Wednesday, July 15, 2009

mixed summer vegetable roast

One of the first recipes I really remember falling in love with is Molly Katzen's Roasted and Marinated Green Beans from her Still Life with Menu Cookbook. I was introduced to this recipe by my friend, Nick, who said you could eat the roasted green beans like french fries. Thus began my love affair with roasting vegetables. Almost all vegetables taste wonderful roasted. It's so easy yet the taste is so sophisticated, roasted vegetables can be the perfect dish for guests. You can roast vegetables any time of year, too, just by varying the vegetables used according to what's in season and adding different herbs. With a few simple changes you can transform the same base recipe from a side dish for a spring brunch to an accompaniment for grilled fish to a hearty fall stew.

The box from Flying Cloud Farm is getting heavier each week, with more vegetables and fewer greens. I'm leaving town tomorrow, so tonight seemed like a good night to use up a variety of vegetables in a mixed summer vegetable roast. And although I have SO many chores I should be doing, I couldn't resist allowing myself some extra time in the kitchen tonight knowing I'll be on the road for a few days. Just look at these beautiful vegetables I used for tonight's meal. So colorful, and all local, organic, and delicious. Who wouldn't want to spend an evening with them?

You can use almost any vegetables you have on hand (except for cucumber - sorry, Kramer!). Cut each type of vegetable at roughly the same size so that it cooks evenly, and start the longest cooking vegetables first, followed by softer veggies added towards the end. Patting the rinsed vegetables dry is also important to prevent steaming.

Mixed Summer Vegetable Roast

2 fennel bulbs, cored, quartered, and fronds removed
4 medium carrots, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, then cut into quarters
2 small potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, trimmed, halved if large
1 summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 in rounds
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Brush with olive oil. On the first baking sheet, toss the fennel, potatoes, and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and bake for twenty minutes, tossing occasionally. On the second sheet, toss the green beans with the onions and garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt. After the first sheet has been in the oven for about twenty minutes, add the sheet with the green beans and set the timer for ten minutes. After ten minutes, add the summer squash to the tray with the green beans, tossing to coat with olive oil. Return to the oven for an additional ten minutes, or until all vegetables are lightly browned and tender. Combine all vegetables in a large bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with 2 - 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Tonight I served these roasted vegetables topped with Bilinski's All Natural Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages. I love Bilinski's because they are all natural (some flavors are organic), fully cooked, and come in a wide variety of flavors. Plus, I just adore the cute little bee on the package! Dora loves them, too.

I used to be a vegetarian, but currently do eat some meat as long as it is produced naturally, and preferably locally and organically. These vegetables can easily be served vegetarian, however - as a side, over pasta or brown rice, on pizza, pureed into a soup, tossed over greens. They taste great as leftovers, too, and keep well in the fridge for several days in a covered container. Happy summer harvest!

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