Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thankful - Birthday Edition

Our niece turned 1 on Saturday, so we headed down the highway for a birthday/Thanksgiving celebration. Just like Thanksgiving weekend, this was another great day for traveling. We spotted a handful of gliders soaring among the fluffy white clouds and enjoyed lots of lovely Fall colour during the back road portions of our trip, when we didn't have our eyes glued to our Nintendo DSi-xls. Ahem.

I was very much looking forward to this dinner since we had lamb with my family for Thanksgiving. Nothing says Fall like turkey! We had a great meal in A&J's brand-spanking new house, which hopefully will host many more such dinners long into the future. Given the meal it produced, the kitchen works just fine!

While I love 'traditional' dinners that feature familiar flavours and dishes, I also like to experiment and try new things to keep special meals interesting. I love that we had roasted potatoes with our turkey instead of the more typical mashed, since it made me think to try a Parsnip Crumble recipe I've had earmarked in my recipe book hungry for comfort, which I've mentioned in a previous post.

Parsnip Crumble has the consistency of mashed potatoes, so I thought this dish would make a perfect complement to the roast potatoes - no competing with mashed. To make parsnip crumble you basically peel and chop 4-5 medium parsnips, boil them for 20 minutes, then mash them with butter and sour cream. Top them with an oat/brown sugar/flour/butter/nutmeg crumble mixed with fresh chopped cranberries. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and you're good to go.

I think this dish travelled well, and it tasted fine, but next time out I would add more butter/sour cream and do a better job mashing. My parsnips had lumps, which weren't necessarily bad...I just would have preferred a smoother base. Parsnips are actually quite sweet, so the addition of the butter and sour cream cuts that a bit.

I think the real star of the dinner table were the roasted potatoes. Sure, they made a complete mess of a couple of baking pans, but the men were up to the challenge of soaking, chipping and generally rehabilitating said pans. Or at least I think they were. I wandered off after doing some (light) after-dinner dish duty to the more delightful task of hanging out with my niece for some girl talk. Luckily I was able to get the recipe for the roasted potatoes from my SIL so I can attempt to replicate their wonderfulness. They are an Ina Garten recipe from Food Network:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes (or a mixture)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning. Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste and serve.

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