We got a tree, a Christmas tree, and it’s my first one–Rabbi Schlomo, plug your ears–and it’s making our apartment seem so festive. Somehow I thought getting a tree would be a big ordeal: with the lights and the stand and the balls and the baubles. But, actually, it was a totally easy process. On the advice of my friend John, we went to the Target in Eagle Rock where we stocked up on all the tree necessities (a tree skirt, to attract male trees; lights, balls, etc.) and then we bought a tree right outside at a pop-up tree farm. The tree came on a stand so we just carried it through the door, stood it up, and started wiring the lights. Voila. Now all we had to do was to have people over to enjoy the tree, which is why I spent some time figuring out the perfect December menu.
Snooki may like to smoosh, but when it came to the root vegetables that I brought home from the farmer’s market last week, I was in the mood to smash.
I was making roast chicken (my go-to weeknight dish) and my standard practice is to stick some root vegetables under or around the chicken, to crank up the oven and to rejoice as all that chicken fat infuses the vegetables with its chickeny goodness.
When I was writing my first book, I had a chapter called “Stretch a Chicken” in which I was going to try to stretch one chicken over as many meals as I could. That chapter never materialized but last week I found myself stretching a chicken without really thinking about it. I made two dinners and froze the carcass for chicken stock. Both dinners were excellent and, because I used the same chicken, relatively cheap. Here’s what I did.
Easy. Shockingly easy. Are you ready? In one paragraph, here we go (courtesy of David Tanis and his marvelous book, “A Platter of Figs.”) Buy parsnips (4 to 5 pounds). Heat the oven to 375. Peel the parsnips. Quarter them lengthwise; remove the central core. If they’re large, cut them into 3-inch lengths. Toss with olive oil (appx. 3 Tablespoons), salt and pepper and roast in a small baking dish for 45 minutes until they’re tender and brown. They’re sweet and earthy and delicious and go great with roast chicken, pork, or other roasted root vegetables. And they take less than one paragraph to make.