Perspective is just about everything. Struggle with a puzzle for hours, get up and walk around to the other side and dozens of missing pieces magically appear and fall into place. Toss a crossword puzzle down in frustration, turn on the radio and hear one of those everyday words with two entirely different meanings that would fit perfectly. That alternate point of view is essential. Even for experts.
Chefs may have always known this. Pick up the same old zucchini or butternut squash, turn it this way and then that. Imagine it spiralized into a pasta-like shape and kitchen magic happens with a wave of a spatula. Most of us want to be able to put something satisfying, nourishing and not overly complicated on the table at the end of the day. And we do it. Over and over again. Not too very long after we have perfected the preparation of a dish, we soon become bored with it. What else can we do with this thing? Yes, comfort foods are just that, comfortable. However, after being soothed we seem to want to be excited. Esthetics count. If it looks freshly beautiful, if it interests the eye, it is likely to stimulate the taste buds and satisfy the appetite.
In these, what I like to think of as, waning days of winter, it is a bit harder, but all the more necessary to stir up interest. Knowing your roots is a particular advantage at this point in the year, chief among them is their availability. It may be that being grown underground is what intensifies the flavors or roots and tubers. As though they were hiding their lights under a bushel basket. Parsnips, interestingly enough, become sweeter if left in the ground until the first frost. The impact of carrots on eyesight is now thought by some to have been British WWII propaganda meant to terrorized German soldiers with the skill of the RAF sniper-eyed bomber pilots. Were there no carrots in Germany?
Carrots, along with their mates, celery and onions, are foundational elements in many rich winter soups and stews. So much so, that we may need to be reminded that they are delicious raw. Bugs Bunny wasn’t the only creature fond of munching that sweet and crunchy vegetable.
This week we’re offering a raw carrot and parsnip recipe called Shaved Heirloom Carrots and Parsnips. We may have walked around the other side of the table this week for a fresh perspective, but our website has many carrot and parsnip recipes, such as: Caramelized Carrots, Baked Parsnip Rosemary Fries, Creamy Parsnip & Leek Soup, Maple Roasted Carrots with Orange Zest and Carrot Ginger Soup. Check it out for these and many more tasty meal ideas from this and the other side of the table.