Withering Roots

I’m not sure how it happens but inevitably, I’ll find less-than-fresh vegetables on the bottom of my fridge drawer. These withered specimens don’t look very appetizing but they are too good for the compost pail. At this point, I have two options 1) pretend that I didn’t see them and toss them in the compost next week or 2) use them up immediately in some creative concoction.

Withered vegetables are impossible to peel. But do we really need to peel them? There is a lot of nutrition in the outer layers of root vegetables. My grandmother never peeled carrot or parsnips. She occasionally ran her paring knife down them to remove scuffs of soil but never intended to peel them completely. I remember noticing the difference in texture between my grandma’s scuffed cooked carrots and Mom’s smoothly peeled ones. Grandma’s were always better tasting plus somehow the rough outer layer held more butter and seasoning. Yum.

For these treasures, I removed the darkened ends and with skins remaining, gave them a good scrub under the tap. (The turnip did have its tough skin removed). I chopped them all into similarly sized chunks, added a small chopped onion, three limp celery stalks and cooked them with a bit of sea salt. The bonus of leaving skins on these chopped vegetables was that they retained their shape. Often peeled vegetables can cook down into pulp, which is great for smooth mashes but not always desirable.

The medium pot of vegetables were cooked for about 10-15 minutes and then strained. I placed a bowl under the colander to catch the strained vegetable water. I’ll preserve and use it as broth for a soup or sauce. When the vegetables were still hot, I added a handful of frozen peas and a handful corn to the mix. It was at this point I decided that I would make Samosas a’la Lynda with my heap of roots.

To save a bit of time, and kitchen mess, I pulled a box of puff pastry out of the freezer. It had been falling off the door shelf every time I opened freezer, so I was looking for an excuse to use it up anyway. As the vegetables cooled, the puff pastry thawed in the fridge so it could be unrolled without breaking.

To season the 6 cups of mixed vegetables, I added 1TB of curry powder, 1TB of garam masala, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2TB black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Often I will cut each piece (2 in a box for $4) of puff pastry into 16 squares and then filled each square with 2TB of vegetable mixture. Then, I’ll brush a bit of egg on two edges of the pastry square and then fold the samosa into a triangle. Yesterday, I was being lazy time frugal so I simply made two samosa pies instead. I greased a casserole dish and placed the puff pastry inside then filled it with half of the vegetable mixture. You could roll the puff pastry to make it a bit larger if you’d like. Fold the four corners into the centre, brush the top with a bit of butter and bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

Ack, hubby helped himself to dinner before I could snap the perfect “after” picture. That’s how great it smelled in our kitchen!

I served the Samosa A’la Lynda pie with a raita. Raita typically contains plain yogurt, shredded cucumber, coriander, fresh cilantro. I had the plain yogurt but not summer cucumbers, so I substituted diced radish, celery, parsley, garlic, green onions, coriander, salt and black pepper. It was the perfect cooling, fresh, crunchy condiment for the spicy pie. Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you create with your Withering Roots! cheers Lynda