My Imperfect Little Guest. World, Meet Parsnip.

Whoever doesn’t believe in Global Warming can come on over to the Philadelphia suburbs or any of the Mid-Atlantic States to see that Fall just isn’t happening.

Granted, we had two days of nice, crisp weather since the official start of Autumn. Two Days! It’s October, the leaves are barely displaying any of the autumnal coloring, and it remains hot, hazy and humid.

tree in front

The view outside our home office window. This is NOT what October should look like!

Though it poured rain two nights ago, the humid, sticky haze still surrounds us.  Even Bonaparte, who thrives on heat and humidity—he’s a living greenhouse, has had enough.

I want to get down and dirty in the kitchen.  No. Not like Jessica Lange in “The Postman Always Rings Twice”.

Jessica Lange in Postman

Ugh. I’m not talking THIS kind of dirty in the kitchen!

I’m talking about the act of cooking comfort foods, baking bread, making those nice hearty meals that are inviting upon the cooler fall and colder winter months.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m itching to get back and make my souffles, Brioche, biscotti and the Christmas dessert my family craves–my Buche de Noel!

There is nothing like the scent of vegetables roasting in the oven.  Turnips, squash, carrots, onions, beets—seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil, roasted till their natural sugars caramelize. It’s heavenly.


Roasted veg with cornbread stuffing is just the comfort needed for the colder months–whenever they may arrive.  Thank you Bon Appetit!

But—the ONE vegetable that I love and look forward to cooking more than any other is the Parsnip!

The only vegetable that talks to me.

This unpopular, imperfect little vegetable talks to me. Actually, it whispers!  What did you say little parsnip?

Lots of people don’t even know this little not-so-cutie exists. I’m changing that!

Parsnips in bag. Got them at Walmart yesterday.

I couldn’t find Parsnip at my local greengrocer so I ended up with this bag from Walmart!

My love and admiration knows no bounds for this root vegetable.  Looking like an anemic carrot. Or rather looking like a pale version of a spray tanned carrot, the parsnip is one of my favorite vegetables.

It isn’t too particularly pretty; in fact, it’s kind of bland looking. But the taste is so incredibly aromatic and subtle. When roasted, her aromatic flavor just explodes but in the most gentle way. In addition, if you are looking for a healthy but filling replacement for starchy potatoes, my I tell you about the parsnips nutritional value?

Nutritional value

Parsnips are very body friendly! I should eat these for every meal!

As a child, we never ate parsnips.  I’m thinking it’s because they don’t come canned and Bird’s Eye never had frozen ones available.  Honest. Other than spuds and sweet potatoes, every single vegetable that was placed on the dinner table was prepared by either opening a can or ripping open a box of frozen veg and boiling them for an hour or three!

Aunt Bessies frozen parsnips

I think Aunt Bessie is the only company to sell frozen parsnips–but I would still rather use fresh!

Anyway, it wasn’t until later on in my adult years that I discovered parsnips.  A Barefoot Contessa recipe for “Roasted Parsnips and Carrots” that ended up changing my life!

Barefoot Contessa Roasted Parsnips and Carrots Recipe

Barefoot contessa parsnips and carrots

Parsnips and carrots. Yum! Thanks Ina!

Today is not the day for roasting parsnips or carrots or any vegetable.  It’s just too damn hot. Instead, I am going to cook the parsnips I purchased yesterday atop my stove.

I’m going to boil them until tender—and it won’t take an hour.   I’ll show you what I’m gonna do:

Parsnips, 1 garlic clove, ginger, a bit of broth, salt and pepper. That's just about it.

Got my ingredients together. Parsnips, ginger, one garlic clove, salt, pepper and a bit of chicken broth to add to the water…

I had some tarragon laying around so I crunched it up and added it.

I’ll also add a bit of dried tarragon–it’s nice and slightly minty!

I like to peel on paper towels. It makes for easy cleaning.

Because I like to keep things clean, I always peel vegetables on paper towels. This way I can gather the towel up and throw it in the trash with no mess….

That is until Chippy jumped up, grabbed the end of the paper towel in his mouth and everything dropped on the floor.

Oops! That is, until Chippy jumps up on the counter and grabs the paper towel. Welcome back to my clumsy!

Peeled and randomly cut. Yes. That is my lipstick. I took a little snack bite!

I’ll cut the peeled parsnip into chunks. And yes, that’s my lipstick on that little piece. I have no willpower at all!

Not gonna lie. This is NOT a pretty vegetable.

Parsnips, minced ginger, mashed garlic clove, water, broth, salt, pepper and tarragon all go into the pot and brought to a boil–then a slow simmer.  Honestly, it really isn’t much to look at!

My Cuisinart hand blender does a great job mashing

I’ll use my Cuisinart emersion blender to mash the vegetables.  I’ll also add a bit of the water I boiled them in.  No butter. No cream.  Just flavor!

And that is what I’ll have for dinner this evening. We’ll have leftover roast chicken (Which, BTW, Bonaparte picked up yesterday. You think I’m gonna roast a chicken in this heat?  Even with air conditioning, it’ll be stifling!) And mashed parsnips.  Bonaparte will also have spicy couscous that I make for him.  A nice, simple mid-week dinner.

This will be dinner tonight.

A simple and healthy dinner of mashed parsnips with a ton of pepper (I’m addicted), and left over, take-away chicken.  Easy peasy!

Oh.  In my attempt to keep cool yesterday, I spent time in a heavily air-conditioned Marshall’s.  I found this dress for a grand total of $7.00. The cashier was upset she didn’t find it first. Anyway, it’s a simple navy crepe dress. I am going to get so much use out of this.  I’m sure when Bonaparte sees this post, he won’t be upset with my spending seven bucks!

7.00 shift

My $7.00 dress–and this will get a ton of wear because of the simple cut. It’ll go with everything!

dress detail seams and darts.

I used a filter for this photo, but look at the detailing. The dress has darts! I love that!

It’s only appropriate that today I have you listen to Frank Zappa’s “Call Any Vegetable”. Parsnips made the video! XOXOXOXO!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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39 Responses to My Imperfect Little Guest. World, Meet Parsnip.

  1. spearfruit says:

    I had never heard that song – go Parsnips! 🙂

  2. My mom and I wanted to experiment with veggies we don’t normally eat. This looks amazing. Will definitely add this to our list!

  3. You made me hungry! And I so love Jessica Lange. I even wrote a scenario in my head (a complete movie!) with her, Peter Weller and Brad Pitt. I watch her in Asylum.

  4. Megan says:

    I’m with Miss 21TimeTraveler, I want to try this because I have NEVER had parsnips before and you make this dish seem so yummy. Lipstick print and all! XO

    • Catherine says:

      Megan. I’m telling you–you have to try this little parsnipity friend of mine! I’m still amazed that it took me till adulthood to find this treasure! XOXOXO

      • Megan says:

        I’ve heard of parsnps, but I never had it growing up in my house nor now. But always looking for new things to try! 🙂

  5. Gina Blue says:

    You’re a parsnip lover and I’m a parsnip hater! I grew up on a small farm and fresh parsnips were a common occurrence on my dinner plate. Mom always caramelized them and that’s not about flavor which is what you so dearly love about parsnips. I always blamed Mom’s affinity for parsnips on the Depression. I mean what else was so in abundance during a time of so little?? Parsnips! Just another Depression food! Well, now…it’s time to take another taste from your “roasted parsnips” point of view. I shall do that! Thanks for sharing. PS My canning jars are just waiting for the perfect fall weather to cook my apple butter. I’ll wait…but not too long, I hope!

    • Catherine says:

      Gina–my parents grew up during the depression. My grandparents immigrated from Ireland and lost their business during that time. I’m amazed that parsnips were not part of their meals–unless they were and they hated them! Please share your recipe for apple butter and canning it. I do believe I’m requesting you to do a blog post about it! XOXOXO!!

      • Gina Blue says:

        Oh, you made me laugh at that one! Of course I can share my apple butter recipe! I’m out of town right now but will take a look when I get home..You’re a fun lady! thanks for sharing!

  6. Haylee says:

    LOVE parsnips! Every year, I make a vow that I’ll eat them for longer than the Christmas period. Every year, they last until around February (about the same time as Christmas pudding becomes a bit over used!). Perhaps if I had them all year round, I’d not love them as much. But parsnip crisps – that’s a different matter. Give me a bag of them any day over cheese and onion! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Haylee. Hold on here. Parsnip Crisps? Parsnip Crisps? OMG. Are they better than Tayto’s? That does it. I will be searching all over the US for parsnip crisps now! LOL–my Christmas period vegetable happens to be the turnip! It’s funny, I don’t cook them any other time except between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I will be dreaming about Parsnip Crisps now! XOXOXO!

      • Haylee says:

        Oh I do hope you can find them – they’re lush (and yes, way better than Taytos!). We get them mixed with dried apple or (my personal fave) carrots and beetroot. Just delightful.

        As for turnip, nothing against the taste but growing up, pumpkins weren’t as readily available where we lived (and hugely expensive if you could get them) – so every Halloween my mum carved me a turnip, bless her! Full marks for her still trying to keep me involved, but I always felt a bit ‘Bob Cratchit’! 🙂 x

  7. This is amazing Cathe! I always enjoy your posts because they are so detailed with such lovely pictures! I am going to try out parsnips, have never really had them, I tend to ignore veggies that are not common! 😛
    Gosh…all those pictures are making me hungry! 🙂

  8. izabolinha says:

    You made me hungry:) I think I have never tried parsnips, must look around for them. I use turnips in soup instead of potatoes , but your parsnips look a lot more yummy 😉
    And it is still summer over here too…we’re still going up to the 80’s which is making stores trying to sell Autumn fashion very upset, but girls surfing the World Championships in Cascais are having a grand time 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Turtle. Are you going to go surfing or just hang at the beach? It’s now raining here and I’m in shorts and a t-shirt! I want to wear Autumn clothing! Hmmmm…parsnips in soups are a nice aromatic. I think you may want to try for sure! XOXOXO!!!

      • izabolinha says:

        Just going around in shorts and t-shirt also, catching my last Vit D of the season;) no surfing yet, still have to get my lessons , sometime in the future 🙂

  9. love the pictures! You have so many wonderful things in each post! I love it! Yes our temperatures here have been up! When I was a kid at this time of year it was pretty cold and all falling leaves but not any more!

  10. Are parsnips rare in the USA? So strange, their a Christmas regular over here! Love a good roast parsnip! Your recipe looks ace- have never thought to mash them. Might have to give this a go. And I’m with Haylee on parsnip crisps- YUM! Xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Ella. What’s up with your blog? I can’t get “in” it. I just get that circle thingy but I can’t read any entries–they aren’t showing up. Anyway, I don’t think that it’s that parsnips are so RARE here, I think it’s just one of those vegetables that many people just don’t like, don’t know how to cook or just overlook. Oh..mashed–they’re great. I grew up eating mashed potatoes at every meal. Typical Irish/American household. My mother would go through five pounds of spuds a night. To this day, I’m “potatoed out”. I love mashed cauliflower and mashed parsnips! I swear this weekend, I’m going to make parsnip crisps! XOXOXOX.

      • Catherine says:

        Ella. I got in! Your blog is welcoming me again! XOXOXO

      • Send me some please! Nothing like a little fresh parsnip crisp FedEx to make a girl’s day. They are weirdly quite popular here I think. I’ve been having that circle problem but I thought it was just my crappy old laptop. It’s fine from my phone and tablet. That’s rubbish that is happening to other people. Let me speak to wordpress and will maybe ask you to give it another shot to test if that’s ok? Xx

  11. Love parsnips!!! I somethings make parsnip chips by slicing one real thin on the mandolin and frying in hot oil. Kinda knocks down the health quotient but it’s delicious!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Meg. Haylee mentioned parsnip crisps and now you mentioned them. I’m tempted to run to the store, get more parsnips, get out my mandoline and frying the slices into chips too. Except it’s raining too hard and I’m too lazy–but I’m definitely going to try making the crisps! XOXOXO!

  12. calensariel says:

    Oh geez… Now I don’t know if I want sex or biscotti for an afternoon snack. Probably biscotti as the postman’s already been here (giggle… 😀 )

  13. Pingback: Writing 101: Discoveries, endings and beginnings | A Reading Writer

  14. Miss Bougie says:

    We love parsnips too. Especially of the roasted kind. Been in my kitchen lately? I think you have been looking over my shoulder. 🙂
    I buy them at the market, though, not pre-packed.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bougie. LOL–I usually buy those cute little veg at the market as well, but didn’t see anything so I picked up the bag. I’m going to attempt crisps this weekend! Hope they turn out ok! XOXOXO

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