily and to the right consistency.  The Hubby was a little leery about it being too much like baby food, but in the end even he agreed it should be a new holiday dinner staple.  The great thing is that this recipe is made entirely on the stovetop, so you can save the room in your oven for a bird or other side dishes.  You can also make it ahead and reheat in the microwave or oven before eating.

Oh, and when I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, The Hubby's cousin Shannon told me that parsnips are the trendy vegetable right now.  They are like the kale of 2015 or the brussels sprouts of 2014...her predictions (and she is vegetarian I might add, so she knows) are that 2016 is going to be all about the parsnip!  I mean, look at these could they not be trendy and cool?

Calling it right now...trendiest vegetable of 2016.
I had 32 parsnips on my kitchen counter because I doubled the recipe for both dinners.  The young clerk who sold them to me at the grocery store was like, "Are these white carrots?"  No, they are parsnips, I said, as if I didn't have to Google what a parsnip looked like myself before heading to the grocery store so that I would know what to look for.  Although they are related to the carrot family (also learned on Google before leaving the house), I wanted to add but didn't, because in no way would he care.  He responded, "Why do you have so many parsnips?  No one needs this many parsnips."  Fair point.  But his comment didn't discourage me, and with 32 parsnips I left the store, nervous that I had too many parsnips and that no one needed this many parsnips.  But all 32 were used, eaten, and enjoyed.

So if you're in the mood to try out something new at your holiday table (or really any dinner with roasted meat), this side dish is a winner.  As mentioned, I doubled the recipe both times that I made it, so the pictures you see here are for a doubled recipe, which would feed about 8-10 people at a small dinner without many other side dishes and with people taking a big scoop, or it will feed many more people if you are at a larger dinner that likely has more side dishes and where everyone will just take a very small scoop.   It's a great alternative to mashed potatoes, or just served right alongside the masted potatoes like we did.  Delicious.


For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Two Years Ago:  Healthy 'Everything' Cookies
Three Years Ago:  Goat Cheese Pesto Torte

My messy pot of parsnippy deliciousness

Parsnip and Carrot Puree

Serves: 4

  • 8 parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces (see this helpful video for a how-to on coring parsnips)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chives, snipped
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Put parsnips and carrots into a pot, covering completely with water and a couple of pinches of salt.  Place over high heat on the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Drain water, return vegetables to pot (if not already there), and add the chives and 3 tablespoons butter.  Using an immersion blender, puree until just a few small chunks remain.  Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and blend or stir until combined.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve immediately, or cover and reheat in oven or microwave when it's time to serve your meal.

Recipe Source: Parsnip and Carrot Puree

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Plum Cake

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Hi friends!

I keep doing that thing where I don't post for months and then get a random burst of energy and blogginess, and then don't post again for months.  The food I have been cooking lately has lacked any inspiration, and thus I haven't had much of anything to post besides the 50 or so draft blog posts in my drafts folder but who's counting.  But then, this plum cake happened.  In my mouth.  In all it's plummy deliciousness.  And so here we are again!  Also, my friend Katie told me this week that her friend from work recommended my blog to her, which is the first time that's happened that I know of, and that is just so cool to know that people who I don't know are out there reading this blog of mine...hello unknown readers (of which I now know there are at least one)!!!  Welcome!

The Hubby and I were asked to bring a dessert to our friends April and Brad's house the night they had to cook us dinner as their punishment for a three-peat loss in our Big Brother pool.  Embarrassing performance, April and Brad!  Well, my mom had recently visited her friend Denise at her apple (and plum!) orchard in Okanagan Falls, BC, and had come home with bushels of apples (and plums!), and split them with my brother and me.

Some of her bounty
I knew that the dessert I made would use one of those two fruits.  I chose to make an apple dessert, hoping that The Hubby would have forgotten his contempt towards any warm-apple-based-food, but NOPE, not forgotten.  Back to the drawing board (and plums!) I went, and I immediately became excited when I stumbled across this amazing plum cake recipe.

This recipe is adapted from an oldie but a goodie from the New York Times, where it was first published in 1982 and has made many repeat appearances after that.  The Times version has cinnamon, which I have omitted, and instead I have added both vanilla and almond extract.  I like my version a lot (don't mean to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!), and so did the people who ate it with me (and had seconds I might add!).

The cake is so pretty and interesting to look at.  I love that plum halves are simply placed onto the batter, and that the cake just sort of moulds itself around them.

The juices from the plums tunnel their way jam-like through as everything is baking, and you are left with a moist, delicious cake.  Make sure that you use a springform pan to bake this cake, so that the cake can be removed from the pan easily and without changing the appearance before serving.  And then definitely top it with vanilla ice cream.

As summer is changing into fall, this is a great way to still cling onto the last tastes of summer fruit.  Plums are still in season until the end of October, so this plum cake would be a nice way to change up    your (Canadian) Thanksgiving dessert from the typical pumpkin pie (shock! horrification! dismay!).

Speaking of which, The Hubby and I wish you all a very happy Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend to all of my fellow Canadians (and my favourite know who you are)!  To celebrate, we have a ham dinner going on tonight at my parents' house, and a turkey dinner to follow tomorrow night at The Hubby's aunt and uncles's house.  So much deliciousness coming our way...I'm ready!

I hope that you enjoy this delicious plum cake as much as we did!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Slower Cooker Phillippine Pork Stew
Two Years Ago:  Flourless Spicy Dark Chocolate Cake
Three Years Ago:  Thanksgiving 2012!

Plum Cake

Serves: 8

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 plums, pitted, and sliced in half
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring well.  In a separate medium bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and 1 cup sugar together.  While still mixing, add the vanilla and almond extracts, the eggs, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into an un-greased 8, 9, or 10-inch spring-form pan.  Arrange the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter.  Sprinkle lightly with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.  Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake (not a plum!) comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack in the pan.  Remove outer ring of spring-form pan.  Slice cake and serve with vanilla ice cream of whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe Adapted From:  New York Times

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