Last month our winter CSA gave us apples, mixed lettuce, carrots, beets, butternut squash, onions, potatoes and parsnips. We didn't exactly get to the parsnips. As a vegetable they just don't do a lot for me, you know? And I do the cooking around here, so...
This month our CSA gave us apples, mixed cooking greens, carrots, beets, buttercup squash, onions, arugala, and...parsnips. Damn! We still have the first batch of parsnips storing happily away in the fridge! So tonight I took the bull by the horns and looked up parsnip recipes. After sifting through about 30 variants on parsnip/apple soup (bisque, stew, chowder etc) I found this gem. Parsnip Cake? O rly???
So as not to be totally unhealthy in my parsnip adventures I cooked some up in the beef stew I made tonight, too. Then I turned my attention the cake. As I was grating the parsnips I noticed an odd, familiar smell. I firmly turned my nose away. As I ate the stew I tasted an odd, familiar taste. My inner monologue assured me that in the cake parsnips would be different. As soon as it was cool enough to eat I cut some to taste and see if I should even bother frosting it. I could still taste it. But faintly, so I had Robert taste, without telling him why. He said it was OK with him, as far as cake went. So I frosted it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was not right.
On the phone with Kenny tonight I approached the question.
Me: So, um, have you ever cooked parsnips yourself before?
Kenny: Yeah, actually, I just cooked some like 2 days ago.
Me: They look like long white carrots, right? That's a parsnip, right?
K: Yes. They're really fat at one end and have a very dramatic taper.
M: Yeah, that's what I have. What do they taste like?
K: They're kind of like a cross between a carrot and a sweet potato. Sweet and starchy. They're really almost too sweet for me.
M (anxiously): So, not at all like...celariac?
K: No. Not like celariac. Why?
M: Um, mine taste like celariac. In the stew I cooked them in tonight they tasted just like celaraic. What the hell do I have? Can celeriac look like chubby skinny white carrot??
K: No. I don't think so.
M: Crap. I cooked a parsnip cake, too. I think it would be better if the things I have tasted like what you're describing.