Healthy Now: Cooking up sweet roasted ginger parsnips | SierraSun.com

Healthy Now: Cooking up sweet roasted ginger parsnips

Simone Grandmain
Healthy Now

Lots to celebrate this time of year at Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District. Our fair weather members who unwisely ditch us in the summer (again, do they have an ab machine on the Legacy Trail?) are back at the Fitness Center's indoor track and/or lapping it up in the indoor pool.

On Nov. 24, the Ice Skating Rink in Regional Park opened, an event which has been heralding in the start of the winter fun stuff for 15 years. As if this wasn't enough activity, the holiday season is also when the TDRPD commercial kitchen really starts humming as caterers booked for office parties, family gatherings and homemade Christmas gifts, reserve space in this hallowed place to prepare their wonderful menus and orders.

For foodie members and staff, this is the perfect time to watch the pros in action and walk away with some ideas and maybe a recipe. The other day a peek in the TDRPD kitchen window revealed a chef — in the big hat no less — expertly cutting up what looked like a large radish.

Clearly no one was going to beg a sample off of him. A radish just did not sound good pre-workout. A later check on his progress, however, revealed a lovely aroma. Turns out our chef was preparing parsnips, which are a flavorful root vegetable resembling a white carrot.

When baked, parsnips taste something like sweet potatoes, but with a firmer texture. Further research revealed they are also less in carbohydrates and calories than potatoes and a good source of vitamin C.

Over the years the name parsnip has not been looked upon fondly. It conjures up images of jail fare, or orphanage gruel. That reputation could not be farther from the truth. They are wonderful hot from the roasting pan, or chilled and tossed in a hearty salad. Parsnips are the new yam — trust me on this.

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This column comes courtesy of Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District staff and members, inspiring creative, active lives for a healthy mountain community. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the coming winter months, visit tdrpd.org or check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TDRPD

Ginger-Roasted Parsnips

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 large parsnips, peeled, and quartered lengthwise, to resemble French fries. Make sure you cut off and discard the thick ends before slicing them into quarters

2 tablespoons minced ginger, fresh or in the jars found in your produce section at the grocer

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Preparation: Preheat oven to 325. Pour olive oil into 9×13 inch baking dish. Toss parsnips in ginger and put in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until parsnips are tender.