It’s time to turn the ovens back on again.
If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, this may seem like a strange statement. If you live in the South, you know where I’m coming from.
In the hottest parts of the summer, turning on an oven can be very expensive and uncomfortable. I rarely use an oven from late July through most of September unless we are having a mild summer or its late at night.
But once the cold weather settles in, I’m back to using the oven for one of my favorite ways to prepare great food-Roasting.
Roasting is a method of cooking foods using a dry heat source, like an oven. Most meats are slow-roasted with low heat. The choicest, most tender cuts can withstand a quicker roast. Vegetables are often cooked at high temperatures to allow for caramelization. I have a fascination with brown roasted vegetables. The flavor is tremendous after a trip to the oven. I think I could learn to love even beets if I could get them on my roasting tray. I can definitely say that because of the roasting method, I eat a lot more servings and varieties of vegetables than before. It is the sure fire way to get more real food into my diet.
Most roasted vegetable dishes require 2 things:
- a source of fat like nut oils, olive oils, clarified butter, bacon fat
I have an extensive Penzey’s collection just for different vegetables. My fat of choice is usually olive oil, clarified butter, or bacon fat. It still amazes me that in this year of eating more olive oil, butter, and bacon fat I not only lost a substantial amount of weight, but my total cholesterol went down and the good cholesterol went a lot higher. Anyway….don’t be afraid of a little fat!
1. Before I throw vegetables in the oven, I take into account the composition of the vegetables.
If I’m mixing various veggies, I make sure the denser, longer-cooking vegetables are cut much smaller than the cruciferous leafy vegetables. That’s why my broccoli is in larger florets and my carrots are pinkie tip sized. With more experience, it is easy to determine chopping size.
2. After I chop/prepare the vegetables, I douse them in oil or butter. Sprinkle my season. Stir it all up right there on the baking sheet.
3. Roast at 450* for 15-30 minutes depending on the vegetables.
These are just some basic guidelines. Always refer to specific recipe directions.
And now some examples.