I love trying new things. Discovery can be a spiritual experience at times, at least I think it can be. There's a revelatory moment that comes, "Oh, so this is a parsnip. It's not as bad as its name would suggest." I've explained, probably more than once on this blog, that trying something new is my absolute favorite part of cooking--well, aside from the obvious eat-delicious-food motivation. I can come home from work and spend anywhere from five minutes to an hour or so doing something I may have never done before. It's completely practical, yet endlessly creative.
Not every new thing I try is brilliant and leads to a "spiritual awakening." For example, adding these carrots to the roasted parsnips was not my best idea. Good in theory, but I am not a fan of cook carrots--they're too sweet and can end up rather mushy. These were just too sweet. But the parsnips, dunked in egg white and dragged through parmesan cheese and sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano and roesmary were pretty good. I dipped them in this marinara sauce, as recommended by this blog. So now, I like parsnips, although I wouldn't put them up there with my recent affinity for blanched broccolini, wilted kale or fennel salads.
So another new thing I've been trying lately is rock climbing. I joined this outdoor group and started going to the rock wall at UNO. It's a good thing failures don't stop me from trying something because I have no skill whatsoever in scaling walls. The first time I went to the wall I could not do anything. Nothing. There are only a few parts of this wall the don't require climbing upside down or nearly so. Now I can do something--barely. Ascending the wall usually involves quite a bit of air- and leg-flailing, an exorbitant amount of muffled (and not-so-muffled) cursing and giving up at least once. But once I do actually (occasionally) top out, it feels pretty awesome to sit back in my harness and take in the view before being lowered down. No matter how painful these ascents are (to watch and participate in), I leave wanting to try again. Last night was my last time climbing before the UNO wall closes for construction (disappointing), but I'm looking forward to some camping trips this summer.
Roasted Parsnips: from Sprouted Kitchen
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425. Julienne the parsnips so that they're all about the same size. In a bowl, whisk together the egg white, oregano and rosemary. Place the parmesan cheese on a plate. Coat each slice of parsnip with egg white, rolling it in the mixture, then drag it through the parmesan cheese, rolling it to cover. Place it on an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet (*important* it won't be easy to clean). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Dip in marinara sauce.
While the carrots were a disappointment, I do think sweet potatoes and/or regular potatoes would be great according to this recipe.