Today it’s all about the “P’s”. Parsnips, pears, peppers and pumpkins, oh, my!
Parsnips: The parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot and parsley. It is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. 1 cup = 100 calories.
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 pound carrots, unpeeled
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
If the parsnips and carrots are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. The vegetables will shrink while cooking, so don’t make the pieces too small. Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until the parsnips and carrots are just tender. Sprinkle with dill and serve hot.
Vanilla Poached Pear
Make dessert in just 15 minutes: Peel, halve and core 4 pears. Put in a shallow dish with 1 cup white wine, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 strips grapefruit zest and 1 split vanilla bean. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave about 10 minutes. Serve the pears with the vanilla syrup; top with whipped cream, if desired.
Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry
4 small pears
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 small lemon, halved
3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
6 to 8 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1. Core pears from bottom, leaving stems intact. Peel pears; cut 1/4 in. from the bottom of each to level if necessary.
In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, honey, lemon halves, cinnamon and cloves. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add bean and seeds to sugar mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; place pears on their sides in saucepan and poach, uncovered, for 18-22 minutes or until pears are almost tender, basting occasionally with poaching liquid.
2. Remove pears with a slotted spoon; cool slightly. Strain and reserve 1-1/2 cups poaching liquid; set aside.
3. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2-in.-wide strips. Starting at the bottom of a pear, wrap a pastry strip around pear, adding additional strips until pear is completely wrapped in pastry. Repeat with remaining pears and puff pastry.
4. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Meanwhile bring reserved poaching liquid to a boil; cook until liquid is thick and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Place pears on dessert plates and drizzle with syrup.
6. Serve warm. Yield: 4 servings.
Cheesy Quinoa Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 cup uncooked quinoa (white or red or both)
6 large bell peppers, any color
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, 2 cups for stuffing, 2 cups for topping
3 to 4 green onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 Place 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. Spread cooked quinoa out in a baking dish to cool quickly.
2 Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Cut the top 1/2 to 1 inch off of the bell peppers and remove the core and seeds inside. (If you want, you can finely chop the pieces of good bell pepper you’ve removed and include them in the stuffing, otherwise, save them for another use.) Place the bell peppers in the boiling water for 3 minutes to par-cook them. After 3 minutes, carefully remove them from the boiling water and place the bell peppers in a rimmed baking dish, cut side up.
3 In a large bowl mix the cooked quinoa, drained black beans, 2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese, most of the green onion (save some for topping), cumin, and cilantro if using.
4 Stuff the bell peppers with the stuffing you’ve prepared. You should have plenty of stuffing, you can pack it and mound the stuffing in the peppers. Place 1/4 cup of water at the base of the peppers.
5 Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Then remove from oven, uncover, top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese, and return to the oven to cook, uncovered, until the cheese has melted about 5 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining finely sliced green onions to serve.
Pumpkin: A pumpkin is a cultivar of the squash plant, most commonly of Cucurbita pepo, that is round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin and deep yellow to orange coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. 1 cup = 30 calories.
Pumpkin Pie Muffins
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons organic vanilla
1/4 cup raw honey, melted
3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sift the coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder together.
2. In a separate bowl, mix all remaining ingredients, except for the walnuts, until well blended. Add the sifted flour mixture to the pumpkin puree mixture, and mix well until smooth.
3. Divide the batter between muffin pans, and sprinkle with walnuts.
4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until done.