Roasting Vegetables 101: Simple, Seasonal Side Dishes

We’ve been reveling in the recent fall weather; getting out for frequent walks, sitting around the fire down at the back of our property, and relishing the cooler temperatures and lack of bugs. When my husband and I think back to the stress of last fall – buying and selling a house, a sick child, and career shifts – we’re even more grateful for the calm that this season holds for us. Sure, it is busy, but there is a constant peace in our home life now that refuses to be ruffled, even as the bustle of the holidays approaches.

Now that it feels like the autumn chill is here to stay, I like nothing better than coming indoors from invigorating play and cranking up the oven to warm the kitchen – and roast vegetables for the night’s dinner.

Side dishes don’t get much simpler than roasted vegetables. Three ingredients – fresh produce, salt and olive oil – are all that is needed to transform the vegetables from crisper drawer contents to elegant side dish.

The other all-important element? High heat. It brings out the flavors of the vegetables, enhances their natural sweetness, and crisps up the edges into tantalizing bites.
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Preserving Summer: Freezing Broccoli 101

As selective eaters as my sons are, there is one mighty green giant that they gobble up without hesitation and then ask for more.

Broccoli.

I know, it’s usually the one vegetable that is scorned, shunned, or pureed into sauces to bypass careful inspection of little diners, but my kids both love it. And so, I don’t question their fondness, I just serve it, and then serve it again.

Now that broccoli is in season, and those tight, firm heads are $0.99 each at the market, I’m buying them by the basketful and freezing them for winter. Simple steamed broccoli served with a pat of butter is the boys’ preferred way to enjoy broccoli (no roasting for them, please) and the frozen florets reconstitute quite nicely in boiling water.

It’s impossible to pass up this opportunity to stock up on one of our favorite mid-summer vegetables. Here’s how I do it. [Read more…]