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Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Of the root vegetable.

Root vegetables are those sad and dirty looking things you probably don’t even give a second glance towards in the grocery store.

You walk right on by.

Not acknowledging and certainly not considering.

So, there they sit.

Lonely. Sad. Unwanted.

A little pathetic.

Here is my truth about root vegetables. They scare me.

These weird looking things grow under ground and show up in children’s books when animals are looking to feed themselves.

But, I’m never one to write something off for having an off-putting look or name.

Pork Belly, anyone? Had I continued living in my fright of that nasty sounding cut of meat, I would have never experienced bacon Nirvana. Can you imagine?

So, today, on this gray and slightly rainy (BUT NO SNOW!!) Wednesday, I shall introduce you to what may be for you a new cast of kitchen characters.

Don’t be scarrrrrrred.

Just give this a try.

If you hate it (which I don’t think you will), you never have to eat them again.

I was willing to give this a try because Ina Garten said to. And I never say no to Ina. This is her recipe.

First, meet Mr. Turnip.

The turnip root, pictured here, is high in Vitamin C.

And today, it is wearing the loveliest shade of pink.

Mr. Ugg-a-bug, the celery root.

Yikes. He isn’t pretty.

Guess what this guy tastes like?

You got it! Celery.

When I was looking into old Celery Root here, I discovered that some people will treat this root like a potato and cook him and mash him up or turn him into a gratin.

We’ll be slicing off that tough exterior (peeling is kinda hard) to get to the good stuff underneath his unfortunate skin.

Next up, the parsnip.

I seriously love parsnips.

They are kind of spicy in flavor, and as you can see he is related to the carrot.

Want to know something interesting? Parsnips aren’t grown in warm climates because frost is needed to develop their flavor.

Thanks Wikipedia!

Mr. Parsnip is actually richer in nutrients than his cuz, the carrot. Potassium is the main nutrient that the parsnip brings to the table.

Mr. Parsnip also helps keep ya regular by giving you some much needed fiber.

Wow.

Isn’t he impressive, folks?

You should know the next guy.

The carrot.

Well, actually two of them for this recipe.

Finally, we’ll need brussel sprouts.

Man, another really scary and potentially scarring ingredient. Too many people have bad brussel sprout memories.

But, trust in Leah.

I will not let you down.

Brussel sprouts are from the cabbage family, and they look like little baby cabbages. They are pretty darn cute.

These guys practically hold magical powers. The brussel sprout (just like broccoli) contains a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.

Sheesh, that fact alone seems to be enough to at least get you to TRY these buddies.

OK, lets get cooking.

Everything is going to get chopped into uniform 1- inch pieces.

No need to peel the turnip, just chop it.

You do need to peel your celery root. Chop that.

Peel and chop 2 parsnips and 2 carrots.

Take 8 brussel sprouts. Chop off the tiny root at the bottom, and peel off one or two of the outer leaves (these are often a little dirty and/or wilty). Cut extra large ones into quarters, large ones in half, and small sprouts can stay in tact.

Get out a deep, large skillet that has a tight fitting lid.

Over medium heat, melt 3 T. of butter.

Throw all of your vegetables into the butter party.

Give them a toss to coat in the butter.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Throw in some thyme.

Now cover, and leave them alone for 5 minutes or so.

After 5 minutes, open the lid and give it a stir. The goal is to let all of the vegetables have their turn on the bottom of the pan getting good and browned up.

Put the lid back on, give it another 5 minutes.

Then, open stir and pop the lid back on.

The total cooking time is 15-20 min. The vegetables should all be slightly caramelized, and they should be tender enough to eat.

Pile them on a plate.

I served them up with canned pears. Ha. I’m on a pear kick lately.

And clearly, I didn’t have any fresh left in my fridge.

I rounded out the meal with one more root vegetable.

The Grand Daddy of all root vegetables… the onion!!

French Onion Soup

Oooey-gooey, melty, delicious French Onion Soup.

Mmmmm.

Roots galore!

Loving it.

Hump Day today- yippee!

XO,
Leah

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OK.

I’m going to share a Brussel Sprout recipe.

And I’m nervous.

Because if you are like me, you probably have traumatic childhood memories of Brussel Sprouts.

So today, I’m asking you to keep an open mind.

Perhaps it is time to give the old stinky Brussel Sprout another try.

I think you might like ’em.

There is a restaurant in Cincinnati that serves the most amazing Brussel Sprouts you could ever imagine. These Brussel Sprouts made me reconsider my stance on the mini cabbages. And you know what?

I think I officially like ’em.

Here is what you’ll need:

Brussel sprouts, chopped white onion, garlic, tomatoes, vegetable stock, extra virgin olive oil, some dry white wine, bacon, salt and pepper, and some pasta.

Put 2 cups of stock into a stock pan, and bring it to a boil.

While you are waiting for that to come up to a boil, cook some bacon.

Yes, bacon.

I feel like it has been a while since we discussed how delightfully delicious bacon is.

My long lost love.

Bacon makes my life.

To get your brussel sprouts ready to add to the boiling stock, you have to do three simple things.

1. Pull off the outer one or two leaves- these are what was closest to the ground and often they are wilty and dirty.

2. Cut off the stem/bottom/thingy (I love when I use technical terms, don’t you?)

3. Cut them in halves or quarters. You will likely have some small brussel sprouts in your bag, and those will only need to be cut in half. The larger ones you’ll want to cut into quarters. The goal is to get all of them to be about the same size so they cook at the same rate.

Put them in the stock.

While those are boiling away, remove your bacon from the skillet and drain the fat.

Add the onions to the skillet.

Let them get all brown and caramely.

Once they have softened, add in 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook for one-two minutes.

Push that around in the pan.

This should be smelling amazing by now.

Bacon. Onion. Garlic.

The holy trinity of food if you ask me.

You’ll know your brussel sprouts are ready when they are fork tender.

Once they are, drain them and add the brussel sprouts to the skillet.

Let them spend a little time in the skillet. From the photo above,  you can see that they should get a little bit browned. Mmmm.

Throw in your chopped tomatoes.

I would use a medium sized tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes.

We have bacon. We have onions. We have garlic. We have brussel sprouts. We have tomatoes.

Sweet Mary, how could this get better?

Um, wine?

Yes.

Wine!

Add about a half cup of white wine.

Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper to taste.

Crank up the heat to bring the whole darn goodness to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer.

Let those good little buddies hang out together for a while.

We’re going to cook our pasta.

I’m using some fresh pasta from the farmers’ market that is wild mushroom flavored.

Yum!

But any pasta will do.

Bring your water to a boil.

Season the water with salt. You want to use enough salt for the water to taste like the sea- at least that is what Mario Batali tells me.

We’re old chums, you know.

Drop in your pasta.

Cook it ups, and then drain the pasta and add it to your veggies.

Mix it up.

There ya have it.

Serve it up on a plate and crumble some bacon on top.

I’m telling you.

Give it a try.

The brussel sprout is back baby.

Have a good one!!

XO,

Leah

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