What to make on New Year's Day

Carrot cashew loaf. (Courtesy of Chantalrussell.com)

Carrot cashew loaf. (Courtesy of Chantalrussell.com)

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI Agency
 

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

 

The end of the year is a time of reflections, looking back at the recipes of 2013, and choosing the best. Here's a selection, suitable to cold weather eating, with my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Gremolata

Dressed up winter vegetables.

  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper

Gremolata:

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) minced fresh parsley

Cut carrots and parsnips into finger-size sticks. Peel onion, leaving stem end intact; cut into 6 wedges. In bowl, toss vegetables with oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Arrange in shallow roasting pan. Roast in 400F. (200C.) oven for 20 minutes. Turn vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender and golden around edges, 20 to 30 minutes.

Gremolata: On cutting board, chop garlic, lemon rind and parsley together to combine flavours. Transfer vegetables to warm bowl; sprinkle gremolata overtop. Toss to combine. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Carrot Cashew Loaf

Torontonian Carolyn Barber’s colourful vegetarian loaf has a mushroom sauce, but chunky salsa is also delicious with it.

  • 4 cups (1 L) boiling water
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) sliced carrots
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 1 cup (250 ml) diced celery
  • 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped leeks or onions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. (15 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) each salt, dried sage, thyme and basil
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) pepper
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cashews

In steamer over boiling water, cook carrots, covered, until tender, 15 minutes. Drain, reserving all carrot cooking liquid for the Mushroom Sauce (below). Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in celery, leeks and garlic. In food processor, whirl cashews until finely ground with some sand-sized grains. You should have 2 cups (500 ml). Add to egg mixture.

In same food processor (no need to wash) whirl carrots until smooth with some pea-sized bits. Add to bowl with flour, oil, lemon juice, salt, sage, thyme, basil and pepper; stir to combine. Pack into oiled 8- x 4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pan; smooth top. Bake in centre of 350F. (180C.) oven until loaf comes away from sides of pan and is firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with Mushroom Sauce. Makes 8 servings.

Mushroom Sauce

Make the sauce with two kinds of mushrooms, cremini and shitake caps, for example. The sauce is also delicious with all button or cremini mushrooms.

  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) each butter and olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) diced mushrooms (1 lb./500 g)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
  • 2 cups (500 ml) liquid from cooking carrots (see above) or vegetable broth, approximate
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) soy or tamari sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional

In saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat; add shallots and mushroom. Sauté until mushrooms are golden, and liquid has evaporated. Over low heat; mix in flour and pepper, then liquid from carrots and bay leaf. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, adding more cooking liquid, as needed, for sauce that coats back of spoon. Add soy sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a splash or two of balsamic vinegar if desired. Remove bay leaf. Makes about 4 cups (1 L) sauce.

Waupoos Puffs

Elizabeth Pulker serves these dramatic light-as-air fruit-filled puffs at her bed and breakfast, Happiness Haven, near Wapoos in Prince Edward County. She included the recipe in her handsome cookbook Farm to Table.

  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
  • 4 Tbsp. (60 ml) butter
  • Fresh or frozen raspberries, blueberries or chopped strawberries, or chopped peaches, pears or apples)
  • Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 425F. (225C.). Beat flour, milk, eggs and nutmeg until smooth. Divide butter between two medium-size cast iron skillets; melt over medium heat. Pour batter into pans; sprinkle centre of each with 1/4 cup (60 ml) to 1/2 cup (125 ml) fruit. Bake in oven 15 to 18 minutes or until golden and puffy. Dust with icing sugar; serve immediately. Makes 2 large puffs.

TIP: Add more fruit to baked puffs if you like, and drizzle with maple syrup if you’re in a decadent what-the-heck mood.


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