Sunday Comics: #56 Easter Chocolate

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I know this has been around for a long time, but it still makes me laugh…every.single.time.

Happy Easter! -xoxo-

easter chocolate

Btw, if you’re looking to up your Easter chocolate game, check out this recipe the BFF found on FB for Drunken Bunnies from delish.com  you’re welcome.  I meant, enjoy*!!

 

*totally meant you’re welcome

Soup, Glorious Soup!

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I love soup.  I know I’ve mentioned this before–like every January, but January seems to be a good time for soup.  At least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Of course, I’m one of those weird-can-eat-soup-any-day-of-the-year people so I don’t necessarily need cold weather to indulge, just a spoon.  This is very handy when one is experiencing an unseasonably warm “winter” in NYC and one loves soup so much.

The other day I had some amazing wonton soup from Ginger’s in Midtown (for anyone in, around or visiting NYC).  It was so delicious.  The broth was seasoned perfectly and adorned not only with wontons so fresh they were practically falling apart, but also spinach which added an extra layer of goodness.  The irony of it all, is that I rarely get wonton soup–I almost always get egg drop but on a whim I went with the wonton and here I am at 7:30am wondering what time Ginger’s opens and if I can work it into today’s schedule.  Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes as to how good this soup is, nothing but tasting it will!

It did remind me that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about soup.  In looking back at some older posts, I realized that I owe you an up date on my Kaliflower Soup, which I am determined to get juuuuuust right and I think I may have finally solved the “too much” kale debacle (hint: baby kale!).  There is another soup from a health store on the Upper East Side that I’d also like to try my hand at: it’s a veggie soup with yellow lentils, so it has a creamy rather than brothy base that accompanies most veggie soups.  The result is an extra-hearty veggie soup that could easily be a meal all on its own!  I also promised April an actual Roasted Asparagus soup recipe other than Jaime’s vague instructions…

I guess I need to get cooking!

But before I go, I thought I’d leave you with some links to earlier soup posts, in case you’re in the mood to do a bit of cooking on your own and needed some inspiration (and before you argue, stew is a soup and who cares what you call it, it has Guinness so just try not to shovel it in too fast and burn your mouth!):

Bon appetito!

shiner soup

Put A Stick In It!

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Pretty much since the arrival of Lucille and the discovery that–with the right accessories–she could make ice cream, I have wanted an ice cream maker.  Not necessarily that ice cream maker (I’m open to seeing other ice cream makers), but I do love making ice cream…in part because I love eating ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, and in larger part because it brings back great memories of sitting on Grandpa & Granny’s porch watching Grandpa crank the ice cream maker, waiting eagerly for him to sneak us a spoonful before Granny would put it in the freezer.  I also have heard that right now Aldi in the Twin Cities has a great deal on a 2qt ice cream maker…you know, just in case you live, work, or are traveling through the Twin Cities and decide that your Minnesota souvenir of choice can also be an integral part of your kitchen.

But this isn’t a post about ice cream.  This is a post about a well-loved cousin to ice cream: the popsicle.  A more portable version, easier to make, already-portioned-out-so-you-don’t-eat-the-entire-2quarts-in-one-sitting summer staple.  What started this mild obsession?  Well, awhile back, I saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Pops from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food and realized that not only did I have all the ingredients on hand, but that this might be the answer for my yearning for an ice cream maker.  I accepted this as fate–and the sign of a genius plan!–when the other day I was out and about and found a popsicle mold for only $4.  Done and done!

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While waiting for them to freeze, I did what anyone would do: I got on Pinterest to look for more recipes.  Actually, I also blame the Fudge Bars from Whole Foods temporarily residing in my freezer because, well, it would also be AWESOME to have fudge bars without going to the store!

So when you type ‘popsicle’ (why limit yourself to just fudge?) into the search box of Pinterest you get about 3 days worth of pins. I found a wide variety of recipes for fudge popsicles (hellllllooooo, Nutella pops!), complicated fancy ones that look pretty and sound amazing, but fall into the Too Hard Basket (such as blackberry ombre popsicles or coconut/salted caramel/chocolate with almonds–but if you decide to make these, personally I think it should be pistachios), über-easy/healthy ones (aka put fruit in a mold and fill with coconut water), and my new favorite: the adult beverage ones.  WHAT THE WHAT?  This is just further proof this really was a genius plan!

It started with this Peaches & Cream recipe from Tutti Dolce (who seems to be a connoisseur of popsicles, as several of my popsicle pins are from Laura!). I clicked on this one because it’s summer and I almost always have peaches on hand.  In reading through the recipe, this caught my eye:

1 1/2 Tbsp crème de pêche (peach liqueur)

Liqueur?  Oh yes, please, and thankyouverymuch!

So then (and this is how Pinterest sucks you in), I start actively searching for adult popsicle recipes and realize that there are a lot of lushes kindred spirits (pun intended!) out there!  Sangria, Bourbon, Tequila, Prosecco…I’m quite certain you’d be hard pressed to find something without [insert your favorite adult beverage here].

I then did what any pinner would do: I created a board.  Not just for the adult popsicles, although I do appreciate your faith in me that I would could do that.  I even included a few of the Too Hard Basket ones, mainly because they are pretty and maybe complicated popsicles are your thing.  I mean, I don’t judge.  Who knows…perhaps–if given the appropriate amount of champers–I might be prompted to try one of them….until giving up in a huff and just sitting on the couch, drowning my sorrows in another bottle of champers while waiting for the easy adult popsicles to freeze.  What?  It’s the most likely scenario.

But back to popsicles….inquiring minds want to know: what’s your favorite?


 
Happy summering!

PS–if you’re interested, here’s my Put A Stick In It Pinterest Board.  If you already follow me on Pinterest, you’re welcome for the plethora of popsicle recipes in your feed 😉 And, of course, I’m always looking for more great recipes if you wanna share your favorite popsicle recipe!

Peachy Keen!

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I love scones.  Probably the best scone that I’ve ever eaten was a bacon, cheddar, & chive scone.  I mean, c’mon–it is bacon and cheese!  But that’s not why we’re here today.

Peaches.  Peaches are why we’re here today.  We are (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) smack dab in the middle of peach season!  To me, peaches are–along with watermelon–are the very embodiment of summer.  So when I found the recipe below on Pinterest, I just knew I had to try it immediately.

They were, in a word, scrumptious.  As per usual in my house, I substituted plain greek yogurt for sour cream and used half & half instead of heavy cream.

Oh and in case peaches aren’t your thing (Sissy, I’m talking to you!), I’ve also tried them with cherries instead and they are equally amazing.

I only ask you do yourself a favor: just make a double batch!

A huge THANKS! to Michelle at A Latte Food for sharing this wonderful recipe!

bon appétit!

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Peach Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Peach Pie Scones with a Vanilla Glaze
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Scones
Ingredients
Scones
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh peaches, diced
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Scones
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Stir in the peaches, and mix until just combined.
  • On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that’s about a 1/2″ thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a bit of heavy cream.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Glaze

  • Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp of heavy cream. If the glaze is too thick, continue adding in heavy cream, one 1 Tbsp at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency. Pour over warm scones and enjoy!

http://www.alattefood.com/peach-pie-scones-with-a-vanilla-glaze/

The Incredible, Edible [Deviled] Egg!

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I love deviled eggs.  I could literally make myself sick eating them.  I’m quite certain that at least once [or ten times] in the last 4 decades, I have.  I don’t think I’ve met a deviled egg that I haven’t liked.  My aunt’s are probably my favorite [I’ll let them duke it out as to which Aunt holds the Deviled Egg title].  I asked for her recipe once and I got: “oh you know, it’s a little of this and a little of that.”  Great.  That was very helpful, thankyouverymuch.  So I did what I always do when I’m a bit stymied in the kitchen.  I fetch Granny’s or Ome’s recipe book–in this case, it was Granny’s–and then immediately kicked up the heat, as I think the creaminess of the egg lends itself to a bit of bite.

There are two things I have learned over the years.  First, I only make them in small batches, so that if I decide to eat them all in one sitting a couple of days, it’s not such a gastroenteritis nightmare.  Secondly, I start with a small amount of each ingredient I add.  You can always add more but there is nothing worse than adding too much mustard and having mushy, runny deviled eggs.

As such, it turns out to be exactly like my Aunt said:  it’s a little of this and a little of that.

So when it is a certain holiday and you find yourself staring at a colorful bowl of hard boiled eggs and wondering what to do with them, it is THE perfect time to do a bit of experimenting on your deviled egg recipe.  If you didn’t want to experiment on your own but wanted something different, try one of these recipes.  I tend to be a [somewhat] traditionalist and keep my recipe pretty basic.

Hard boil the eggs, cool them, peel them, cut them in half, scoop out the yolks, set the egg whites aside, and smash the yolks all together.  To that you are going to add:

  • mayo
  • sweet relish
  • a dash of vinegar (for just a bit of tang–of all the ingredients, this is the one you want to use the most sparingly!)
  • salt & pepper
  • mustard**
  • paprika or chipotle powder for garnish

**the mustard is how I decide what type of kick my deviled eggs will have.  EITHER I use [pardon me, do you have any…] dijon mustard for a spicy flavor OR I use yellow mustard and add chipotle seasoning powder into the mix for a  smokey-spicy kick.

I like to start out with a tablespoon or so of each ingredient [except vinegar–use about 1 tsp max per dozen eggs].  I alternate the mayo, mustard, and relish until the filling has a creamy, but not runny texture.  Add the seasonings. Do a bit of quality control tasting and once the filling is to your liking, refill the yolk indention of the egg white.  Lightly sprinkle paprika or chipotle powder on top for a bit of garnish.

TA-DA!  Yes, it’s that easy.  I’m telling you, the hardest part is not eating them all in one sitting sharing.   Bon appetite!

The Mother Sauces

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No, these aren’t your mother’s sauces–these are THE Mother Sauces.  I mean, your mother may in fact make them, but maybe not.  Anyway lately they’ve been everywhere in my life.  Except in my kitchen–ain’t nobody got time for that!

For those of you who don’t study French cuisine, they are the five sauces upon which all other sauces are made.

  • Béchamel
  • Velouté
  • Espagnole
  • Sauce Tomat
  • Hollandaise

And if you want a bit of THE Mother Sauces trivia, Hollandaise wasn’t added to THE Mother Sauce line-up until the turn of the 20th century.

So why am I bringing up THE Mother Sauces? They’ve just been on my brain a lot lately.  Mainly because of April, who is in culinary school and recently learned how to make and spice up THE Mother Sauces (although she says that the Sauce Tomat is so flavorful, you can just eat it as is), so I’ve been drooling with every descriptive email that she’s sent.

And then last week, I watched The Hundred-Foot Journey.  Have you seen it?  If so, you know why I’m mentioning it in a post about THE Mother Sauces.  If not, then add it to your Netflix queue.

Anyway, I finally gave in and made some béchamel sauce last night….with a twist.  That twist would be cilantro.  And parmesan, although I think that parm is probably a frequent additive to béchamel–so we’ll just stick with the cilantro twist (April and Becca, stop making those nasty faces: cilantro is delicious!!).

First, start with a simple béchamel sauce.  I like to use Giada’s because it’s uber-easy!

Cilantro-Parmesan Béchamel

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup  flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warm
  • ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 pinch fresh ground white pepper (to taste)–honestly, I usually just use black pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated (to taste)

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the bechamel sauce to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch each of white pepper and nutmeg. Season the sauce with more salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Okay, that’s Giada’s part.  Then to that I add 1 cup of Parmesan and ½ cup of finely chopped cilantro–okay, I use more like a cup of cilantro–but it’s your béchamel, use however much you want.  Same goes for the parmesan.  Stir until cheese is melted and cilantro is thoroughly mixed in.  Add to your favorite pasta and make your taste buds happy, happy, happy!

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Cooking with Wine (Thirsty Thursday #6)

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I cook with wine…sometimes I even add it to the food. ~W.C. Fields

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This French Chardonnay-Sauvignon blend was a delicious pairing for my Mushroom & Corn Risotto (and a bargain–Cheap Wine Curious, I know you’d be so proud!). It had a light, crisp mouthfeel with a big apple taste and a delicate grapefruit finish–perfect alongside the creamy richness of the risotto. Add roasted chicken and asparagus, and I was a happy, happy girl!

Easy as ABC…

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Now that you have The Jackson Five playing background music in your head, I have a confession.  You know those silly/annoying emails that circulate every couple of years in which you answer questions about yourself?  Yeah, I’m one of those annoying people who not only fills them out, but sends them to nearly everyone in my email address book.  I’m a details kinda girl and I love collecting tidbits of information about people.  Who knows what you might learn about your friend that you’ve had since the 2nd grade or some great blackmail information on the annoying coworker 4 desks down?

A couple of months ago I saw a getting to know you post in the format below.  It’s been a long time since I filled one out (probably because everyone on my email list has a secret pact with each other to NEVER EVER send me another!).  Aaaaand it is different than any other that I’ve seen, so I thought I’d give it a go!

How is it different?  Why, thank you for asking: rather than answer questions, you simply list (although WARNING: I never list–I always have to explain!) 26 interesting things about you, each item starting with a letter in the alphabet.  While I’m horrible at explaining, I know that you’re brilliant and by the time you get to “A,” you’ll have it figured out!

One last thing before I begin: individuals did not make this list.  So if you are just reading this in search of your name stop right now and go back to work, uh, I meant lunch.  Don’t pout–invariably I’d leave someone out and then I have to endure years of guilt trips.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  And honestly, how am I supposed to pick between Bubba and beer?  Although, actually that’s rather easy because I’m 250% sure that Bubba (aka my brother) would agree it should be beer.

Now, back to the task at hand.

The ABCs of Shez:

A is for Addy, my darling pupcicle (you know, in case you weren’t aware that I had a darling pupcicle whom I adore!)…and before you call me out on it, yes, I broke the “No Individuals” rule, but it’s the ONLY time I promise.

B is for Beer…mmmmmm….beer (I hope you heard that in a Homer Simpson voice!).  I don’t think that needs further explanation.  Plus you should have seen it coming.

C is for coffee.  Again, no further explanation is needed, especially those who have had the “pleasure” of seeing me in the morning before coffee–it ain’t purty!

D is for dogs.  Pupcicles are special because they bring so much love and joy into our lives–in so many ways.  Of course, it ain’t all sunshine and roses, particularly when you live in NYC and have to pick up poop for a very large dog.  But they make our lives whole with their amusing antics and unconditional love.  PS–if you’re wondering how much I love dogs, I picked them over dessert!  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

E is for Eso se que es, which literally translated is confusing so I like to go with the loose translation of “it is what it is” and whenever I say it, people look at me like “did you just say socks in the middle of my rant?”  No, but yes.  Anyway, it is a reminder that life is bigger than all of us and that any time you think everything is perfectly mapped out, the Fates will take the opportunity to intervene so they can laugh at you.  Thus to keep sane, I like to remind myself of three things: eso se que es, que sera sera, and Lord give me coffee to help me change the things I can, and wine to help accept the things I can’t.

F is for FOOTBALL!

G is for Grace.  By that, I don’t mean elegance or beauty or charm.  Did I mention I was clumsy?  Well, I am.  I come by it honestly (right Auntie K??).  As such, my Ome would always call me Miss Grace (as in, I am anything but).  To this day whenever I hear the word grace, I think of my Ome.

H is for Hamburgers.  Preferably ones with cheese and bacon and avocado and served with onion rings….but any ol’ burger with cheese will do! 😉

I is for Ice cream.  And anyone who doesn’t think it should be on EVERYONE’S list is just wrong.

J is for Jigsaw puzzles.  I love to put them together–although I haven’t put one together in a long time.  Why?  Well, whenever I find one that I love and makes me want to set up a card table and put it together, I remember that I live in a house with Princess Adelaide Grace, who is so named because like me, she is anything BUT graceful…

K is for Kaas (Dutch for cheese).  I couldn’t leave cheese off the list, thankfully the Dutch helped me out a bit.  And before you accuse me of using Google Translate to find a language where cheese started with a different letter than C, I will have you know that I was a Rotary Exchange Student to The Netherlands.  How does this relate to cheese?  I used to live about 6 miles from Gouda and would go on Thursdays to the cheese market…because…how can you go wrong with a cheese market???

L is for Laughter, because it truly is the best medicine–unless you have TB or malaria or something like that, then I would highly recommend medication.

M is for Molasses cookies, my favoritest cookies in the world!

N is for Nelson, as in Willie (and Waylon and the boys).

O is for Oven–I love baking and roasting and I can go without a lot of things, but an oven ain’t one of them!

P is for Peckish.  For most people, it means slight hungry.  But I’m never slightly hungry, so when you hear me say peckish know that it means “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider, but I don’t want you to think me gluttonous, so I’m going to just pretend that I’m kinda hungry and then either eat all of the snacks you foolishly set out or go back for seconds and thirds when we do eat.”

Q is for quixotic, which is just fun to say…quixotic, quixotic, quixotic!

R is for reading and don’t ask me to pick a favorite book.  I’m still trying to narrow my list down to 10 so I can post it on FB (and we’ll just pretend I wasn’t tagged to do it a month ago…sorry Becca!)

S is for Shiner…and failing that, Stella (and don’t tell me it’s cheating because I’ve already listed beer…it’s MY list!)

T is for Tolkien.  You thought it would be TEXAS! didn’t you?  I just wanted to share a line in a poem in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, which completely sums up my life:  All those who wander are not lost.  I do hope, though, that you appreciate that I was still able to work TEXAS! into the T slot 😉

U is for umbrellas.  I totally have Mary Poppins to thank for my love of umbrellas.  Ironically, I hate using them in NYC.  People here are oblivious when using them and tend to poke other people in the head, repeatedly until I feel an urge to grab the umbrella out of their hands and give them a good smack with it.  I refrain, of course, but I know that I’m one huge rainstorm away from needing bail money.

V is for vino.  What?  It’s a word.  It is in my house….and that’s all that matters.

W is for wanderlust.  The reason wine is called vino in this list.  Traveling is truly my passion.  Even more so than eating and drinking.  Luckily, I consider imbibing in the local food and drink an integral part of traveling!  I was bit by the wanderlust bug when I went to The Netherlands (see K is for Kaas) right after high school–and I have no plans to stop any time soon and “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.”

X is for Xi, which is one of my favorite words to play in Words with Friends.

Y is for Yoga, something I’ve recently started doing.  Who knew stretching and finding on your inner zen could be so draining?  Please don’t write in and tell me yoga is more than stretching and finding your inner zen.  I know it is, but when you’re watching others it looks so relaxing and graceful.  I’m here to tell you for me it is neither relaxing nor graceful, but I do enjoy blundering through class–even if I look like a bull in a china shop.

Z is for zazzy.  And yes, you have to say it like Sheldon.  And if you need further explanation, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore (if you’re worried about it, I can totally be bought with wine, beer, and cheese….but not crappy cheese–if you’re trying to bribe me, it had better be aaaaaaa-mazing cheese!).

And that’s me in a nutshell!

For the record, this was a lot more tedious than I thought it would be, so not as easy as the Jackson Five would have you believe!

Thanks for indulging me!

hey mom are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

hey momma are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

 

Birthdays Galore!

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Yesterday started my birthday week. By that, I don’t mean it’s the week of my birthday, but rather: starting yesterday, I have at least one birthday a day until the end of the month (and yes, I know it’s technically 8 days, but channel your inner Beatles and work with me here people!). The only day in this week missing a birthday is the 29th. Anyone out there with a birthday on the 29th? My OCD is wanting the day to be allotted to a birthday! Of course, I have 2 birthdays the day before and 2 birthdays the day after, so I don’t reeeeeeeeally neeeed another birthday…

What birthday week has reminded me is that I’ve been slacking in the post dept! Remember last year’s birthday week? It was a bit crazy–fun, mind you–but crazy. Here they are again, if you wanna relive the magic! Hopefully they are properly linked to magically take you to the original post when you click on it. If not, yell at the technician (that’s me, btw, but alas I’m currently not taking complaints!).

Come To The Dark Side…
The Ruff Life of a Beach Dog
A Toast to Vegemite
Serefe, Coffee
The National Beer of Texas
Yo Quiero Tequila
Wicked Fun
An Apple a Day
Lions and Bears and Hiking...

I think birthdays are special–they are the one day a year that’s all about celebrating you. Unless, of course, you are Desire’, who also celebrates her half birthday. Her birthday is in February. February, in case you are unaware, is NOT conducive to sitting outside in NYC, drinking margaritas, eating Mexican food, and not getting frostbite–so we celebrate her birthday in August, when we can do all those things sans the frostbite!

Regardless of when you celebrate, do it in style: like we’ve done in the pic below! It is the pie we ordered for my boss’s birthday: sour cream and apple–The Little Pie Company’s best seller! And for good reason: while it sounds slightly weird, the flavors all meld beautifully together for a heavenly slice of pie…especially when enjoyed a la mode 🙂

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The Great Squash Debate

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A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from Aunt Kathy that read:

OMG, been eating squash for only a week and already tired of it!  Anybody have recipe suggestions?

nothing says delicious like fresh veggies from the garden!

nothing says delicious like fresh veggies from Aunt Kathy’s garden!

Of course, since this was a group text the rest of the evening was spent with my cousin (who lives in IL) and I trying to convince our aunt to ship us some of the delicious veggies from her plentiful garden.  Additionally, everyone was swapping the various ways that we all love to eat our squash, each of us trying to out-recipe the other.  In my humble opinion, Aunt Kathy won that challenge with her suggestion of deep frying them, then topping them with parmesan cheese and serving with a blue cheese dipping sauce.  BTW, if you’re not drooling at this, then you are definitely NOT from Texas or any sort of Southern state.  OR you’re crazy.  Because that’s just delicious!

Still, I can see where it would get old.  Mainly in the prep work.  Proper deep frying is tedious.  And hot.  And slightly dangerous.

That’s why these days, I prefer roasting. Please note: while I love to eat fried foods, I was never a deep frying kinda girl because, well, it is tedious and hot and slightly dangerous!  I will, quite literally, roast almost any type of vegetable. Why?  Because it’s tasty and easy and tasty, but most of all easy.  If you think that you don’t like a particular veggie or are wanting to branch out in your veggie consumption, I would highly recommend roasting as it helps make all veggies (except perhaps celery) taste better.  I completely give my friend Ann all of the credit because prior to living with Ann, I pretty much stuck to roasting meat and a few veggies to put in soups.  Why?  Not sure.  It seems rather silly and small minded now that I think about it.  But I have amended my roasting ways and now I consider myself a bit of a roasting aficionado (self-proclaimed, of course!).

I like to roast my veggies at 400F (about 200C)–it’s hot enough to give them that crispy crunch without worrying about burning them…unless you completely forget you’re roasting something and the smoke detector reminds you.  Not that I’ve ever done that, of course…ha ha ha…ahem.

Then you just wash and chop some veggies, coat them generously with olive oil, add some seasoning and bake for about 40 minutes.  Viola!  Deliciously sweet and crisp veggies with no fuss and lots of flavor!  A word of advice: the more hearty the veggie is, the longer the cooking time, which you only really need to think about when mixing your roasted veggies, like in the recipe below, or if you want to serve roasted potatoes and are trying to time your meal prep so that dinner is served at one time. Speaking of, potatoes are also in the recipe below, which I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetables from an Italian Garden.  Of course, as per me, I immediately tweaked it (what? It needed more garlic!)!  

Roasted Zucchini, Potatoes, and Tomatoes (or if you wanna be uber-fancy: Zucchine, Patate E Pomodori Al Forno):

  • 4 potatoes cut into chunks
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 zucchinis cut into chunks
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a bowl, add potatoes, half of the rosemary (don’t measure–just eyeball it!), a bit of salt & pepper and drizzle olive oil on top.  Lightly toss together until potatoes are covered with olive oil.  Put in a baking dish (which, in theory, you would have gotten out of the cupboard before you got your hands all olive oily!), put into the oven and roast for 40 minutes.  While the potatoes are happily hanging out in the oven, put the onions, zucchini, and tomatoes into your bowl.  Add the remaining rosemary, a bit more salt & pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Again, toss together until everything is well coated in olive oil and spices.  Cut off the top of the head of garlic and sprinkle with a dash of salt & pepper.  After about 40 minutes, pull the potatoes out of the oven.  To the potatoes, add the onion, zucchini, tomato mixture and then make a place for garlic head to sit on the bottom of the pan, cut side up.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil inside the garlic and then pop the dish back in the oven (which hopefully you did not turn off!).  Roast for another 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and slightly charred (be warned–less hearty veggies like tomatoes easily turn to mush–so keep an eye on them!).  Once you’ve removed the pan from the oven, CAREFULLY remove head of garlic and with a small fork in one hand and towel/hot pad/tongs holding the head of garlic in your other hand remove the cloves from the casings.  Mix the garlic back in with the veggies and dig in!

Of course, you can use any veggie medley you’d like (squash perhaps?).  And if you have an aversion to rosemary *cough* April *cough* then you could substitute another aromatic herb, like thyme, or just stick with good ol’ salt & pepper.

And before you complain about the hour baking time–just know it gives you plenty of time to quality control the wine you want to serve with it, like a nice Viognier, Vouvray, or even a buttery Chardonnay!

Buon appetito!