Every year in late fall and early winter, when I’m still working outside, I crave something that doesn’t exist: the warm milkshake.
Really, what I’m craving is fat. And protein. My body craves fat when it’s working hard, especially when it’s cold outside. I know I need it. I’m not someone who thinks that eating fat is bad for you. Ice cream happens to be an extremely satisfying blend of fat & protein, hence the milkshake cravings. And yet, I can’t bear to eat something so icy. Furthermore, a daily dose of ice cream isn’t exactly “health food.”
Last fall, deep in my warm-milkshake angst, I had an epiphany: I couldn’t make a warm milkshake, but I could make a warm smoothie.
Hear me out. Roots to River Farm, the farm closely connected to Locust Light, was having a fantastic parsnip year. Anyone who is closely involved with local farms knows that a fantastic parsnip year only comes around every 3-4 years. The farmers direct-sow the parsnips seeds into the ground, and have to keep them weeded, irrigated, and non-flooded for weeks longer than most other crops. Because they need so much tending, and also because the general populace doesn’t realize how incredible they are (aka doesn’t buy them), parsnips often get lost to the weeds sometime around July or August.
I am not a member of the parsnip-ignorant populace. I fully appreciate how much work they are, and how AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS they are. And the 2017 crop of Roots to River parsnips were extra special — the flavor was complex, almost as though they were pre-cinnamoned.
I realized: I could make a warm parsnip smoothie, heavy on the fat.
I bought a few cans of coconut milk (the kind where the fat consolidates in a big block at the top). I got home, steamed a few parsnips, and got to work. The result was extremely delicious and highly satisfying. (See Recipe Below).
I have since repeated the recipe with pumpkin (variety: Long Island Cheese, my favorite), butternut, and celeriac. All pair well with coco-whip. Parsnip and celeriac pair well with chopped apples.
Parsnip (or pumpkin, or celeriac)
1 can coconut milk
Maple syrup or sugar
Cinnamon & nutmeg
Chop parsnip into quarter-inch sized slices. Steam with a small amount of water.
While steaming, open the can of coconut milk. Separate the water from the fat. Reserve both.
Make coco-whip (coconut whipped cream) in a food processor or blender:
Add fat to the blender.
Add a dash of vanilla, salt, and syrup or sugar, to taste.
Blend until creamy.
Remove most of the coco whip from the food processor, leaving a small amount.
Store the coco whip in your fridge until you need it again.
When the parsnips are soft, add to food processor. Add vanilla, a pinch salt, a bit of syrup, and the spices.
If you need to thin out the mix, add a bit of the coco water.
Once smooth & creamy, spoon into a cup or bowl.
Feel free to top with chopped apples or nuts.
Top with the coco whip. Sprinkle cinnamon on top for added prettiness.
Experiment with other roots!
These make lovely, impressive desserts, but since they’re so heavy, serve them as “shooters” instead of full cups.
Have fun experimenting with winter foods!
P.S. Looking for more ways to embrace this season? Check out my new online course The Inward Spiral: Potions & Practices for Solstice Season.