This is a bit embarrassing. If you know me well, you have probably witnessed this behavior. If you are a total stranger, you may have been aware of it. But the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances probably don’t know about this THING I do. And I do it all the time.
I go to a market. Might be our wonderful local farmer’s market. Might be the supermarket. Might be a store or outdoor coop in a faraway place (like in Hanalei, on Kauai). I get so excited about a particular item, usually fruit or vegetable, I start brainstorming about how I’m going to prepare it. When I do that, it is not at all unusual for a small crowd to gather. Other shoppers often begin asking questions, and before long, I’m conducting an impromtu cooking class.
Vendors generally love this. It’s free advertisement for their produce. It’s not uncommon for people to follow me around, see what else I buy, asking me questions the whole time. What can I tell you, this is my idea of fun!
This past Sunday, I indulged in another one of my odd ideas of fun. I sent Bob to the market and gave him only loose suggestions about what he should buy. When he got home, I got to play my little “what to cook” game without the audience. This is also very amusing. To me, anyway.
And guess what? Today, you get to be the audience!
This time of year, my go-to preparation for fall veggies is roasting. Usually, I do them simply, tossing with just salt, pepper, and olive oil. Scrub or peel the veggies, and cut them into similar sized pieces so they get done at roughly the same time. I like a 400° oven, but if you’ve got something else going, all you need to do is vary the cooking time for good results at different temps.
Here, I’ve roasted broccoli, brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, and turnips. They took about 20 minutes to be nicely charred and tender-perfect. But if anything was done before the potatoes were soft, I’d just take ‘em off the sheet sooner. Roasted veggies are good hot, warm, or a room temp.
Along with these gorgeous beauties, I roasted a hunk of good Greek feta. Just a glug of olive oil, and in 10 minutes, the cheese was bronzed and oozy, but held its shape nicely.
The veggies were served with the cheese and a drizzle of local honey. To paraphrase Laurie Colwin, I would walk through fire for this meal.
This morning, I cut up the leftover veggies, gave them a turn in the microwave, tossed them on top of some dressed greens, and topped it all with some soft handmade mozzarella for my husband to take for lunch on his long day of teaching.
Oh, before I move on, you may be wondering about the stunning fractal-amazing Romanesco in the photo. It got its turn in a hot oven the following day. If you can find one, you must try it. Sweet, nutty, tender, it benefits from a sprinkle of parm before munching. Mine didn’t make it to the table, nor did it last long enough for me to snap a photo. Sorry!
This very wise man also brought me some figs. These did not come from the local market, but a specialty store on his way home from work. I am a fig fanatic, so immediately set to work making a fig-worthy breakfast, some coconutty baked oats.
I mixed together a couple cups of thick cut organic oats, handful of flax meal, some slivered almonds, and coconut chips. Tossed with a bit of my own maple syrup and some coconut milk until just moist. Popped into a wood fired baking dish, and baked at 350° for about a half hour, until browned. Served with ripe figs and some extra syrup. Breakfast heaven!
Note to blog followers: when you go to your market and find something interesting, use the Contact link and send me an email. I’ll help you figure out what to do with it. Like I said, this is my idea of fun!