March 10, 2012

Roasting Vegetables For The Week

Since we pretty much eat seasonally, winter vegetables make up most of the vegetable portion of our diet this time of year (although soon we'll have summer veg as well!). Winter vegetables aren't just those that grow in the winter like turnips, broccoli, or kale but also those that store for the winter like pumpkins, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Poblanos and sweet potatoes ready for the oven
Roasting is our favorite way to prepare these vegetables. They get crispy on the outside, smooshy in the middle and in some cases, very, very sweet (holy moly! have you enjoyed the sweetness that is a roasted brussels sprout!?). We eat the veg plain on the plate and in an assortment of recipes including lasagna and enchiladas. For some reason, even though I roast vegetables almost daily for use in recipes, it didn't occur to me to do this in bulk once a week until I read this New York Times article about Tamar Adler's new cookbook An Everlasting Meal.

Here was my "ah-ha" moment:
"...while most of us stock our crispers with fresh vegetables and then spend the rest of the week racing to eat them before they turn brown, Ms. Adler buys up basketfuls of whatever vegetables are in season, and as soon as she gets home... cooks and prepares all the vegetables at once... vegetables as soon as you buy them essentially turns them into a convenience food, allowing them to keep longer and creating a starting point for a week’s worth of meals.
“We’re told that things need to be fresh,” Ms. Adler said, but too often “we all end up watching our food go bad, and then it doesn’t matter if it was fresh, because we didn’t get to eat it.”"

Duh. Why didn't I think of that?

The video of her roasting the veg is inspiring... particularly her awesome cutting-board-top kitchen island and her uncluttered, clean counters (sigh). I see she uses my favorite olive oil.

Mushrooms ready for roasting.
That is basically what I do too: chop, coat in olive oil and salt, then roast in a hot oven... I just never do it all at once for the whole week. Now (especially since we have a small kiddo) I'm going to start.

And this is what we normally make with roasted veg:

  • Lasagna
  • Risotto
  • Enchiladas (wow... roasted broccoli and potato enchiladas are amazing. I use Homesick Texan's recipe for real tex-mex enchilada sauce or what we in Texas call chili gravy)
  • Pizza
  • Tacos
  • All kinds of casseroles especially tamale pie, salmon noodle casserole, and baked pastas.
And we eat it plain. Or with parm on top. Or as a side for meat. Or over rice with black beans and a chimichuri sauce (feta works nicely here). Or in lentil soup with cumin and a touch of curry powder. Or tossed with pasta and olive oil.

Some of the roasted veg.
I love the idea that when vegetables are roasted, "warmed to room temperature and drizzled with vinaigrette, they make a savory, earthy salad" and "...blended with broth and a splash of cream, they can be a hearty soup" (more things should be blended with cream).

The other night I took roasted broccoli and garlic, blended them with the potatoes I baked earlier in the week, the left over chicken broth from the day before, and some yogurt for a quick soup. Yum!

A few days later, roasted sweet potatoes, poblanos, and onions were topped with cheddar and strained yogurt (which tastes like sour cream).

Tonight I think it's going to be roasted broccoli, onions, and garlic in a salmon noodle casserole.

What do you roast and how do you eat it?

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