Friday, June 22, 2012

Cooking class: Roasted brussels sprouts and carrots!

Roasted brussels sprouts and carrots

Roasting is an excellent way to develop the natural sweet flavors in vegetables. It is simple, but sophisticated! The best part is that it is also flexible; you can roast in a range of oven temperatures, so if you're cooking something else, pop in a tray of veggies and roast them too!

A few general guidelines for successful roasting:
  • Chop your vegetables so that they're about the same size
  • Some vegetables roast faster than others; bell peppers and summer squash will be cooked much sooner than carrot and potatoes; choose vegetables that will be done at about the same time. Or, start the longer-cooking veggies and then add the quicker-cooking veggies part way through
  • Allow for air circulation around your veggies; if they're touching, the steam released from the vegetables will cook the vegetables and you won't get the nice browning and flavor we're looking for
  • Stir the vegetables around part way through cooking to ensure even cooking and browning
  • Just a tiny bit of olive oil allows your herbs, garlic and spices to stick to your vegetables nicely
  • If you don't want to wash another pan, simply line your baking tray with parchment paper
Good choices for roasted vegetables:
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Bell pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Winter squash (i.e. pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, etc)
  • Many more...the sky is the limit!
General method; I had a bag of enormous brussels sprouts and one bag of old-ish baby carrots. I cleaned up the brussels sprouts, tossed the veggies with a touch of olive oil and seasonings and popped them into an oven set at 400. Anythwere from 350-450 is fine, match whatever else you're cooking. My vegetables took about 40 minutes to cook, if the sprouts had been smaller, or the oven hotter, it wouldn't have taken quite so long. Just keep an eye on your veggies and you'll get it right!

After the veggies are good, they are delicious tossed with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, lemon juice or slivered almonds. Or all of the above :) You can even toss the nuts onto the tray for the last minute to develop their flavor a bit...but they will burn quickly, so don't walk away from the oven!
Happy roasting!


Trimming the ends and removing discolored leaves

Try to get all of the pieces about the same size

These carrots are a bit old for eating raw but are ready for a second life roasted!


Toss with a touch of olive oil, pepper, herbs de Provence and cayenne pepper

Quick stir half-way through; you can see the brussels sprouts turning bright green!

Perfect! Tender when pierced with a fork, crispy edges all around!


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