Tiny Roasted Root Veggies

I read recently that a writer should bleed in the first line.  But that only seems appropriate on a food blog if you're dealing with beets.  It's so aggressively cheerful when they bleed and turn everything pink.

Beets have been repeatedly showing up in our delivery box, so I tried pink soup (otherwise known as borscht) and on a whim I even tucked some pureed beets into brownies.  The bad news was that the brownies didn't turn out with the intended red velvet effect.  The good news was that no one suspected that the dessert had been booby-vegged.  People aren't inclined to trust you after a low-down trick like that.

These roasted root vegetables with shallots and herb salt are another reliable recipe from Fast, Fresh & Green book.  They're comforting, a very good way to warm up the kitchen and round out a weeknight dinner.  Dicing makes the vegetables cook faster and you get a nicer blend of flavors in each bite, but obviously it means the prep takes longer.  You could cut them into larger cubes and bake them about five minutes longer, but in that case leave out the shallots, which will burn.  Cutting the veggies into dice could be a good job for willing but inexperienced helpers during prep for Thanksgiving.  The herb salt is quick and makes this feel special without being fussy.  

I haven't given up on my plan to cook through this cookbook - it's a well-thought out book that stands up to heavy use.  My respect for it grows each time I follow the smooth path of Susie's directions.  But I do seem to have a hard time only focusing on this one project when I am surrounded by new influences and ingredients.  It has been stretching to have the change of flavors that come with a change of place, along with being jolted out of familiar daily patterns.  I've been motivated to take new risks.  Some of the results were... less convincing.  Well, it happens.

Recipe development isn't the the only part of my life where the road to success is non-linear, things worth accomplishing take time, and the unknown offers both challenge and promise.  But I will keep trying.

Tiny Roasted Root Veggies with Shallots and Herb Salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 475.

2.  Dice up a combination of any of the following:  potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips.

3.  Toss your vegetables with olive oil to coat and sliced shallots.  If you want to include beets (you do!), dice them first and get them into the oven while you work on dicing the other vegetables.

4.  Spread out the diced veggies into a thin layer on a baking sheet.  Roast until soft, 20-25 minutes.

5.  Optional - combine fresh rosemary or thyme and kosher salt, bruising the herb against the salt.  Stir into the finished root vegetables.

This is the seventeenth recipe I've made from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton, a cookbook so awesome that I am cooking my way through all the recipes.  Sue's online home is Six Burner Sue, where you can find her hard at work running a vegetable farm on Martha's Vineyard and developing recipes for a second cookbook that will be called Fresh & Green for Dinner.  

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