I remember growing up in western Pennsylvania and during this time of year the only vegetables you could buy in the grocery store were potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, beets, and various other root vegetables like parsnips, turnips and rutabagas. We only had fruits and vegetables in season, unlike today when we have all varieties all times of the year. Eating fresh strawberries in the winter was unheard of and the only lettuce you could get in the winter was head lettuce. Root cellars were common where people stored their root vegetables for the winter where they survived cold storage after they were dug up at the end of summer.
As you traverse the produce aisle, don’t let the out-of-season bright fruits and veggies bedazzle you so much that you forget to choose the dull and pale root veggies. Pick up a parsnip or its cousin the carrot. Remember the rutabaga and its cousin the turnip. Another root vegetable, horseradish, prepared and jarred, is very tasty with these vegetables. Root vegetables are perfect complements to a roast. Even better, root vegetables are low in fat and calories.
Be whimsical about cooking up some root vegetables. I made up this simple recipe and it was delicious.
Baked Root Vegetables
parsnips, carrots, turnips and rutabagas (choose at least two of these depending on your taste)
garlic, minced, to taste
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Slice root vegetables and onions thinly on a mandolin slicer. (2-3 cups)
Mix pineapple juice, olive oil and soy sauce and toss with vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and garlic if desired.
Put in casserole dish, bake at 350 degree oven, covered with foil for one-half hour. Bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. Mix Panko and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of vegetables. Bake for about 15 minutes more or until bubbly.