Tag Archives: roasted vegetables

Buttery Roasted Winter Radishes and Watermelon Turnips

1 Nov

I don’t always reap what I sow, being that my garden is often a disaster and if my family depended on it for primary sustenance, the de Cubas would be no more.

Surprise! An unexpected bounty of radishes

Surprise! An unexpected bounty of radishes

But in a delightful surprise, a late summer planting of leftover radish seeds, sown in some fit of hopefulness as I cleared the beds of the unproductive detritus of a summer spent elsewhere, yielded a pound or so of very fat cherry bell and French Breakfast radishes.

Should've harvested these a week ago....

Should’ve harvested these a week ago….

So fat, in fact, that they needed a roasting with butter to mellow the bite and soften the woodiness that comes when you don’t notice what is happening and you wait too long to harvest. It is the #gardenofneglect after all!

Another view of the surprise radish harvest

Another view of the surprise radish harvest

I added in there some watermelon turnips from our CSA (Restoration Farm), which were absolutely gorgeous, but I didn’t know what else to do with. This is the simplest recipe ever for a beautiful autumnal side dish!

A pretty plate of turnips and radishes with very little effort

A pretty plate of turnips and radishes with very little effort

Roasted Winter Radishes and Watermelon Turnips

Radishes, sliced into ¼-1/2” half moons and/or Watermelon turnips, peeled/pared and sliced into ¼”half moons

A knob of butter

2 Tbs (or more) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly cracked pepper to finish

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a baking dish big enough to hold your quantity of root vegetables you have, place all the vegetables. Add a generous knob of butter (figure 1.5 Tbs for a 8×8 oven dish worth and go up a half Tbs for each inch larger). Pour 2 Tbs of olive oil over that. Stir everything around to coat and add more oil as you see fit.

Roast in the oven a half hour. Check how things are doing. The turnip will take longer, so lower heat to 375°F and roast for another half hour (you won’t burn the radishes, but the turnip will soften. I will be experimenting with a slower roast at lower temp all the way in the next few days). Sprinkle generously with finishing salt and pepper and serve.


Pasta With Roasted Vegetables (Potluck Portion!)

21 May

We always do an end-of-semester party with our students in our language immersion program; after all, when you spend 20 hours a week for 15 weeks with the same class, you get to know each other pretty well, so it’s nice to have an informal day with them.

When you don’t have proper travel packs for food – improvise! Saved rubber band show their worth here.

Usually, we do a massive celebration with all our classes together, but this semester it just wasn’t coming together, so each lecturer did an individual class party.

And sometimes you DO have the right gear: Pampered Chef Measuring Cup with LID

So I passed around a sign-up sheet so we’d know who was bringing what, including paper goods and soft drinks and the like. And my students, who claim to love food and hail from most corners of the earth (Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, SouthEast Asia, and Russia, wrote cookies, snack, cookies, snack…like, what!?! I was NOT going to have a Dunkin’ Munchkin affair.

Mixed up and ready to go…

So I panicked and made a dish myself (which we lecturers don’t often do, since our students are usually so generous with the home-cooked dishes). Pasta seemed the right solution and I was able to carry the sauce separate from the pasta and reheat it in the office microwave…Although we have no vegetarians, roasted vegetables seemed the right way to go.

I needn’t have worried. My wonderful class brought chicken adobo (Philipines), roast chicken (Korea), empanadas (Colombia), warmed greens salad (Haiti), and pasta (U.S. style!). Plus a gigantic and delicious lemon cream cake! So it was a lovely spread and a nice way to close the semester before their big test

The International Buffet

The Thank You Cake

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Two pounds short, curly pasta – shells, farfalle, penne, or cavatappi


4-5 Cups mixed chopped vegetables (zucchini/red pepper/yellow squash/cauliflower/broccoli/asparagus)

4 cloves garlic, minced

Small onion, peeled and minced

1-2 Tbs olive oil


2 Tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz button mushrooms (white or baby bella), woody parts of stems removed before chopping

Hot red pepper flakes – a pinch or two, optional

Two 28 oz. cans diced or pureed tomatoes

Salt to taste

1 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other grating cheese


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread vegetables, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking dish, drizzle with oil and roast for 1 hour.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, heat oil for sauce in a large pot until liquid and fragrant. Add onions sauté for a minute, then add garlic. Saute for an additional minute, then add mushrooms. Cook at medium heat until mushrooms release their liquid (about five minutes), stirring occasionally. Add pepper flakes, if desired, and add canned tomatoes. Cook at a slow simmer until vegetables are finished roasting. Add vegetables and stir to combine. Add pasta and cheese, mix well and serve.

Adriana’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Autumnal Awesome)

24 Oct

If you’ve never seen Brussels sprouts in the fields, you really should try to get a look. Now is the time; they reach their peak in November and December (which is why so many of us have them at our Thanksgiving table) and so may very well be growing at your nearest farm right now. They look like tropical ornamental succulents – a thick stem studded with  green bulbs and topped with lush foliage — and you’d never-ever think of them as something as pedestrian as cabbage. But mini-cabbages are exactly what they are (Brassica oleracea, Gemmifera).

Before cooking (we also did roasted asparagus)

I didn’t like them as a kid – the old sulfurous smelly thing that kids are ever-so sensitive to – but I adore them as an adult. Here at mine we usually do some sort of boil with lemon and such for Turkey Day (more about that in November), but when Adriana told me she was going to roast hers for our recent playdate/sleepover, I got really excited. Adri is a fantastic cook who likes simple but stylish meat and veg and I always learn a lot from her. Like me she is a single mom working full time, so like me, she has had to streamline the production of good meals. That is not a bad thing; it keeps you very focused on the quality of the ingredients, because you don’t have the time nor energy to make up for cruddy produce or take fancy steps.

And since the kids keep each other busy while we are mucking about in the kitchen and having a glass of wine, it is always a fun time.

So, here are Adriana’s oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. They were so easy, so fab, great with steak…you know I’ll be doing these a lot for the next couple of months!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Adriana

2 pints Brussels sprouts*, outer leaves removed and halved lengthwise

Liberal grindings of salt and pepper

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

8 sage leaves, cut into narrow ribbons

Leaves from one long sprig of rosemary

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place Brussels sprouts in a single layer in an oven dish (with sides). Sprinkle liberally with the salt and pepper (preferably from a grinder). Toss thoroughly with olive oil and herbs and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until you have nice crispiness on the edges of the sprouts. Serve, finishing with sea salt if desired.

*When buying Brussels sprouts, look for tight bulbs that are bright green and bottom stems that are smooth and clean. In this recipe, any leaves that fall off during cooking tend to get nice and crispy, like chips!


Roasted Pattypan Squash (yes, you can eat the rind)

22 Sep

These summer squashes — with their tam o’ shanter shape and luscious colors — look more pretty than edible, but they are really tasty, so have no mercy, grab them off that fall centerpiece and cook ’em up while they are fresh and tender!

This is a really basic recipe for roasting that I used recently when packing the oven with four different veggie dishes. You can boil pattypans, stuff them (Click here for a gorgeous and simple stuffed pattypan recipe!) , even grill them (brush with lemon and mint, yum, yum), but this will do the job if you just want to get the job done simply.

I do recommend scooping the seeds if there are a lot of them and you have the time.

Roasted Pattypan Squash

2 medium pattypan squash (about 1.5 lbs), quartered, seeds removed if desired

2 -3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs dried oregano

1 Tbs dried thyme

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread oil over all surfaces of squash. Then sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

Asparagus, Tomato and Hummus Wraps

25 Jul

I love asparagus and red pepper and especially love them with hummus. The following recipe is an easy wrap that tastes delicious and feels virtuous going down. It is easy to assemble, quite portable and looks very nice when you serve it (or eat it with shameless gusto in front of your admiring colleagues at the lunch table). The slightly charred tomatoes really give it a depth of flavor you will like, especially in this season when they are abundant and ultra-sweet.

But first: a confession.

Ready to roll

It has been a very, very long time since I made my own hummus.

When I lived in Puerto Rico and there wasn’t any readily available, I made my very own, very yummy hummus using (expensive) tahini from the health food store. Today, I have to admit, I buy the Sabra stuff from Costco in big tubs; it’s my In Case of Emergency Break Glass (or plastic seal) lifesaver for surprise guests or a snack for watching the news before dinner with my folks. One day I will go back to making my own (and of course I will tell you all about it and look forward to any recipes you would like to share), but for right now, Sabra is a shortcut I feel pretty comfortable with.

In this recipe, I give the ingredients to make four or five wraps, but you may want to double the vegetables so that you can have some as an appetizer and make the wraps for next day fare.


Wrap and go

Asparagus Wraps

1/2 lb asparagus spears, bottoms snapped off and set aside for stock/another day

1 red pepper, top and seeds removed, sliced long

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus a smear of olive oil for the skillet (only if sauteing the peppers_

½ pint small tomatoes (grape, cherry, Sungold), halved

1-2 Tbs hummus per wrap (about 1 Cup)

4-5 wrappers of your choice (tortillas for example)

If roasting the asparagus and red pepper, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat vegetables in olive oil and roast 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until fairly tender. You may also simmer the asparagus for five minutes in water instead and follow skillet instructions for red pepper.

In a skillet, warm each wrap until soft and pliable and keep warm on a plate, covered (may also be heated in microwave, following package instructions).

In the same skillet, warm a bit of olive oil on medium to cook the red pepper (if you haven’t already roasted it) until tender. Add the roasted vegetables and the raw tomato halves to the skillet and cook on high about three minutes, until the tomatoes look slightly charred and softened, shaking the pan frequently. Go back to the wraps, smear one half of each with a tablespoon or two of hummus. On the half that has the hummus, place a few vegetables. Roll up and serve, or pack up for an excellent work lunch or beach snack.


Roasted Eggplant, Feta and Sundried Tomato Sandwich

23 Feb

Roasted eggplant and friends on whole wheat English muffin. Don't worry about the verticality; it smushes down to a reasonable, biteable size.

Take Back the Lunch (a poem)

There are those who enjoy

spending money they don’t have,

to wait with time they don’t have,

for a food order that they don’t really love,

cooked by people who don’t love them,

to choke down

during what remains of their precious lunch hour.

I am not one of those.

Are you?

Yeah your takeaway order may be tasty and juicy, but do you really know what you’re eating?

Yeah, a $6.99 lunch special may seem like a good deal, but does it tell you how special and important you are, the way a home-cooked meal does? Of course not.

So at least once this week, try to make yourself a home-cooked lunch that gives you a nutritional hug (or make enough of it for dinner that you have leftovers the next day).

I make this pretty often in winter; it’s a cross between an antipasto and a sandwich and is pretty cheap! I am admittedly not great at crunching numbers, but if I get a pound of eggplant at $3; a 1/2 lb. of feta at $1.80 (Costco bulk); and 8 sundried tomatoes at Fairway for about $2 – I’ve paid about $7 total (plus a bit for side stuff) and then I make four meals for myself out of it…well you do the numbers and tell me it doesn’t beat the bejesus out of the steak and broccoli lunch special at Asian Kitchen…

So please, please, please…show yourself some love and try this really, really, really easy and delicious sandwich/wrap thing really soon. You can skip the bread if you are watching carbs!

Roasted Eggplant  with Feta and Sundried tomatoes

1 lb eggplant (or two if you want to make extra for the week), wiped clean and sliced into ¼ inch rounds*

2 Tbsp olive oil per pound eggplant

8 oz feta cheese, sliced fairly thin

8-10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. Drain slightly and slice into thin strips

(optional – if your sundried tomatoes don’t come with seasonings, use a tsp or more of dried herbs – oregano, basil, thyme, or other Mediterranean flavors are best)

Wrap-style bread, pitas or hearty thick toasted bread slices

Preheat oven to 350°. Dip eggplant into (or brush with) olive oil until well-coated. Lay eggplant as flat as possible in oven dishes and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until eggplant is tender (I consider this a craft that is best learned by experience. Fortunately for me, I like my eggplant slightly browned, ‘cause I always seem to cook the hell out of it before it’s truly done. Don’t worry about a bit of overcooking.)

When the eggplant is done, place a layer of rounds on your chosen bread. Top with feta and sundried tomatoes (and herbs, if desired). Roll up, if using a wrap-style bread. Toast for a few minutes in a toaster oven or under the broiler and serve (reheats well with a blast in the office microwave).

*Notes: if you have time, sprinkle the slices with a pinch or two of salt, put in a colander and put a weighted bowl on top to squeeze out extra moisture – it becomes less absorbent that way – 15-30 minutes. This step is not really necessary with really tight-skinned, firm, fresh eggplant).

I do a lot of eggplant at a time and either eat it this way all week, or strip the rounds of peel and stir into hummous or just eat it out of the fridge when I need a snack. Can be chopped and added to red sauce for pasta! You can also substitute other roasted veg.

It’s Winter and I Am Roasting (vegetables)

17 Jan

Moving and angst are natural partners. We’ve been moving upstairs and emptying a storage unit  this week — as in:

“I didn’t even know I still (or ever) had this!”

“Where the f**k did all this crap come from?”

“I have never seen a dust mouse that big. Ever.”

“Oh God, how am I going to get all this done before the semester starts on Tuesday?”

“Leandro please don’t run in front of: the moving truck/hand truck/person trying to move a big box up the stairs/me. ”

“Sweet Jesus, the moving guy just looked in that long-unopened drawer before I  had a chance to remove the scandalous lingerie that I had completely (and sadly) forgotten about.”

…etc. etc. etc….

and add to that an aching, frigging back from said moving, ’cause the ten years that have passed since I last saw that stuff haven’t made me any younger. Heavy sigh.

So, our diet has not been virtuous – Chef Boyardee was on the menu more than once; reheated pizza, Cheese-Its, leftover Halloween chocolate, cheese and crackers, cheese and crackers, salty popcorn, basically a diet of shut-up food all in front of the T.V. and endless repeats of a Scooby-Doo video — where can I buy those Scooby Snacks, anyway, cause Lord knows they would fit right in with my current mode…

But within the frenzy, I have made some good food happen too, thanks to some of the very recipes you have seen here. The spinach sauce for pasta served for a couple of meals, especially because I used farfalle (bow ties), which Leandro really really digs (and which grip a lot of spinach).

I made the basic seasoned ground beef in a big batch, a third of which went into an impromptu pasta dinner for friends on Friday, another third into chili con carne with rice Saturday, then on tortilla chips with cheese today (Sunday) and another third is frozen for next week and the new semester.

I also roasted vegetables.  This is something I do all winter (it’s too damn hot in the summer to turn on the oven) and then eat the vegetables all week in different formats. This is just one version (as I continue to crave asparagus in the off-season). It really is best with the linguine, but I was pressed for time and my son is not yet interested in this kind of dish, so I just served it to myself (several days running) with leftover rice and a dash of soy sauce. I also gave a plastic tublet to Leandro’s godmother (a teacher) for her take-to-school lunch.

Roasted Vegetable Linguine

2 packets (about 20 oz) baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 bunch broccoli crowns, separated into florets

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup white wine

½ lb linguine

½ cup torn fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbs dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss all vegetables (except tomatoes and herbs but including red pepper flakes!) and oil into a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Get your pasta water on the boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Save ½ cup pasta water when draining.

Add tomatoes to pan and roast 10 more minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Set pan on two burners on medium heat and add wine, stirring and scraping off burnt bits. Simmer for 3 minutes or so, until wine has cooked off then add reserved pasta water.

Return pasta to pot, add vegetables and liquid from pan. Warm to serving temperature and add herbs.

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