This is a picture I took late one frosty November evening after I completed the final fall harvest. Carrots, parsnip and salsify. And yes, that is quite a bit of parsnip. And yes, some of them seem to be monstrous in size. (I couldn’t wrap my hand around a few of them!) And no, hubby does not like parsnip and with its distinctive flavour it is a hard vegetable to hide. Trust me. I’ve tried.
So I gave some away to some parsnip-loving friends, and still my fridge drawer is full. I love them roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and spices. But there is only so much parsnip a girl can roast!
Enter parsnip muffins. I found a great recipe through Whole Foods, and then, of course, I changed it. My version is made with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours, uses butter instead of oil, and honey instead of sugar. And they are yummy. Spiced like carrot cake, moist, but not too moist, with the sweetness of raisins and the heartiness of nuts. If you don’t have parsnips, I am sure you could substitute carrot and still have stellar results.
Parsnip and Apple Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 cup whole white flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup almond milk (or any milk)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 parsnips, peeled and grated
- 1 large apple, peeled and grated (without the core, of course!)
Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners. Combine flours with baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir in raisins and nuts. In separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter, milk, honey and vanilla. Add into flour mixture along with parsnip and apple. Stir until just mixed.
Fill muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
What vegetables do you have to find creative uses for?
The first time I had potato leek soup I must admit that I was not a huge fan. When I was a teen, I spent my summers working at a Girl Guide camp. Because all of the staff were busy all day working with the kids, we were lucky enough to have our own cook who prepared our lunch and dinner. She was fabulous and we all loved her. One of her specialties was potato leek soup. At the time I didn’t appreciate it (I had a thing about onions when I was younger), but later was introduced to the soup again (at my own wedding of all places!) and fell in love with it. SInce then I have made it often.
A friend from camp recently asked if I had that original potato leek soup recipe. Although I don’t, I just happened to be trying out a new soup recipe this week, and since it was amazing, I thought I would share it here, for her, and all other potato leek soup fans!
Potato Leek Soup
(slightly adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Molle Katzen)
- 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 large leeks, cleaned and chopped (discard dark green tops)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients (except for the milk and pepper) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the soup from the stove and let cool for a few minutes. (If you like making meals ahead of time, this is a good spot to put the soup in the fridge, ready to pull out for a busy weekday dinner)
Purée the soup in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender (I find I don’t get it perfectly smooth with the immersion blender, but I’m ok with that.)
Stir in milk. Add pepper, to taste.
Although Molly suggests that this soup can be eaten cold, I much prefer mine hot!
As I mentioned on Tuesday, Jeannie from Life on the Clothesline is visiting today to share one of her favourite old-fashioned recipes (with a bonus recipe for chicken strips thrown in too!) This is the second post in her series on recipes from her Gram’s cookbook (sound familiar?) You can check out the first post on her blog. Enjoy!
I think I have mentioned this before, but I am working really hard this year to actually use all of the produce I dutifully pile into my freezer each fall (instead of squirreling it away for some later date and then frantically try to clean it out before stacking the new stuff in).
I have done really well this year in that the only thing left in my freezer right now are two bags of zucchini (and I have that solution!) and about eight jars of green tomato mincemeat.
Other than pies and tarts (which I haven’t made any of this year and now it just seems like the wrong season for them) my favourite way to eat mincemeat is in Mincemeat Oatmeal Bars. Although they are good straight out of the pan, they are also decadent warmed up and served with ice cream or whipped cream. I also use the mincemeat in yogurt parfaits (hubby likes his drizzled with chocolate sauce) for a different kind of dessert.
But this week, staring at those frozen jars, I realized it’s time for a new recipe. So I went on a search for mincemeat muffins. And I hit the jackpot. These muffins are so good, and so moist, that they are still nice and soft even after being stored for a few days (although it is hard to get them to last that long.)
I based my muffins on this one, but made several changes (of course!)
Marvelous Mincemeat Muffins
- 2 cups flour (I used whole white flour)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup honey (I’ve also used half honey and half maple sugar – yum!)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup orange or apple juice
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 1/3 cup mincemeat (I have also heard you could replace this with orange marmalade!)
- 1 diced apple
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients except for the apple and nuts.
Stir the wet into the dry ingredients and fold in the apple and nuts until just mixed.
Spoon into greased tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 16 medium-sized muffins.
Recipe: Honey Drop Cakes Source: New Royal Cook Book Date: 1922
I decided to take a break from the 1940s and explore some of the other cookbooks my great-grandmother left behind.
She has many books that were put out by baking powder companies but I chose this one because it looked like one of the oldest.
Printed in 1922.
In a section entitled “Cookies and Small Cakes” a recipe for “Honey Drop Cakes” caught my eye as I am always looking for recipes that substitute honey for more refined sweeteners.
Here is the original recipe.
I am not sure what “greased individual tins” would look like. Did they have a special “small cake” pan in the 1920s? Or, if I greased my muffin tin, would I get little round cakes? Motivated by simplicity (with all of the positivity I try to muster around washing dishes, I haven’t been able to convince myself that I like washing muffin tins!) I decided to go with the drop method instead.
The end result was definitely more cookie than cake, (maybe a cake-like cookie?) but oh so good! They kept well in a cookie tin for as long as they lasted (which wasn’t long since hubby loved them too.)
I then made a second version, taking out the sugar and adding some yummy add-ins. They came out looking completely different, but got rave reviews.
Here are my two variations.
Honey Drop Cakes (original)
Cream 1/3 cup softened butter, add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup honey, a beaten egg yolk (save the white for later!) and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix well.
Add in 1 1/2 cups whole white flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.
In a small bowl, beat egg white. (The recipe didn’t state how much to beat the white, so I stopped when it was white and foamy.)
Fold the egg white into the batter.
Drop far apart on greased baking sheet. I found I could fit 8 on mine with enough room for spreading.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. (The original recipe says to cook in a hot oven for 10 – 15 minutes. My first batch was burnt by 10 minutes so I turned the oven down to 375 and they were still done before 10 minutes had passed, so keep your eye on them the first time.)
They are a rather plain cookie (or cake?) but that sweet honey taste gives them a nice flavour. You could even switch things up by using different types of honey. Or, you could try my second variation.
Lemon Cranberry Nut Honey Drop Cakes
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups whole white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and chopped walnuts
Combine the batter as outlined for the original recipe, adding the lemon zest in with the juice, and folding in the cranberries and walnuts before the egg white. Cook on greased pans at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes, or until done.