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Recipes for roasted vampires. April 12, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Yowie zowie! As a from-scratch, intuitive cook, I usually think I’m up for almost any challenge (Iron Chef, are you reading this?!), but even I was rather disturbed to see this search phrase appear on our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, this afternoon. I was on the verge of contacting Hannibal Lecter for advice when my vision cleared and I saw that someone was actually looking for recipes for roasted vegetables. Whew!

Okay, roasted vegetables. That’s so easy. Here are some foolproof tricks for creating great roasted vegetables, as a warming side dish or a main dish with a big, hearty salad and maybe some hot-from-the-oven bread or cornbread. Let’s take it from the top:

Start with a big ovenproof rectangular Pyrex or other lasagna-sized glass baking dish. Oil it well, preferably with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Getting back to the dish, add:

* Sliced or diced potatoes. We like any combination of ‘Yukon Gold’, redskinned potatoes, sweet potatoes, and baking potatoes for color and flavor. No, you don’t have to peel them, just scrub them really well.

* Carrots. Sliced carrots—orange, red, purple, yellow—add sweetness and depth to a dish of roasted veggies. 

* Sweet onions. Sliced or diced sweet onions—‘Vidalia’, ‘WallaWalla’, or ‘Candy’ types—add richness and depth to a dish of roasted veggies. 

* Garlic cloves. Gotta address that vampire thing, right? Roasted garlic cloves turn sweet, so they make a great addition to a medley of roasted veggies, or take them out, mash them and serve them on that bread you’re making as a side.

* Fennel, asparagus, artichokes. We love chopped fennel root, with its anise flavor, in a roasted veggie medley. Inch-long cuts of green or blanched white asparagus are simply delicious roasted, too. As are artichoke hearts or bottoms. Yum, so rich and fabulous!

* Beets and Brussels sprouts. Here’s where the “Eeeew, I HATE [fill in the veggie]” comes in. You can add cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, or anything else here. We absolutely love quartered red and golden beets pretty much any way, but especially when they’re roasted. And believe it or not, even if you think of Brussels sprouts as being miserable, bitter vegetables, halved roasted Brussels sprouts are sweet and succulent. You wouldn’t believe how many “Brussels sprouts-hating” friends and family have greedily gobbled them down in our roasted veggie medleys and been none the wiser. “More, please!”

* Extras. Corn kernels, panko (or croutons), wax or green beans, ramen noodles, diced red bell peppers, sliced or small whole mushrooms, shredded cheese. Anything you like goes when it comes to roasted veggies. Be brave, it’s going to be so good! 

* Herbs and spicing. Here’s where you can really go to town. Roasted veggies can really hold their own when it comes to herbs and spices; it’s almost impossible to add too much. So go on, dump ’em on! Fresh rosemary is a special favorite. Ditto tons of shredded fresh basil leaves. If you have them, fresh thyme, chives, sage, chopped scallions, oregano, and just a touch of marjoram. Or a dried mix of any or all of the above applied with a liberal hand. Feel free to experiment, too: These veggies tend to be able to stand up to assertive spices. Try curry powder, minced ginger root, and garam masala. But whatever you add, we suggest adding salt—Real Salt is our favorite, or Kosher salt, sea salt, or a salt/herb mix like Herbamare or Trocamare.

*Final touches. Once you’ve added your herbs and spices, it’s time to coat the whole dish with a thin layer of olive oil and butter. Then cover it with aluminum foil, bake for an hour at 350 degrees F., and uncover for the last few minutes of cooking until it’s tender and caramelized. Oops, too many folks dropping by for dinner? Quick, make a pot of pasta or rice and serve the roasted veggies over the top with a big salad and/or side veggie like green beans, snow peas, snap peas, spinach, or broccoli. Yum! 

Good?! Oh, yeah. Next time a vampire visits you, offer them this roasted veggie dish and watch them lose interest in sucking your blood. What, no vampires in your area?! Gee, guess you’ll just have to enjoy this delicious roasted vegetable medley all by yourselves. Awwww.

             ‘Til next time,




1. islandgardener - April 12, 2009

I cook exactly the same way — intuitively. But, because so, it’s hard to replicate from time to time. I need to get better about trying to standardize some of what I cook!

So true! I have to really, really focus on what I’m doing or I’ll never make the same dish twice!

2. Daphne Gould - April 13, 2009

I’m glad you found out that it was roasted vegetables. I always thought vampires turned to dust when roasted, so they don’t sounds so appetizing. Then again I really do hate beets and they drip disturbing blood so I’ll pass on those too.

Ha! Oh, dear. Beets do seem to be one of those “love it or hate it” vegetables, don’t they, Daphne? At least the gold ones don’t bleed!

3. Victoria - April 13, 2009

We absolutely love roasted veggies. We always add parsnips.

Oops, did I forget parsnips? I meant to add them with the beets and Brussels sprouts. We’ve actually never tasted them. But I promise to get some and add them next time I’m at the store!

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