It’s so funny to think about how recipe-obsessed I was when I started cooking. I mean, seriously, if a recipe called for a teaspoon of salt, I’d practically count the granules. Now I rarely cook with a recipe and it’s hard for me to imagine following a recipe to the letter. Which is why getting that box of CSA vegetables every week is so fun; it’s a chance for me to flex my non-recipe following muscles in the kitchen. And so it was that I had an acorn squash (I’m pretty sure it was an acorn squash) and some Brussels sprouts. My plan: to roast ’em like a rock star.
How does a rock star roast acorn squash? Well, I cut it into wedges and then tossed those wedges with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper; and placed a stem of rosemary on top. Oh and I cranked the oven up to 425:
Once that was all mushed together with my hands, I put it straight into the hot oven and then let that cook for a while, flipping when the bottoms were brown, and continued to cook until everything was caramelized and golden and a knife went through easily.
Meanwhile, the Brussels sprouts got cut in half, went on to a different cookie sheet, tossed with olive oil and salt and some slivered garlic and then roasted on a different shelf. When they were golden brown, I took ’em out and sprinkled with lots of salt and drizzled with lots of lemon juice.
That’s how I made that plate you see at the top of this post and it was dyn-o-mite.
But we’re not done roasting. I took beets to the next level, recently, by saving the greens the way everyone’s always telling you to save the greens (I never do) and using them in the finished dish. So the beets got drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, wrapped in aluminum foil and roasted on a cookie sheet lined with foil at 425 for about 45 minutes or so until a knife went through easily. Then the packets get unwrapped and when the beets were cool, I rubbed them with paper towels to get the skins off.
Here’s where things got extra nifty: I washed the beet greens, which I hadn’t thrown away (see above), and then sliced them a bit. In a non-stick skillet, I poured a glug of olive oil and added 2 cloves of slivered garlic. Then I cranked up the heat and when the garlic was golden, I added the beet greens–which sizzled–and a sprinkling of salt and a poor of water. Then stirred around and let the beet greens cook down.
Meanwhile, I cubed the beets themselves and then, when the beet greens tasted wonderful, stirred the cubed beets into the mix. To plate, I spooned Greek yogurt on to plates and topped with the beet/beet green mixture:
Tell me you don’t want to eat that!
It was wonderful.
So I guess this post is about becoming your own person, in the kitchen, by roasting vegetables to your liking? Or it’s about one man’s journey from fearful recipe following to fearless recipe developing? Or maybe it’s really a metaphor for socialism in the early 20th century?
However you interpret it, I hope it made you hungry.