Most of you already know from my changes blog post that I’ve been trying a new vegetable every week. In addition to my vegetable of my week, I have many new and old favorites I eat. I’ve had a few friends ask about recipes and decided to post my tips and tricks. For all of these veggies, I came up with my own recipe. I go back and forth between liking recipes or not. Lately, cooking is my creative outlet to do as I please. Recipes would stifle the creativity and freedom.
Now for some veggie tales. My favorite way to cook veggies is to roast them. This means I crank the oven to 425-450 degrees and let the vegetables cook for a while. I first tried this with broccoli. I take frozen broccoli, dump it on a sheet pan, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle fresh garlic, salt, and pepper on it. Then I mix it up with my hands and usually cook it 25-30 minutes. I stir it half way through and take it out when the tips are a nice charred black.
This summer I cooked fresh brussel sprouts this same way. I trimmed and split the sprouts. Then I used the same garlic, olive oil, salt, & pepper method. There were delicious.
Frozen green beans (the best kind are from Sam’s) work well for this too. They shrivel up, but get great flavor from roasting.
I roasted eggplant with garlic & onion powder instead of fresh garlic. I should have peeled the eggplant. Even after roasting, the skin was pretty tough. It was decent, but not my favorite.
This weekend when I got back from College Station, I knew I had to use a tomato that I bought the week before. I had know idea what to do with it (other than not eat it raw). I was roasting zucchini that night, so I did the same with the tomato. I spread a little olive oil on the top of each thin slice and used salt & pepper. They were surprisingly good. The black really thin one, turned out almost like a chip. So good.
Also, please note the brown/black color on my pans. That is a good thing. If you don’t roast at a high enough temperature or long enough, the veggies will just steam and not get the same flavor as roasting them.
Zucchini is one of my all time favorites. The dark circles are the best.
When I’m not roasting vegetables, there are a few other options I may use. I love cauliflower mash. It can pretty much be whatever flavor profile you want it to be. I’ve used different combinations of chicken stock, cheddar cheese, marscapone cheese, green onions, purple onions, bacon, salt & pepper, and garlic to flavor them. They taste just like mashed potatoes. For these, I cook frozen cauliflower in a large pot until it’s fork tender. Then I drain it and puree it with my immersion blender in the pot. Once it’s smooth, I add whatever other ingredients in and blend as I go. The stick blender makes them so fluffy and smooth.
My other cooking options are to steam veggies, which isn’t my first choice, or eat them raw. There are a few vegetables I like raw, but I mostly like them cooked.
Most recently, I tried butternut squash. As I was prepping it, I was completely reminded of fall and pumpkins. The inside of the squash has lots of slimy strings and seeds like a pumpkin.
First, I scooped out the inside cavity with a measuring spoon. Then I peeled off the skin.
I diced half the squash and thinly sliced the other half. Next time I make this, I’m going to use a mandoline and see how I like it.
To season these, I put them on a pan, sprayed them with PAM, and sprinkled them with salt & pepper. I cooked them at 450 removing dark brown pieces as I checked on them. The slices cooked around 30 minutes and the diced squash went for almost an hour. I wanted dark brown caramelization to happen. Here’s the cooked thinly sliced pieces. The super thin ones were crispy like chips. The diced squash was like a hash. The squash only made about 2 cups of cooked veggies. Butternut squash is a major winner in my book.
In completely unrelated news to vegetables, I’ve been receiving internship application confirmation emails. Basically this means that the hospital received my completed packet. Yesterday morning when I checked my mail after coming home from the rec, I had a letter from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. For a minute, I thought this could be my first interview offer. No such luck. It was my returned application check because they aren’t charging that fee this semester. That is a good thing, but it also means I’ll have to be patient a little longer.
“Seek joy in all things.”