Roasted Summer Veggies

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Veggies, waiting to be roasted

I love roasted vegetables of all types!  I like how roasting concentrates their flavors, by reducing the natural water content. I love the mild caramelization that happens. Mostly, I love how easy the preparations are — throw trays of them in the oven and stir them periodically and … ta da … yumminess!

I roast my vegetables at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and usually do little more to them than roast on a sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I start checking them after 15 minutes, give them a stir or a flip for even cooking, and either take them out at that point or leave them until they have cooked through and are lightly browned/caramelized. It’s hard to get specific on how long this takes — each vegetable type is different, and within the type of veggie the cooking times vary according to size, water content, etc.  Here is my best attempt to describe technique:

Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash

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This picture shows 2 striped zucchinis and 2 yellow zucchinis, sliced into approximately the same  size. I covered my baking sheet with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and then scattered my squash pieces on the tray. I shook the tray back and forth a few times, so the pieces would flip, to get coated in oil on both sides. Then sprinkled salt and freshly ground black pepper onto the squash. I roasted for between 25-30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes and flipping each piece.  The direct contact with the hot metal sheet-pan results in a nice caramelization.

Cherry Tomatoes & Red Onion

For this technique I was inspired by a chef I interned with, Ben Barker of Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC (now closed). He used to make these, using similar ingredients, but drying them on a rack in a super-low 200-degree Fahrenheit convection oven overnight. Because of the hot air circulating around the tomatoes for such a long time, the resulting oven-dried tomatoes were almost like candy — bursting with concentrated tomato flavor.

For my Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Red Onion, I put 1 Tablespoon of olive oil on my metal baking pan and added 1 pound of cherry tomatoes, 1 red onion that had been cut into large dice, and 6 or 7 small garlic cloves that I had smashed after peeling. I shook the pan so that everything got coated in the olive oil, and then tucked-in approximately 12 whole stems of thyme. I sprinkled salt and freshly ground black pepper onto the mixture and roasted these for between 25-30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes and stirring everything.  Once these were out of the oven and cool, I stripped as many leaves from the stems of thyme and added them back to the tomatoes and then discarded the stems.

Sliced Mushrooms

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I put 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in my pyrex baking dish and added one 8-oz. container of sliced crimini mushrooms that I bought at Trader Joe’s. My suspicion is that you could use sliced button mushrooms, and that you could use whole, halved or quartered mushrooms — you would just need to adjust the cooking times until these were cooked to your liking.

I shook the pan so that everything got coated in the olive oil, and then tucked-in approximately 12 whole stems of thyme. I sprinkled salt and freshly ground black pepper onto the mixture and roasted these for between 30-45 minutes, checking after every 15 minutes, to stir everything. These exuded so much of their own natural water content, that they took significantly longer to roast than the squash or tomatoes.  Once these were out of the oven and cool, I stripped as many leaves from the stems of thyme and added them back to the mushrooms and then discarded the stems.

Kohlrabi

I peeled and cut 2 kohlrabi into large chunks. This is a new vegetable to me, and I have read in the Paleo rags that people use these in place of starchy vegetables like potatoes and hard winter squashes. So I thought I’d give it a whirl!  I covered my metal 9″x 13″ baking pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and then scattered my kohlrabi pieces on the pan. I shook the tray back and forth a few times, so the pieces would flip, to get coated in oil on both sides. Then sprinkled salt and freshly ground black pepper onto the pieces. I roasted for between 30-45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes and flipping each piece.  The direct contact with the hot metal pan results in a nice caramelization. I tested the done-ness by trying to cut through a piece (should cut easily and look translucent all the way through), and by taste to see if a piece was soft throughout.  Reminded me of turnips — very mild.

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