Saturday, June 12, 2010

Turn up the heat

It's a known fact, most people do not like vegetables. We've got all sorts of tricks to get our veggie-phobic kids, husbands and friends to eat their vegetables. Like topping them with cheese, covering them in cream sauce and stocking the fridge with commercial beverages like V8 and the newer V8 Splash. And I see nothing wrong with this. I love a gooey, cheesy vegetable gratin as much as the next guy. But I'm not a veggie hater and usually have no problem consuming my "5 a Day". But really, vegetables can be boring. And that's why I like to high-heat, oven roast them. The high temperature helps caramelize their natural sugars and makes them sweet and earthy and a pleasing accompaniment to any meal. Heres what I did the other day. I took: 1 peeled sweet potato, 2 medium size zucchini, 1 medium size yellow (summer) squash, 1 Vidalia onion and 1 red pepper. I cut them all into 1 inch pieces,

then tossed in 4 or 5 peeled garlic cloves and misted the whole shooting match with cooking spray. I sprinkled on some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, put the veggies on a cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray, and then popped them into a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Sound easy? It is. Sound time consuming? It's that too. But worth every minute.

I've been roasting my vegetables at higher temps lately and liking the results. I cooked this group in 2 batches and turned each batch over and mixed them around at the halfway cooking point. When they were done I put a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar (you can use lemon juice if you like) over the colorful mixture, tossed, and served warm. They're perfectly fine at room temperature too. And if you've got left overs, add them to a few ounces of cooked pasta, throw in a few fresh herbs, another splash of vinegar and you've got a fabulous Primavera Salad for lunch the next day.
P.S. Some other vegetables that work well high-heat roasted are: apsaragus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes. Give them a try. I think you'll be pleased.

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