Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

With yesterday being the first day of Spring, I have high hopes for this cold dreary weather to turn itself into something resembling spring pretty darn quick.  I’m ready for “peep-toe” shoes, cut-offs, short sleeves and blazer jackets.  I’m also longing for some springtime foods, like strawberries, something lemon, rhubarb, grilled chicken and some different vegetables.  I’m dreaming of sunny days, flowers poking up thru debris in the garden, buds on the trees and getting my hands dirty in the dirt–not!!

So I jotted down some things on my foods “to-make” list. Things like lemon meringue pie, baked ham with scalloped potatoes, fresh peas, cupcakes with coconut on them……etc.   Then I made this instead.  I’m sure you understand.  Before you take that dive into forbidden territory, you must fortify yourself, get your system ready for what lies ahead.  So I put all my notes into a “Spring is not here yet, but it’s coming” file, and turned to what is available at hand now.

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What I had on hand was golden beets and sweet potatoes.  Similar colors, different textures and taste, but both are root vegetables.  So I decided to treat them both the same way.   Anyone who knows anything knows that roasting is the way to go when you want to bring out the natural sweetness in vegetables because their natural sugars get caramelized.  Beets and sweet potatoes are  both loaded with natural sugars, and Gwyneth Paltrow suggested that a light drizzle with good olive oil and some spicy seasonings would turn these vegetables into a dinnertime sensation.   You know what?   She was right!

SPICY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

Yield:    Serves 4IMG_6837

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch golden beets, (about 3 med-large size), peeled and cut into wedges.
  • 1 large, or 2 medium sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into wedges or sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, either sweet or smoky
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt).

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Isn't this an interesting pattern in the beet?

Isn’t this an interesting pattern in the beet?

Add cut up beets and sweet potatoes.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Toss lightly to coat evenly with the spices and oil.  Spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.

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I kept the two kinds of veggies separate on the baking sheet and also on my serving platter, just for appearance sake.

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3.  Roast for 30 minutes, or until they pierce easily with a knife.   Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve warm.

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More thoughts on the subject:   this is a good spice mixture to have in a little jar ready for use whenever you have root vegetables to cook.  Mix up the combination of veggies.  Think of turnip, parsnips, carrots—I think any of them would be good cooked this way.

SOURCE:    my own imagination

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Dressed to Impress

During this most recent bout of super-warm weather I’ve been trying to come up with meals that are cool and refreshing to eat, and don’t require the generation of more heat in my kitchen. The end result has been a variety of salad plates that incorporate greens, raw or cooked vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, bits of cooked meats like ham, chicken, or steak and cheeses. More and more often I’m including fruit in my salad plates, and also in my side salads.

The dressing you use on a salad should compliment each of the ingredients, and turn the various parts into a cohesive whole. When fruit is part of the mix, I think the dressing should be a little on the sweet side. I’m not quoting any rules here, that’s just my opinion! So I came up with a salad dressing that I feel is complimentary to any salad that has fruit in it. What started out as a regular oil and vinegar salad dressing, became one that contains a little sugar and a tiny amount of Almond extract. That subtle flavor of almond makes all the difference. Here’s how to make it:

ALMOND VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons MALT vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a screw-top jar combine oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and almond extract. Cover and shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Chill.

Some of the salad combinations I have used it on include:

1. Mixed greens with red grapes, sliced pears, celery, crumbled feta cheese and walnuts

2. Mixed greens with roasted golden beets, mango, and green onions.

3. Mixed greens with thinly sliced fennel, orange sections and pistachios.

4. Romaine lettuce, roast red beets, orange sections and walnuts.