Winter Sweets and Treats

Welcome to March, and to the next-to-last CSA distribution. To celebrate, we’ve got a few exciting offerings for our Winter Share members:

Spring-dug Parsnips! During the long cold winter, parsnips pump themselves full of sugars (which act as a natural antifreeze) to prevent their cells from freezing. Overwintered parsnips are candy-sweet.

Sunchokes! Also called Jerusalem artichokes and earth apples, these little nuggets are the tubers of a flowering plant (Helianthus tuberosos) related to sunflowers. They’re sweet and earthy, low in starch, and rich in inulin.

Cake! Well, a recipe for cake from one of our fellow CSA members. (We ourselves were lucky enough to sample it, and can vouch for its delicious-ness.)

Have a favorite recipe of your own? Share it with your fellow Winter CSA members! If you’ve got a favorite recipe you’d like to share, submit your recipe here!

Happy cooking and baking!

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Featured Recipe Ideas:

Parsnips:

By now you’ve probably got plenty of parsnip ideas. These super-sweet overwintered parsnips are best prepared simply, to allow their natural candy-sweetness to shine.

  • Cut into rounds (slicing bigger rounds from the top root into quarters for even-sized pieces)
  • Toss in coconut oil (with a dash of cumin or curry) or olive oil (with sage, salt and pepper)
  • Roast at 350 for 30-45 minutes until soft, tender, and slightly caramelized.

To prevent drying out, it helps to cover with foil for the first 15-20 minutes.

For more recipes including baked parsnip fries with rosemary, root vegetable tarte tatin, and spicy honey-glazed parsnips, click here.

 Spring-dug parsnips are candy sweet

Spring-dug parsnips are candy sweet

 Sunchoke flowers in late September

Sunchoke flowers in late September

Sunchokes:

Sunchokes sweet, earthy, nutty flavor is simply and wonderfully showcased in roasting. Pair with roasted potatoes and celeriac, mushrooms, or add to a roasted chicken.

  • Wash and scrub clean (no need to peel)
  • Cut into even-sized chunks, cutting out any discolored ends where the stems attached
  • Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt (also: pepper, thyme, sage)
  • Roast at 350 until tender and slightly golden in color.

For a slightly more rich and adventurous dish, try this Sunchoke Gratin featured in the New York Times:

  • Slice 1 lb sunchokes into ¼ inch thick rounds and grate ½ cup Gruyere cheese.
  • Bring 1 cup milk & 1 cup water to boil. Add sunchoke slices, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until tender but still firm (about 8 minutes).
  • Drain, and arrange in a buttered baking dish.
  • In small saucepan, heat ½ cup cream with a halved clove of garlic and dash of nutmeg just barely to a boil. Remove garlic and pour over Bake at 375 until lightly browned and bubbling (about 20 minutes)

Shirley’s Rutabaga Nutmeg Cake

1 c packed grated rutabaga
3 eggs
¾ c sugar
½ c plain, full-fat yogurt
½ c vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease a 9” square tin and line with parchment
  • Beat eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil or butter, and vanilla in a large bowl
  • Stir in grated rutabaga, breaking up the shreds
  • Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt
  • Stir gently to combine, making sure there are no streaks of flour
  • Pour into prepared cake pab and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn over and remove parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream together ¼ c cream cheese and ¼ c soft butter
  • Sift 4 c powdered/confectioners sugar
  • Gradually add sifted sugar and 1-2 tsp vanilla to the butters
  • If necessary, thin out with milk or cream, a teaspoon at a time

Another similar cake calls for brown butter frosting. Thanks Shirley for sharing your recipe!

 Carrot cake can easily substitute shredded rutabaga for carrots

Carrot cake can easily substitute shredded rutabaga for carrots