Thursday, February 18, 2010

Of Orange Monkeys and Parsnips

I get gifts. Does that sound braggish? I hope not; it's not meant to. It's not that I'm particularly deserving or anything, but I do get gifts.

For example, for my birthday my sister sent me this orange monkey to do my vegetable peeling work. It is not only an excellent peeler, it also makes me smile every time I grab the monkey around his absurd waist and go to work on carrots or parsnips.

Speaking of parsnips, these were a gift, too. At the Civic Center farmer's market, there is a stall in which the best salesman I've ever encountered (sorry, My Beloved, but it's true) holds court. He is a joyous young man, dreadlocked and smiling, with a flash of white teeth in his dark face. He presides over the freshest organic veggies in the market. His soft accent speaks of somewhere in the Caribbean and his sales technique is both assertive and comic. If I come in with fruit I've purchased in another stall (he doesn't sell fruit), he offers to weigh it for me and charge me again for it. His outrageous style always makes me laugh.

I bought some Brussels sprouts from his stand last week and asked what the "white carrots" were. "You've never had parsnips?" he asked? When I shook my head, he snatched up three plump ones and popped them into the bag with the sprouts, filling my head with descriptions of what they taste like and ideas for cooking them. "No charge!" he declared and when I demurred, he insisted. "Don't worry," he assured me, "you'll be back and then I'll charge you double!" Gotta love this guy!

As I was leaving, I spied another rooty-looking, pale green thing, which he also insisted on giving me, a watermelon radish, also new to me. See what I mean? In a single day, I was given two kinds of veggies and the means to peel them.

I get gifts - vegetal, practical and comical. Ain't life grand?

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Blogger Debra Doherty said...

I only just found out the other day that Parsnips are pretty unheard of in the US. In the UK, they are a Sunday Roast staple. I roast mine along with the potatoes. They're also great in stew. If you find anything else to do with them, please let me know!

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger Greg said...

Love the monkey.I have never tried a parsnip.Maybe I should check out his stand.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I know who you are talking about - he is delightful and I buy my vegetables from him whenever I'm at the market. I'm amazed that you haven't ever tried parsnips. You are in for a treat. I like to roast them, along with potatoes, carrots, and yams. Then, what's left over makes a great soup.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Love the monkey. And I have started eating parsnips in recent years thaks to the folks at Poulet and their inclusion of them in their roasted root vegetables. I usually get mine at Berkeley Bowl.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

So cute. It's taken us a long time (hello, manufacturers) to allow that food is fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I can't believe you've not had parsnips before, as Debra says, they are a staple in roast (baked) dinners. They also make the most divine soup.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Soup? I must know more!
I had plans to mandolin a parsnip lengthwise, marinate the slices, and make a vegan bacon. Then I woke up.

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

Frozen Crust?????????

Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Blogger Pamela said...

Debra, seems like all my blogging pals knew about parsnips and now I do, too. I'll try them in my next stew as you do.

Greg, isn't the monkey a hoot?

Nancy, good idea to roast them with other "root veggies." Say hi to that guy for me next time you see him at the market.

Kailyn, I've always been impressed with your raw courage at venturing into the Berkeley Bowl, although the new one isn't as scary as the old one is.

Cookiecrumb, I have a weakness for whimsy and my sister knows it.

Morgan, as Cookiecrumb said, we need to know how you make your 'snip soup!

Chilebrown, I know, I know, mea culpa! I even had homemade crust in the freezer and was too darn lazy to roll it out! Haven't you ever had a lazy day?

Saturday, February 20, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

'Snip Soup, rather like a potato soup (creamy sort) only you roast the 'snips first, so it's not a great colour but tastes fine.
Also curried 'snip soup, as above only roast with a sprinkle of your fave curry powder.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Thanks, Morgan, I'll have to try that. I happen to have some 'snips in the fridge right now!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

tiny toasts with some browned cheese goes with 'snip soup ever so well, just saying.
ooo, wv presprag!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Morgan, I just happen to have some cheese and bread in the fridge, too! :-) Thanks for the tip.

Thursday, February 25, 2010  

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