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roasted veggies

April 28, 2014

If you’ve read my blog posts so far, you’re probably aware of a few things:

  1. I repeat myself. Got a cool love story? Tell me, and I’ll make sure it’s told hundreds of times… just ask Mr. Zucchini. Want to hear about how I like changing, forgetting, and obsessing over recipes? Just read any one of my posts. Woops.
  2. I love smitten kitchen. You may have gathered that half of my posts are about recipes she created, but what you may not realize is that of the other 50%, a good majority are recipes I forced myself to try from other sources… just so I could post my favorite new recipe of hers.
  3. I like complicated.

The problem with all of these lovely facts is that number 3 isn’t actually true. “Then why do all of your recipes have a gazillion instructions and steps,” you say? Simply put, I’ve always thought it’d be way more exciting for you to read about a recipe you kinda have to follow than to read about the day I steamed some escarole and mixed it with beans and garlic. Though actually, this should be added to the recipe list shortly.

Recently I’ve had several friends ask me for quick and easy recipes. The requestors fall into two main groups

  1. The “What’s a Stainless Steel Saucepan?” Group: New to cooking – or to cooking (relatively) healthy – these guys and gals waltzed into a kitchen, knife and garlic in hand, and suddenly realized the papery wrapping on each clove was a lot more troublesome than it seemed (hint: smash the cloves before chopping and the paper comes off in one piece). They’re ready to cook, but may be better off learning what a spatula is first.
  2. The “Does a Handful of Nuts and Leftover Diner Fries Count as Dinner?” Group: Bound by endless meetings and ever increasing to-do lists, this group may know how to cook – even how to cook well – but they’ve got about as much time to cook as they do to revel in the beauty of a freshly organized freezer, which is to say, none. Cereal for breakfast lost its novelty long ago, and they realized they’re ready for a refreshed perspective on cooking at about the same time they realized the counter guy at the neighborhood pizza joint was on their bday list.

This got me thinking. I don’t always follow recipes to get dinner on the table. In fact, most nights, I stick with the old standby of meat, veggie, veggie, grain. And usually, pan-seared, roasted, fresh, bread. Some of the easiest – and best – vegetable “recipes” I consistently use are as simple as veggie + olive oil + s&p.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been diligently working to roast every veggie I could get my hands on, just to give you this handy chart.

A few notes:

Vegetables – your biggest active time investment will be prepping the veggies. Wash ’em good. Hopefully you already knew that one, but make sure you dry them well too! Salad spinners are an awesome investment, and even in my tiny kitchen, a necessity for greens and other delicate vegetables. If the veggies in question call for chopping, and if you want them to cook evenly, cut them as close to the same size as possible. Sometimes I intentionally mismatch the sizes so that parts of the pan get crispier than others.

Oil – I always use extra virgin olive oil but you can use any oil you choose or butter if you want to be extra badass.

Salt – I use Kosher salt, specifically Diamond, and tend to call it flaky salt because I think it’s a more accurate descriptor and is more likely to make readers who use table salt wonder what the heck I’m talking about… Which hopefully sends them on a google mission to find something like this. You can use any type of salt you like, just make sure you adjust the amount you use if you pick a different size.

Pepper – Always grind it onto the veggies after they come out of the oven.

Oven – set the rack to the upper third of the oven. I use both non stick & regular metal sheet pans. I occasionally use a pampered chef stone bar pan, which gives the veggies beautiful color/flavor, but takes longer to roast.

Timing – check your veggies for doneness before the time I wrote. Ovens vary. Learn yours.

The Veggies:

Prep- trim off tough ends (the thick stalk end)
Roast @450 for 10-15 min

Brussels Sprouts
Prep- trim off the brown ends and quarter
Roast @400 for 20-25 min

Red Potatoes
Prep- quarter potatoes (cut in 4)
Roast @425 for 30 min

*I will add more as I make more/remember to write them down. This has been sitting in drafts for 8 months so I figured it was time to publish the post even though my dreams of making available the roast timing for every veggie imaginable have not yet come true.


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