Monday, December 5, 2011

weeekend review: parsnips, pecans, and pastitsio

The parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. When cooked they have a buttery, slightly spicy, and sweet flavor. Their flavor is reminiscent of butterscotch, honey, and subtle cardamom. 

This was my first parsnip experience, and they were awesome.

Figure 1. Saturday night's dinner: crispy pork medallions with roasted root vegetables (red potatoes, carrots, and parsnips) and caramelized Brussels sprouts (yes, I made these - again).

For Roasted Root Vegetables (from Cooking Light): Preheat oven to 450°. Combine 8 ounces quartered small red potatoes, 2 thinly sliced carrots, and 2 thinly sliced parsnips in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 minced garlic clove; toss well to coat. Arrange vegetable mixture on a rack placed in a broiler pan. Bake at 450° for 28 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Serves 4 (serving size: ¾ cup). 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011Figure 2. Saturday afternoon baking mistake turned genius: candied pecans. Look for my complete cookie post (which generated these delicacies with one batch gone bad) on Monday, December 12 as part of the The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

Pastitsio  is a Greek and Mediterranean baked pasta dish ususally including ground beef and b├ęchamel sauce in its best-known form. The version I made used mushrooms, not beef, and 'lightened' version of bechamel. 

This was my first pastitsio experience. For the amount of time this pastitsio took to put together, I found its flavor a bit disappointing. Unfortunately, I think this dish needs a stick of butter and some heavy cream to really stand out.

Figure 3. In preparation: wild mushroom pastitsio (layer of mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, and spices on top of pasta in a light bechamel sauce).

Figure 4. Out of the oven: wild mushroom pastitsio topped with golden mozzarella cheese.

Figure 5. Sunday night's dinner: wild mushroom pastitsio and roasted broccoli.


  1. I also have been disappointed by pastitsio--I got it in a restaurant and found it to be a bit dry and have weird flavors.

  2. All that food looks delicous! :)
    I dont think I've ever had pastittsio before..

    Yum, candied pecans! :)

  3. Before I read the post I thought you just misspelled pistachio.

    I cooked parsnips a while back and was pleasantly surprised!

  4. I'm for sure going to pick up parsnips on my next grocery run!! Loving your brussels sprouts too, they are quickly becoming my favorite vegetable.


  5. I hate mushrooms but that pastitsio still looks amazing to me. Baked casseroles are just so good for the soul!

  6. Emma, you hate mushrooms! Blasphemy!!

  7. Everything look wonderful!! I love parsnip. They are so good! I never had pastitsio before, but it looks really good as well! :)

  8. That pastitsio looks divine! Total comfort food :)