Tag Archives: Roasted

Herb-Roasted Carrots

One of the reasons that it is really, really great that I have Fritz around is that he keeps me accountable to make real food for dinner.  Not that he demands it, ’cause he doesn’t, but because it’s fun to cook for someone who is so appreciative, and well…let’s face it–he gets a little grumpy when he’s underfed.

I have a weird tendency when he isn’t home (or in this case, when he gets food at school) to made a side dish, eat it as a main dish, and then have a bowl of cereal a few hours later when I unavoidably get hungry again.  It’s not really the best life strategy, except that it’s easy and I get to test side dishes for future filling, nutritious, and well-rounded meals.

Herb-Roasted Carrots

  • 8-10 medium-sized carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 t each your choise of fresh herbs, chopped–I used garlic chives and curry leaves
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Scrub the carrots down (or peel them if they are big, bad carrots and not sweet baby or adolescent carrots), and chop them in half lengthwise if necessary (the bigger they are, the more likely you chop).

Lay them on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs and salt.  Toss them until they are lightly coated with oil and herbs, then bake at the middle rack for about 20 minutes.

They will be soft and naturally sweet, but with a nice salty, herby flavor.

You could also toss these on the grill for a smokier version.  That’d be excellent.

I also found these carrots (from our CSA box) to be more orange than your average carrot.  It’s not just the picture.  Crazy, huh?

Tomorrow is my second day of my pediatrics clinical, and so far (I know, one whole day of experience) I’m really liking it.  I’m not sure if that is so much because I’m finally getting to do what I really want to do, or if because working at a school means that I get to come home and see this face by 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursday:

Either way, I like it.

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Filed under Side Dishes

Roasted Tomato Bisque

I’m over at Cait and Jeff’s house, stealing their internet to blog while we wait for Jersey Shore to start.  There’s leftover apple crisp warming up in the oven and their adorable Westie puppy is lovin’ all over Fritz.  It’s a good life.

So yesterday, I decided to make soup to celebrate the beginning of fall.

You may have noticed that I’ve celebrated the beginning of fall multiple times despite the fact that the autumnal equinox has yet to actually occur.  I also got super excited tonight when Fritz and I went out to the car and realized how COLD it was outside–I had to run back in to get my absolute favorite Fritz/old man/wool sweater. 

I’ll give you one guess what my favorite season is.

Roasted Tomato Bisque (from the CIA’s Book of Soups)

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 baby leeks (or one normal-sized leek)
  • 1 onion (I used three small shallots)
  • 3-4 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 C long grain white rice
  • salt to taste

I didn’t end up using the can of diced tomatoes, because the tomatoes I had were more than enough.  Before you get started, slice the majority of the tomatoes (you want about a cup of chopped tomatoes left over) 1/2″ thick and lay them on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Roast the tomatoes at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, then set them aside to cool so you can dice ’em.

Take the remaining tomato and dip it in boiling water for a few minutes and then in cold water–that will make the skin peel off so you can chop it and set that aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, and add the diced leeks and shallots.  Cook for a few minutes until soft, then add the tomatoes (both roasted and peeled), thyme, and broth.  Let the soup simmer for about half an hour, then add the rice and simmer until the rice is cooked, about another 15 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.

Pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender, if you were lucky enough to have your mother-in-law give you a fantastic one as a gift and you didn’t break it by trying to blend ice with it).

Serve right away–this soup is really thick and satisfying, not like a can of good ol’ Campbell’s soup.

And in case you were wondering what makes a bisque a bisque, they are soups of French origin usually made from a broth of a crustacean (not this soup) or a creamy soup from roasted and pureed vegetables (yup!).

The addition of rice to this soup makes it so creamy–without the cream.  I’ll take that any day!

We also picked up our CSA box number 16–it’s the first time you’ve seen pictures of the box in a while, because of 12 & 13 passed by while we were on vacation, 14 was cancelled from the hurricane, and 15 was picked up by Fritz when I was in classes.  The box is still looking a little sparse because of the hurricane, but some winter crops should be picking up soon–yay!

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Filed under Soups/Stews

Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

I remember the first time that I had sweet potato fries.

Well, I remember the first time that I remember having sweet potato fries, but it is possible I had them earlier and don’t remember.  But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion we can have some other time.

What?  Anyway.

The first time I remember having sweet potato fries was in downtown Syracuse on a father-daughter date with mon pere.  All I remember about it is that we went down some stairs to a restaurant in a basement, and dad made me try his fries because they were his favorite.  And now they are mine.

Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt to taste

Easy-peasy.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (yes, make it hot!) and stick a cookie sheet on the middle rack to heat up.  Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes and slice ’em into thin matchsticks.  It’s worth the work to shape them like Mickey-D’s fries, because they get nice and broil-ey on all sides.

Take the sheet out of the oven (don’t forget, it’s hot!) and drizzle the olive oil over it.  Toss the fries in the oil and lightly salt them.  Place on the middle rack for 5 minutes, and give them a stir.

Turn the oven to “broil” and cook the fries for 10 minutes longer, turning the fries every few minutes.  I like ’em to be nice and dark, because then they are perfect with a smidgen of ketchup.  Yum.

Check that out.

I also grilled a steak all by myself yesterday!  I made a quick Cajun-paprika rub, and I think it came out perfectly.  Fritz, however, was not at all comfortable with me edging onto his turf.  Deal with it, bro.

Tell me that doesn’t look amazing.

Obviously we aren’t on our way to Boston today because Kristen is sick and decided to finish off her weekend at home with the ‘rents to take care of her (I would, too!).  It’s okay though, because I went to the gym this morning for a nice long cardio sesh, and then napped in the sunshine (the sun was out!), stopped at a church sale to snag a few books, and cooked dinner.  Later, Cait and Jeff are coming over to hang out by our fire pit for the first time!  Should be fun.

So, I wanted to share something I’ve thought about lately.  It’s going to be our second anniversary in a week, and I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately about that first week two years ago when we moved to Long Island, didn’t know anyone, started going to new school programs, and were just getting used to living together.  It struck me as I was driving home from school the other day that we really are in charge of making our own happiness.

If we wanted to, Fritz and I could make a list that was several notebooks long about things we don’t like about our life–and they aren’t just tiny little details.  We don’t love living on Long Island (okay, we hate it), our school programs are incredibly stressful, we are deeply in debt due to school loans (and live on a tiny budget!), our cat is adorable but entirely evil, our families live so far away, and blah blah blah.  But those things don’t matter in the context of what we do have.

We’ve taken hold of the reins on our own happiness and decided that our circumstances won’t dictate our peace of mind.  And I’ve been lucky enough that I found hobbies that I love and am passionate about (cooking, blogging, and my newly found photography), that I can use to fill up any residual feelings of discontent.

Not to mention that Fritz has a totally rockin’ bod.  So that helps.  Kinda hard to be unhappy with your circumstances when that six-pack is just hangin’ around the house all the time.

Oh!  And I wanted to show you guys something that our friend Gill brought over to celebrate Fritz’s citizenship:

 How sweet is that?

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Filed under Side Dishes

Crispy Roasted Broccoflower

Yes.  Broccoflower.

I hadn’t heard of it either, but it’s basically cauliflower that is a strange, alien green color.  Not broccoli green, but if somewhere along the lines of lime and cream of pea soup.  Just as healthy and yummy as cauliflower–and much more like cauliflower in taste than broccoli.

Basically I just thought it would be fun to try something new–so I thought I’d go all out and cook it in a different way by roasting it instead of steaming or boiling it like I usually do for its achromatic cousin.

Crispy Roasted Broccoflower (adapted from my new cookbook You Can Trust a Skinny Cook by Allison Fishman)

  • 1 head cauliflower (or broccoflower, obviously.  Or broccoli.)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sprinkle of coarsely ground salt (or just plain ol’ table salt)

Yep.  That’s it!  Three ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and chop the cauliflower into small florets (try to be relatively uniform in size).  Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt.  Use your hands (this way you can feel when they are uniformly coated) to toss the florets and make sure the olive oil gets all over everything.

Bake in the oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

I actually might go a bit longer next time, because the browned parts were my favorite!  The cauliflower gets a natural sweet flavor from the baking, and even though crispy is not a texture I usually associate with this particular vegetable, I wish it had been!  So easy and quick–and better than boiling away all the nutrients (don’t you hate pouring off that gorgeous green water when you boil broccoli, just knowing that all the good stuff just went down the drain?)

Someone else wanted to be fed too:

 

When it’s nearing his dinner time, he just sits as close to us as possible making adorable faces, knowing we can’t resist him.  If we don’t leap into action quickly enough for his tastes, he starts purring frantically.  Then meowing like a banshee.

It gets less cute the longer it goes on, actually.

Also–I can’t wait ’til it’s not super dark all the time!  okay, April, we get the point.

We’re ready for our May flowers now. 

(Nerd joke–if April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?)

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

I’m on my parents’ couch, drinking English breakfast tea and watching Law and Order (LA).

It feels good.  So good.

Not as good for Henry, who has been locked in the basement for his own safety from the giant wolfhound (and my dad’s allergies), and who is currently standing on the top step, meowing forlornly.  I’ll have an intense play session with him after this is posted.

But let’s eat!

I was craving sweet potatoes last week, so I grabbed some at the grocery store.  I don’t think these two are closely related.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 2/3 C dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked until tender)
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • salt to taste

This dish can go one of two ways–sweet or savory.  I decided to go savory, using the natural sweetness of the potatoes as contrast, hence the garlic and salt.  If you want to, you can take those out and add a bit of sugar and some extra cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the olive oil into a roasting pan, and add the cubed sweet potato and chickpeas.  Toss to coat in the oil and add the spices, toss again.  Roast on the middle rack for 20 minutes to a half an hour, tossing again every ten minutes or so.

This is a quick and easy side dish that would go perfectly with grilled chicken, or sandwiches, or any of those early spring foods that could use a little warmth on the side.

I used double the amount of chickpeas that I listed, and we felt like it was a bit heavy on the garbanzo bean side of things (something I don’t mind, but Fritz–not so much).  Next time I’ll use what I wrote in this recipe.

Last night’s red carpet event:

Cora is the adorable daughter of one of my best friends when I was growing up.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve met her before–but here’s some never-before-published pictures of this tiny lady from last time I was home:

That’s my older sister, Erin, not Cora’s mother.

She looks like a natural, though, don’t you think?

Here’s Cora’s family opening some presents:

Sarah and Josh threw a really nice party for her (complete with that perfect monkey cake Sarah made), and it was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen to witness Cora’s love (or obsession) for anything Elmo.

It’s been hinted that today’s adventures may include an antique store (yes!) and bulk natural foods (double yes!).

I love being home.

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Slow Roasted Beef

Two very exciting things are happening in my blog today:

  1. It is my 100th post!
  2. I finally added a “Recipes” and a “Blog Roll” page.

Pretty freakin’ exciting, huh?

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has read my blog from the beginning (that’d be mostly my devoted family members!).  Finally getting up the courage to start blogging took me months, but I am so happy that I did.  It is a great stress-reliever, and I love having someplace to share ideas and encourage that tiny little piece of me that is creative.  I finally understand those people who write in diaries and journals.

So without any further ado, let’s celebrate my 100th post.  Here’s a giant slab of roasted beef–somewhat atypical of this blog but not at all against my eating and cooking rules.  Luckily.  Because that could be a big strain on my marriage.

Slow Roasted Beef (from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • bottom round roast (also called a rump roast)
  • 1/2-1 T canola oil
  • salt and pepper

Not a lot of ingredients, because when you cook meat properly, it can speak for itself.  Now, I’m not against seasonings by any means (or sauces), but sometimes simple is best.

Dry the roast with paper towels and heat the canola oil in a large pan.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees (I said slow roasted, didn’t I?).  Season on all sides with salt and pepper, and when the oil is shimmering, brown the roast on all sides to get that beautiful dark sear (this should take about ten minutes).

Place into the oven on the lower medium racks and leave it alone for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  So easy!  When it’s finished, the internal temperature should be 115 degrees for medium-rare, or 125 for medium.  We went with medium rare–my dad loves his red meat still mooing, and I may have picked up more than a few of his habits.  If you are like us, and your meat thermometer recently broke, then the inside should be red, the outer edge pink, and the outside brown; pressing down on the meat shouldn’t be too firm or too spongy.

 It’s not often that I find beauty in a big, bloody beef roast, but it was pretty easy to see it here:

 Admit it.  That’s just downright pretty.

Tasty, too.  I served this with broccoli and bulgur wheat.

After the gym today, round 1 of leftovers was reincarnated as another Dad favorite: steak sandwiches.  Though he usually makes these with cubed steak and fluffy white rolls, we had to make do with what we had.  And it was still delicious.

open-faced steak sandwiches, inspired by my dad

So thanks for reading my 100th post, and please check out my new “recipes” page and let me know what you think.  I discovered while I was inputting all the links what types of food I’ve been lacking in posting (grains? eggs? cake? where are you?), so you should be seeing some new recipes soon!

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Filed under Entrees

Sunday Roast Chicken

I can’t believe it’s only been a week since last Tuesday…it feels like it’s been at least 100 days.  My school schedule this year feels super packed (even though it’s really not), and the week just crawls by.  Of course the weekend whizzes by so fast I might actually need physical therapy for whiplash.  But alas.

I made a roasted chicken on Sunday, and there is just something about roast chicken with root vegetables that just feels so comforting.  It’s also incredibly cheap!  Buying a whole chicken and some potatoes and onions is probably one of the cheapest meals you can make, and it lasts the two of us at least three meals each–the chicken itself, the chicken sandwiches, and then, of course, the chicken noodle soup (I just love soups).

Sunday Dinner Roast Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large onion or several small onions, quartered
  • 4-6 small potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots or any other root vegetables
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 T chopped sage
  • 1 t chopped chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 C water

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set rack in the middle position.  Oil pan with a few drops of olive oil and set aside.  Clean and dry chicken (don’t forget to remove that pesky package of gizzards).  Combine the remaining olive oil, sage, chives, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Using your hands, rub the mixture under the skin on the breasts, being careful not to rip the skin.  This helps keep the chicken from drying out and gives the skin a nicely browned, crispy look.  Rub the remainder of the mixture over the rest of the chicken.

 

Put the largely chopped vegetables into the pan and place chicken over the top.  This helps raise the chicken off the pan and allows the air to circulate underneath it, cooking evenly.  You can also use a roasting rack.  Pour the water into the bottom of the pan to keep the drippings and vegetables from burning.  Leave the chicken uncovered while it cooks for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees.  Turn the pan around and raise the temperature to 450 until the skin is browned and the breast reaches 170 degrees with a meat thermometer, about another 45 minutes.

 

Remove the chicken and let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes before carving.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and feel free to use the drippings to make a delicious gravy.

I’m hungry again.

I was shocked at how quickly the alfalfa sprouts grew!  We ate them yesterday in a salad, and I’m going to use them today in some chicken sandwiches for lunch.

Alfalfa Sprouts

  • Wide mouth mason jar
  • Alfalfa seeds
  • Thin mesh or screen for top (I bought a jar top made specifically for this purpose, but you can even use old nylon stockings)

 

Put 2-3 T of alfalfa seeds into the jar (I used two and probably will use less next time, because I was not prepared for the massive amount of sprouts this would produce).  Cover with water (fill the jar halfway), and let soak overnight.  Use the mesh top for the jar so the seeds have some air.

 

After the sprouts have soaked overnight, drain the water and rinse a few times.  For the next few days, rinse the seeds twice a day and leave the jar upside-down at an angle to drain all the water.  Rinsing and draining is important, because otherwise the seeds will rot or mold–and you don’t want that! 

 

Leave the seeds out of sun until the 3rd or 4th day or they will prematurely turn green.  Once they sprout leaves, you can put them in sunlight (preferably not direct sunlight) and they will turn an attractive green.  Then all you have left to do it eat ’em!

Don’t they look delicious?  I love how crisp they taste in salad.  Also check out that bowl–it’s one from our new set from Ikea. 

I can’t wait to go to yoga tonight–I always feel so refreshed after I go.  My instructor has also gotten into the ridiculous habit of giving out chocolate bars to people who actually fall asleep during the relaxation pose at the end…and judging by how sleepy I feel already, I think tonight might be my night!  Could be worth the embarrassment of having to be shaken awake by my fellow yoga-ees.

Have a beautiful day!

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