My latest culinary deal is roasting vegetables. Until recently, I only roasted potatoes, which I only started doing correctly after my friend Kathryn told me that to get really good roasted potatoes, I needed to boil them first, to soften them up. Now I find the trick is not boiling them too long; otherwise, you get roasted potato crumbs, which are still delicious but trickier to get from your plate to your mouth.
Then a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a recipe for roasted broccoli, and I thought I'd give it a go. Well, my dears, it turns out that roasted broccoli is divine, as is roasted cauliflower and roasted red onion. Roasted vegetables taste so good, I don't see how they can be good for you. In fact, I got so suspicious the other day, I googled "nutritional aspects of roasted vegetables," expecting to learn that roasting vegetables transforms them into the nutritional equivalent of a chocolate sundae. What I found instead is that not only are roasted vegetables as good for you as raw vegetables, sometimes they're even better.
I was at the store the other day and went a little crazy. I bought orange beets and a rutabega and a turnip, all for the roasting. When I got home, I googled "roasted beets recipes" and found one for carmelized beets. Now how good does that sound? I'm going to try it, and I'll let you know how it turns out.
By the way, beets were yet another vegetable we didn't eat growing up (I'm telling you, all we had was frozen peas and carrots, vegetable-wise; they were dark times there in the suburban 1970s). And my first experience with beets was not good. The Man and I attended a dinner party where the guest of honor made a beet salad. The beets were beautiful, but there was some thing about the texture that made me want to spit them out. However, you do not spit out the guest of honor's beets, so I ate as many as I could force down and then tried the old trick of cutting the rest into very small pieces and then hiding the pieces under a roll.
It wasn't until a few years ago, when my friend Amy shared with me a marvelous beet salad she'd made that I realized beets could be my friends. And it wasn't until yesterday, when I saw those pretty orange beets at the grocery store, when it occurred to me that maybe I should take some home with me and roast them.
Have you discovered new ways of cooking old favorites? What veggies did you hate growing up that you love now? Oh, I just remembered! Every once in awhile my mom served canned asparagus, and boy did I hate that. But now? Well, I still don't eat canned asparagus, but baby asparagus in the spring? To die for!