Black Cat chef-owner Eric Skokan pimps root vegetable recipes in Relish

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Eric Skokan's Black Cat Farm may have started as a backyard garden, but over the past few years, it's grown to a seventy-acre operation that provides a good deal of the food for his Boulder restaurant, Black Cat, throughout the year.

Skokan is able to keep a lot of those vegetables because he has a root cellar, where he stores many varieties of his heirloom carrots, squashes and other root vegetables. And this week, the chef is pimping those very cold-weather stores, encouraging home cooks to work with winter crops: He's featured in Relish, a magazine devoted to food that's tucked into newspapers across the country (it's also on the web), talking root vegetable recipes.

The chef/farmer credits his love of carrots to the smell of his root cellar, and offers up a carrot gratin recipe that highlights them. Online readers also get a bonus: instructions for a vanilla parsnip puree, which includes real vanilla beans.

Both sound like they'd be epic sides to a turkey (which you can also get from Skokan, since he raised Heritage turkeys this year) -- or fun dishes to experiment with on a cold night like tonight.

Find the recipes on the Relish website.

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