I am now in the middle of my winter CSA, in that kind of scary part in the middle where you’ve gotten 2/3 of the produce but have only cooked 1/4 of it. Sure, a lot of it stores well, but it’s a pretty intimidating mountain of produce.
Every year, I find a few produce stumpers: things I have no bad feelings about and can think of ways I could cook, but for which I can’t come up with any way I’d really want to cook it. They usually end up in a big pile of roasted root veggies, where sweet potatoes can take away their sting.
Parnsips are one of those stumpers for me, but this recipe turned into something I was delighted with: moist and rich with the same spices you’d use in pie, but not overwhelming for 8 am consumption. Don’t be scared off by the quantities of spices: through some kind of parsnip-based alchemy, nothing is overpowering in the final mix.
Parsnip spice muffins
adapted from Epicurious
3 large parsnips
1/2 c. canola or other vegetable oil
1/2 c. milk (I used low-fat, which is what I keep around)
1 t. vanilla extract, divided
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
3/4 t. ground allspice
3/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 c. chopped walnuts*
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your muffin pans if you won’t be using paper liners.
Trim the ends off the parsnips, and then peel and grate them. Using a food processor is not cheating. You want to end up with about two packed cups of grated parsnip.
Mix the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until blended. Add all of the dry ingredients — flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt — and mix just to combine. Avoid overmixing, which can make quick breads tough. Stir in the grated parsnips and walnuts.
Spoon into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4, and bake 18-20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. If your oven doesn’t heat evenly, you may want to rotate the pans halfway through.
Makes about 18.
*Walnuts can often be bought in pieces, which is handy for just these occasions, but you can also totally use your chef’s knife to make pieces by piling the nuts up and rocking your knife back and forth across them, then re-piling, turning your knife 90 degrees, and repeating until they’re appropriately fine.