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Posts Tagged ‘Carrots’

Ah, the evening chill of Fall.  It turns the switch in my brain from wanting the cool, crisp vegetables that I’ve been eating all summer to warm, comforting dishes.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to those fabulous cucumbers for the next several months, but I’m ready to slowly warm my house and enjoy the lingering smell of roasted vegetables.  I’m ready to have Radd come home from work, open the front door, and see him smile when he notices those beautiful aromas.  There is something therapeutic about it.  I get so excited to share this style of warm, homecooked meal with my family.

You already know that (aside from sweets) vegetables are really all I need.  While I love those raw fresh and crisp summer specimens, roasting imparts– or perhaps emphasizes– other flavors entirely.  They develop a bit of a personality and a little more character.  They are both sweeter and more complex.  This recipe really showcases what I’m talking about.

The vegetables are prepared in a large baking dish where they slowly caramelize in the oven.  They take on those fantastic roasted notes, and become oh-so tender.  But there’s more.  This meal has another layer of flavor due to a superb caper vinaigrette.  To be honest, I was a little hesitant to add the dressing at first.  Capers– though I love them– can really overpower a dish.  Adding their salty, briny character struck me a bit odd.  Much to my surprise, the result was brilliant.  The maple syrup accentuates the sweetness of the vegetables.  The Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil meld to create a beautiful canvas for the punch of those potent little capers.  Rather than compete to overpower your taste buds, the flavors end up nicely balanced, each taking its turn.  They complement each other perfectly, and once you taste these vegetables, you won’t roast them any other way.

For the vegetables, most any combination of your favorite root variety will work here.  Some will need longer roasting times, so adjust accordingly.  When choosing parsnips, try to choose medium sized ones.  If you can only find large ones, just make sure to quarter them and cut away the woody center.  This dish would be wonderful paired with a roasted chicken or a braised pork shoulder.  Or make them on their own.  Just be sure to share.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette

(Serves 4)

4 medium parsnips

4 medium red onions

2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled

2 -3 medium purple carrots (regular can be substituted)

2/3 cup olive oil, divided

4 thyme sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

2 rosemary sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons small capers

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Peel the parsnips.  Cut the carrots and parsnips into halves and then into 2-3-inch segments.  Peels the onions and cut each into 6 wedges.

Place the parsnips, carrots, and onions on a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper.  Spread out evenly and roast for 20 minutes.

Prepare the sweet potatoes by cutting their ends off.  Then cut them into halves. Then each half into six wedges.  Add the potatoes to the dish of vegetables, toss, and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, or so.

When the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, toss in the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, capers,  1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as they are removed from the oven.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty Cookbook

For more healthy fare inspiration, take a look at these other ideas via womenshealthmag.com   —  Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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Borscht

While growing up, I recall my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles always talking about how much they loved Borscht.  As a child, I had to disagree.  They couldn’t be talking about that deep-red vegetable soup that I sat at the table and stared at, hoping it would somehow disappear so I could go play, could they?  I’d like to believe I wasn’t too keen on Borscht because of the not-so-wonderful sounding name, though no doubt my palatte has simply changed.  I get what my family was talking about.  Now I make this soup all of the time.  Take one look at that beautiful color, and then a spoonful of those lovely vegetables and comforting broth, and you’ll see why.

Beets– probably the most vibrant vegetable around.  I love their slightly-sweet flavor, and eat them both roasted and raw.  They are the foundation of this soup, along with a nice selection of other fresh vegetables.  I like to add as wide a variety of vegetables as possible– in particular root vegetables– but if you don’t have exactly what I used, don’t worry.  Like any good soup, this one is forgiving and you should be able to find a substitute.  I used fresh tomatoes because I had them on hand.  I also used the last of my homemade tomato juice.  When I don’t have fresh tomatoes in winter, I rely on my homemade crushed canned tomatoes– about 2 cups.  If you use canned crushed tomatoes, be sure to make the appropriate adjustments to the amount of liquid you add.  In other words, you may not need as much water.

Speaking of the broth, this is generally the only soup that I make using just water.  In this soup the ingredients are so numerous and fresh that they provide that additional flavor that you generally get from vegetable broth.  If you want a little more taste, you can add a ham shank or ham juice– like my Mother does.  Both wonderful additions.  The two ingredients where you won’t want to vary from the recipe are the fresh dill and addition of vinegar.  Both are keys to making this soup complete.  So how do you add fresh dill in early January when you want to linger over a bowl of Borscht?  Thankfully, dill freezes very well.  Stick it in a freezer storage bag and it’ll last for months.

So why am I writing about a warm soup in late August?  Good question.  The last two weeks have seen crisp air at night here in Minnesota.  I bought apples at the farmers’ market this weekend.  And right now my house smells of cinnamon, as my husband is bottling a batch of his home-brewed Autumn Spice Ale.  It has seemed like an unusually short summer– and though it going to be hard to let it go, I think I’m getting ready for Fall.  This soup was a test and I think it feels right.

The Recipe:  Borscht

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

4 tomatoes, diced

4 beets, peeled and diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

3 parsnips, peeled and diced

1 turnip, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped

1/2 head small cabbage, chopped

1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4  teaspoon cracked black pepper

6 cups water

1 cup tomato juice

In a large heavy-bottomed kettle, such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onion, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnip, and tomatoes along with the kosher salt and black pepper.  Saute until the vegetables start to soften, 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the cabbage and allow to wilt a bit, another 3-4 minutes.  Add the water, tomato juice, bay leaf and vinegar.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Allow to simmer until the vegetables are tender, 30-45 minutes, depending upon how high the heat is.  Stir in the fresh dill.  Make seasoning adjustments if necessary.   Serve with a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Thanks again for stopping by Relishing It!  Have a great day.

Laurie

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