Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, and Fennel

Though potatoes, yams, squash, and carrots are generally the fall side dishes of choice, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and fennel get crispy and sweet when roasted, and folks who think they don’t like them fall in love. A drizzle of Ice Syrup or maple syrup at the end is the perfect finish. If you opt for the Ice Syrup, a unique Niagara product, www.icesyrup.com lists the many local retailers who carry it.

Roasted Brussels, Parsnips, and Fennel with Ice Syrup

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, and Fennel

1 pound (454 grams) Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced in half
1 pound (454 grams) parsnips, peeled and cut into thin medallions
1 fennel bulb, cut in 3/4-inch chunks
2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45mL) Niagara Ice Syrup or pure maple syrup (preferably dark or amber)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and toss the with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 35 minutes, until tender and browned. Drizzle with Ice Syrup or pure maple syrup.

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Three Mushroom Gravy

If you own any of my books or been to any of my speaking engagements, you likely know I never use rice flour in my baking – it is nutritionally void and has a terrible texture. But I do like it for thickening because it is really smooth and works well in pretty much everything. This thick, earthy gravy, rich with the flavour of dried and fresh mushrooms is open to your interpretation: add your favourite herbs, puree it smooth, make it thick or thin. There is loads of room for experimentation. (Here it’s shown over roasted potato wedges).

Thick-Cut Fries with Tri-Mushroom Gravy2

Three Mushroom Gravy

1 0.5 ounce/14g package dried morel mushrooms
6 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound  white button mushrooms
1 pound cremini mushrooms
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
Additional water, if needed
3 tablespoons  sweet rice flour, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Put the dried mushrooms in a large bowl (with a capacity of at least 6 cups). Top with the boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until mushrooms are golden brown. Add the shallots. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about a minute longer.

Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving both the mushrooms and the liquid. Chop the mushrooms, and add to the pot along with the soaking water and the thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Whisk in sweet rice flour, and simmer until thickened. Depending on how thick you may like your gravy, you can add more water and sweet rice flour to suit your tastes.