03 December 2006

the root question...

I've posted before, of course, on beets. obviously. we had thanksgiving last week and thus fell behind in our studious consumption of the organic veg delivery. and then we got another bag-o-veg, including (and I do not exaggerate here) a 35 lb cantaloup squash pumpkin thing from the 19th century. because things were bigger then. (note how there's no scale on that picture from 1867?) How we got it home is a mystery to me. faced with more parsnips, carrots, swedes, pumpkin, leeks, and onion than we seem capable of eating I swing into proactive mode:
  • step one: adapt Indian potato curry recipe to swedes. eat for three days in a row. success.
  • step two: take all of the apples, core, stuff with butter, spices, and other yummy things, and make baked apples. success.
  • step three:given that we also overestimated our cheese consumption, we have several blocks of cheddar in the fridge. beets+parsnips+leeks+cheddar=yum. based on various 'au gratin' recipes on-line, I made the following. not at all weight watchers. not at all vegan. but, aside from the inevitable side dish of beef, vegetarian. (it's what's for dinner, remember?)
Rebecca's beet & parsnip au gratin
wash immense amounts of mud and earth off of root veg. seems that someone buried them in the earth prior to delivering them to me. odd.

wrap in foil and bake beets and parsnips for 2ish hours in a 180/350 degree oven until they are very much done

you can store them for later; at least let cool a bit

slice them into 1/4" round slices and layer them in alternating layers in a casserole dish (parsnips, beets. parsnips, beets. I made pretty pink and white pattern on the top. you can too.)

in a heavy saucepan sautee 2 leeks, sliced into rounds, including green bits. add a couple minced/mashed garlic cloves as well.

once the leeks are wilted and happy, add two tablespoons flour (or cornmeal--the only flour like thing I had around--worked well), stir around for a bit to coat the leeks. then add about 1/2 c water and mix--should be kind of like a runny-paste-o-leeks at this point. add in about 2ish c whole milk (I'm sure cream is better. didn't have any in the fridge)--let it get warm, then add about 2.5 c. grated cheese or more--I used white cheddars--a mix from the West country and Ireland. Nothing like diversity. Indeed. nothing like diversity.

add some pepper and dried thyme (2 teaspoons?), let the cheese melt into the sauce. don't let it boil. it's mostly milk.

pour cheese sauce over the beets and parsnips. grate some (or a lot of) cheese on top. bake, covered in foil, for 30 minutes or so at 180/350.

mm. cheese. beets. pretty pink and white and green. enjoy.

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