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Roasting brings vegetables alive

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Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2010 11:00 pm

“Eat your vegetables” is one of the time-honored parental directives. Growing up, apart from salad, vegetables were either steamed/boiled and coated with butter or slathered in cheese or hollandaise sauce.

As a result, in introducing vegetables to my kids, I took a rather spineless approach. I wouldn’t prepare vegetables I knew my husband wouldn’t like because to make the kids eat something an authority figure could/would refuse seemed hypocritical to me. I went for “sweeter” vegetables with varying degrees of success. For a long time, I knew that we weren’t really eating the amount or variety we should, but what was the solution?

The answer turned out to be roasting vegetables. Oven roasted potatoes are fairly common, but the spectrum of roasted vegetables is much larger. Roasting is different from baking, because it uses a higher temperature and can caramelize natural sugars. I had found my new vegetable calling, and my family was much more favorably inclined with the results.

Why am I bringing this up as we near the end of oven season? Roasting is not limited to days under 85 degrees. You can roast vegetables on the grill using a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil with the edges folded up. It works with summer squash, peppers, zucchini, etc. You can experiment with seasoning. I like Penzey’s Greek Seasoning blend, rosemary and garlic are a good standard. Fresh chopped Italian parsley is a nice garnish sprinkled over the top.

If you’re still not sure about roasted vegetables, then stop by Pomegranate in the Safeway shopping center at 40th Street and Chandler Boulevard. They have a roasted vegetable dish, Harvest Hash, that is an excellent way to try this out without having to prepare it yourself. You can visit their Web site at www.pomegranatecafe.com for more information.

 

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi began collecting recipes at age 14, but her real love affair with cooking started after picking up a December 1989 Bon Appetit magazine. Today, she shares her love of the kitchen with her two kids, Nathan, 11, and Nicole, 8. If you’d like to get in touch with Lori with a question or idea, e-mail her at azlrossi@gmail.com.

 

Oven Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

3 Tablespoons olive oil (prefer extra virgin)

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Lay asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (for easier cleanup, line with aluminum foil). Drizzle olive oil over asparagus. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for five minutes. Serve hot.

 

Mixed roasted vegetables

1 small butternut squash

2 large carrots or 2 cups of baby carrots

1 large sweet potato

2 parsnips

1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare vegetables by cleaning, peeling and cutting in 1-inch dice. In a bowl, toss vegetables and sliced onion with olive oil and any preferred seasoning. Sprinkle with salt and add pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Vegetables should be lightly browned on the edges and cooked through. Larger pieces may require additional baking time.

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