Calendar, Cookbooks and Poached Egg on Parsnip Puree

To me the holidays mean celebrating with good food, wonderful friends and close family. It also means that 2011 is just around the corner and I need to get a new calendar, lickity-split. Well, I did. I went onto Etsy and did a search for handmade calendars. A nice bunch of options came up, but one in particular caught my eye. Heidi from Redcruiser made a seasonal garden/market calendar that I just had to have. As many of you know, I am completely obsessed with my local CSA, and some of my favorite dishes have come from our weekly farm-share bounty:Panzanella, Pasta with Swiss Chard and Leek Sauce, Polenta with Corn and Thyme, Scalloped Tomatoes, Zucchini and Basil Soup and Tagliatelle with Fresh Pesto (just to name a few). Sadly, the CSA ended for the season and I'm really missing it. This is where my new calendar comes in...
Each calendar month contains a beautiful illustration that corresponds with what is grown at that particular time of year. It matched-up perfectly with what we picked up every week. I'm looking forward to using my new calendar and counting down the months till our CSA starts up again...

Since it was the holidays and all, I also decided to pick up  two new cookbooks that I'm absolutely thrilled to have in my growing collection:
                                                The New Brooklyn Cookbook 
                                           Baked: New Frontiers in Baking 
If you live in Brooklyn (or anywhere on the eastern seaboard), a trip to this bakery in Red Hook is well worth it.  It's absolutely fantastic. This weekend I'm making their Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie. and, maybe, the Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Of course Pumpkin Whoopie Pie will get made post-haste as well.  
The New Brooklyn Cookbook features many of the borough's best restaurants. Al Di La, Applewood, Buttermilk Channel,  Convivium, DuMont, Dressler, Franny's, The Good Fork, Marlow & Sons and Rose Water are just a few examples featured in the cookbook.  Rose Water is one of my favorite spots. And if you are lucky enough to get a table, you will probably agree. 
Around the same time as these new cookbooks came into my life, I stumbled upon this recipe for Poached Egg on Parsnip Puree with Mushrooms in edibleBrooklyn. It's an adaptation of a recipe that originally came from Rose Water's then-chef Marcellus Coleman. I adapted it only slightly by adding stock, minimizing the heavy cream (just a bit) and using porcini mushrooms instead of the more costly Black Trumpets, Maitakes, Trumpet Royale and Honshimejis. Serve the puree in a small, shallow bowl. It's very rich, so you don't need much to fill you up...
Enjoy it and happy holidays!
Poached Egg on Parsnip Puree with Porcini Mushrooms
Parsnip Puree
2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable stock (more if you want to thin out the puree)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
pinch of salt, more to taste
Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan until parsnips are completely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a food processor and blend puree until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender, which is much easier.

2 lbs. porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
pinch of salt
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
fine herbs to garnish such as parsley, chives, chervil or tarragon
Saute mushrooms in oil and salt over medium-high heat until mushrooms start to brown and soften, about 4 minutes. Add stock, butter and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a glossy, stew-like consistency, about 4 more minutes.  Remove thyme sprigs. Add herbs.

1 egg per serving (this puree makes 4-6 servings)
capful of vinegar
Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add vinegar. Carefully crack egg into water and cook for 3 minutes.

Serve in a small, shallow bowl. Place one large dollop of warm parsnip puree in the bowl, with a divot in the middle to hold the egg. Gently lift the egg out of the water and place atop puree.  Spoon mushrooms around the puree and season with sea salt and optional garnishes.