Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eat your (Roasted) Vegetables!!!

My sister-in-law recently asked me for advice on cooking vegetables for kids.

If you've picked up anything about me from reading this blog, you'll know that I have a husband. Although he sometimes acts like a kid, he's not one.

So...I don't really know anything about getting kids to eat their vegetables. But I can tell you, that when I do research for different recipes, I occasionally come across comments like, "My children devoured this!" or "I'll never cook this any other way--I hated the mushy vegetables my parents made as a child," or "My kids beg for this." I'm assuming there's some credit in the testimony of others.

Most of these astounding testimonies of vegetable-craving children have revolved around one cooking technique: roasting. I'll admit it, I am a huge advocate for roasting vegetables! Roasting is basically tossing the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper, and cooking vegetables in the oven at a high temperature (usually around 425 degrees) until they are slightly crispy. Depending on the vegetable, they will caramelize slightly in a way that brings out the natural sweetness.

Here are some of the vegetables that we have tried (and the extra herbs or spices that I toss in with the salt and pepper):

Broccoli (lemon juice or lemon pepper)
Cabbage (nutmeg)
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots and Parsnips (dill)
Sweet Potato Wedges
New Potato Wedges (rosemary)
Butternut Squash (rosemary)
Asparagus
Green Beans (herbes de provence)

Some vegetables that are on the docket: Cauliflower, Acorn Squash, Bell Peppers

Fall is one of the best times for roasting; most of the fall vegetables are roast-worthy. I'm not going to give you recipes for all of these vegetables (although the method stays the same, the cooking time varies)*. But I am going to encourage you to try this method**. See what your family likes. Our family likes the broccoli stems roasted, but we prefer the florets steamed in our traditional manner. My husband begs for roasted brussels sprouts all year long. I could roast butternut squash every night of the week and be happy. What does your family like? Try it and see.

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 whole butternut squash (3-4 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Peel and seed the squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the squash in a roasting pan and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.

Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.

Sprinkle with extra kosher salt and pepper to taste.

*Ina Garten is the queen of roasting. If you are looking for good recipes for roasting other vegetables, check out her recipes on Food Network. You can also just do a google search; there are tons of other bloggers out there eager to share their roasted vegetable recipes!

**Try roasting several times with the same vegetables, and don't give up! I recently read in Southern Living magazine that "it takes kids seven tries to change their picky ways."

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4 comments :

ruthanne said...

Hey dorothy! thanks for these tips! i just bought some butternut squash at the farmers market and was planning on roasting it but was going to wing it...now i don't have to worry about wasting any of my precious squash! i love reading your blog! hope y'all are doing well up in philly!

ruthanne

Sarah Barry Spooner said...

butternut squash looks beautiful. i'm going to try some next week.

great tips. we miss y'all.

megan said...

how in the world do you peel and cut a butternut squash? I tried it once and thought I was going to cut my fingers off. any suggestions? :)

Barefoot Belle said...

Ruthanne! How are you doing? It's been good seeing what you're up to on FB. I hope you enjoyed your butternut squash!

SB, miss y'all too. Can't wait to see you at Christmas.

Megan, I debated posting instructions. I came across a great step-by-step post the other day, here:
http://dishinanddishes.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/how-to-roast-butternut-squash/
That's pretty much the same way that I do it. I hope this helps!