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Produce Profile by Mark "Guido The Gardner" ® Ferro
Guido's Holiday Goodies!
Happy Holidays, Produce Profilers!

These are recipes that will appear on the Guido family table this Christmas Eve, with plenty left over for Christmas Day!

ROASTED GARLIC and CELERY ROOT MASHED POTATOES

  • 5 lbs potatoes diced
  • 1 large celery root diced
  • 1 cup milk/half and half
  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • butter, if you want

The celery root needs peeling, trimming and dicing before you cook it.

With the spuds, I use Yukon Golds and leave the peel on. These just have more flavor than anything else. Steam them until they are tender. You can also boil them if you want. When both the celery root and potatoes are cooked, put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, butter if any and mash up.

TO ROAST GARLIC-slice off the tops of the garlic head, exposing each clove. Brush with some olive oil and wrap in foil. Put in oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the head is soft. Pull from oven, let cool and then squeeze cooked garlic from individual cloves and into a small mixing bowl. Mash well and then add to the mashed celery root and potatoes. This should serve between 6-8.

PARSNIP SOUP

  • olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced/squeezed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6-8 medium parsnips, scrubbed NOT peeled and diced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, diced (basically for color)
  • 1 quart chicken, veggie stock or water
  • 2 whole cloves, for flavor

Most recipes will tell you to only brown the garlic and onion. I like to also brown the parsnips and carrots. I think it brings out the sugar in these roots. After they are browned a bit, pour in some broth and simmer until everything is tender, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, let cool and then puree in a blender with the rest of the broth. Make sure to remove the cloves before the puree number.

Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a dollop of cream or half and half. (My plan was to make this ahead of time and then freeze until Christmas. My lovely wife tasted this mixture before I had a chance to puree it and she said it tasted swell. I still haven't finished it yet, so I'll throw in my two cents later. But really, I've made this before and it's yumptious.)

OR REAL CRANBERRY SAUCE

Don't, please don't, open up a can of "cranberry sauce" and plop it on the table. It is rude and lazy. Jazz it up with something or better yet,follow the lead of traditional cooks and use fresh cranberries. This will be a follow your taste bud recipe as when I make this I never measure anything. But I can guess pretty good. The gist of this is to sweeten up the very tart cranberries and then add fruit and bold spices for flavor.

Face it, ANY combo of the following is better than canned stuff. Give it a go.

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
  • 1 cup water (apple or grape juice would also work)
  • 3/4 -1 cup sugar (This is what the recipes will tell you. I don't like cooking with sugar because I think it tastes phony. I'll use honey and molasses, which will darken the mix some, but no matter.)
  • grated lemon and /or orange peel
  • sliced oranges or sectioned seedless satsuma mandarins
  • diced fresh apple or pear
  • fresh grated ginger
  • chopped raisins
  • cinnamon stick

Dissolve the sugar/honey/ molasses mix in water. Add the cranberries and simmer until they all pop, about 10 minutes. Add all the rest and simmer another 20 or so minutes, until flavors blend. Once it is cooked you can always add more uncooked ingredients for additional flavor and texture.

This holiday season, put a smile not only on your face, but more importantly, on those of the folks around you.

HO HO HO FROM GUIDO-O-O