Parsnip Cake
by Laura Moncion in Down To Earth, Spring 2015 - COG OSO's E-Newsletter


1 cup flour
1 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
handful of cranberries (optional)
2 eggs (or 2 tbsp flax and 6 tbsp water)
2/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 cups grated parsnips

Mix together the flour, spices, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and cranberries (if using). Mix together the eggs and oil/butter, then combine with the dry ingredients. Mix in the grated parsnips and combine well. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf or cake tin. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the cake is browned and a knife comes out clean from the middle of the cake.

Southern Fried Chicken Breasts
With Wild Mushroom Gravy and Red Vegetable Hash
Recipe from ‘The PlumpJack Cookbook’ by Jeff Morgan. Makes 6 servings.

For the Marinade:
2 cups buttermilk
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tbsp coarse salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 oz each)

In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk and cayenne. In a small bowl, combine the salt, rosemary, and pepper. Sprinkle the salt mixture onto both sides of the chicken breasts. (Discard any excess salt mix. Immerse the chicken breasts in the buttermilk marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the Hash:
 2 beets, trimmed, peeled, and halved
1 cup diced fennel bulb  
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup peeled, diced sweet potato
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 cups peeled, diced russet potato
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup diced parsnip
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a steamer, steam the beets until they are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. When the beets are cool enough to handle, grate them on the big holes of a box grater and set aside. While the beets are cooking, in a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potato, carrot, parsnip, sweet potato, and fennel. Mix well and sauté until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the rosemary, nutmeg, and grated beets, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cream is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.

For The Gravy:
 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup dry sherry
2 tbsp minced onion
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp coarse salt
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
1 lb wild or cultivated mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped

In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary and cook until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushroom and stir to coat with the butter. Cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and stir to dissolve any browned bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 1 minute. Add the cream, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside.

For the Chicken:
 1¾  to 2 quarts canola oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp coarse salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Pour the oil into a large, heavy, deep (5 to 6 inches deep) pot, filling it no more than two-thirds full. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375ºF. It should begin to glisten and shimmer but should not smoke. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade but reserve the marinade. Dredge each breast in the seasoned flour, then dip it back in the marinade. Dredge one more time in the flour. Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. (You may not have enough room to cook all 6 breasts at once, so try frying them in two batches.) Fry the breasts until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes, turning them from time to time, and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. (If desired, keep the chicken warm in a preheated 200ºF oven. This fried chicken is also delicious at room temperature.) Reheat the vegetable hash and the mushroom gravy separately over medium-high heat, stirring to warm evenly. Place a fried chicken breast on each plate, with a serving of the hash next to it. Garnish each breast with the gravy.

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