Here's a couple of very simple but delicious twists on vegetables to add a little variety to that Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
These are both "seat of the pants" recipes, so quantities are expressed with cheerful disregard for cook-book precision.
Parsnips in creamy horseradish
Horseradish sauce - mild, medium, or strong according to your taste
Whatever quantity of parsnips you want to serve. Depends on number of people, and what other veggies you are serving, and how much you like parsnips.
Equal quantities of horseradish sauce and cream, enough altogether to coat the parsnips. If I'm making a small dish for 2 or 3 people I usually use about half of a small (125ml) jar of horseradish.
A generous sprinkling of parmesan.
Peel and cut the parsnips into pieces. I usually cut them lengthwise into finger-sized pieces.
Place into salted water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Drain and place into a small baking dish. Mix the horseradish and cream and pour over the parsnips. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Put in the oven at 350 F for half an hour. The cream should be bubbling and the cheese starting to brown.
Sprouts with mushrooms
Button mushrooms - either white or chestnut
Generous knob of butter
Equal quantities of sprouts and mushrooms. Depending on the size of the mushrooms, use them whole, halved, or quartered. The pieces should be about the same size as the sprouts.
Enough almonds to sprinkle over the top.
Fry the almonds in a little butter until they start to brown.
Remove the almonds from the pan and set aside.
Add more butter to the pan and fry the mushrooms.
Meanwhile, boil and simmer the sprouts in salted water for about 5 minutes. They should be just about cooked and still crisp. I think sprouts get a bad rap mostly because people overcook them. A properly-cooked sprout should never be soggy!
Drain the sprouts and add them to the mushrooms. Stir until the sprouts are coated in the butter and juices.
Serve sprinkled with the fried almonds.