I guess it’s just human nature, but we humans tend to take everyday things for granted, and you don’t really appreciate something until you don’t have it. We just assume things we need or want will always be there, like they had nothing better to do. That would be the case for me with vegetables. Really, how much time in my life have I devoted to thinking about a vegetable? None! I’ve never cared about their well-being, or thanked them for their years of service. I just always assumed they would always be there, just waiting for ME. Oh, how self-centered.
I broach this topic because I spent the last week visiting a small island in the Caribbean that did not grow its own vegetables. We were told that all the island’s produce had to be flown in from different places. No matter were we went to eat, lettuce was brown, cucumbers were mushy, and tomatoes had no right to call themselves tomatoes. After about day 4, my body was going through a vitamin A withdrawal. Somebody help me, please, I need my soluble fiber!
Well, when I finally returned home I vowed I would never take one of my yellow, orange or green friends for granted anymore. I made myself a batch of these Roasted Carrots with Honey and Thyme, which by the way is a favorite annual side-dish on my Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Carrots with Honey & Thyme
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh, minced thyme
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped, crystallized ginger (optional, but I love the spicy sweetness it adds)
- sea salt and fresh, ground pepper to taste
- Peel and trim tops off carrots. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
- Lay carrots on a metal rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over. Toss to coat carrots completely.
- Sprinkle carrots with the thyme, crystallized ginger, salt and pepper. Drizzle honey over top.
- Toss carrots to completely incorporate the ingredients.
- Roast on the center rack in the oven at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until you can pierce the carrots with a sharp knife.
- Serve immediately.
Make sure that all your carrots are of equal thickness to insure that the vegetables roast evenly. If some carrots are thicker, just cut them in half.
To make your dish more visually appealing, see if your local produce market sells the multi-colored or rainbow carrots. They’re just more fun!
It’s a gloomy, rainy Sunday here in sunny Southern California. I actually love it this way. Thanksgiving is only four days away and the damp, chilly air is bringing back memories of former Thanksgivings growing up on the east coast. The word that comes to mind when I think of this holiday is “home”. When I went away to college and then when I moved to Los Angeles, I always went “home” for Thanksgiving to my parents house. No matter how busy everyone’s lives were, we always came together for Thanksgiving.
It’ funny, because I’m not really big on holidays. Halloween and Valentine’s Day are just another day to me. But Thanksgiving is a holiday that has a special place in my heart. It just does.
I wanted to share this roasted root vegetable dish. It’s very easy to make, doesn’t require a lot of time, and the results are quite delicious. Roasting these vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. There’s no exact measurements here as you can make this for 2 people or ten.
Roasted Root Vegetables
- baby carrots, peeled
- beets, any color, peeled and sliced into 1″ slices
- parsnips, peeled, cut into 1″ slices
- leeks, white part only, cut into 1″ slices
- onion, cut into 1″ slices
- yukon gold potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″ slices
- olive oil
- salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- rosemary, finely chopped
- garlic, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place all the vegetables in a baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, enough to coat all the vegetables. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss.
- Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take dish out and toss vegetables with the garlic and rosemary. Place dish back in oven uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, or until you can pierce the vegetables with a fork. Do not over-bake, you don’t want the vegetables too soft.
I was in Target the other day and I had to laugh to myself. We’re just a few days past Halloween and already the store is adorned in Christmas decorations. I walked over to that area and the aisles are stocked with wrapping paper, ornaments and lights. It’s eighty degrees in Los Angeles, the leaves haven’t even started to fall, and I’m not ready to muster up that holiday spirit just yet.
I am however, in the early stages of Thanksgiving preparations. I’m starting to ponder what dishes I will make this year. Every holiday I like to add a new dish to my repertoire. I do have some creative ideas for desserts I’ve never done before, but then there are those family favorite dishes which will always remain a fixture in my Thanksgiving dinner. For the past 30 years I’ve made my Aunt Evelyn’s sweet potato and apple casserole topped with marshmallows. I loved it as a kid and my two sons dig into it as soon as I place it on table.
Growing up in the sixties I remember my mother serving cranberry sauce with our turkey. I can still picture that Ocean Spray can and the gelatinous, cylindrical shaped cranberry concoction that came out of it. (It should be noted that my mother is a very good cook, except for the cranberry sauce). For many years I believed that was the only way you could eat cranberry sauce. About five years ago I decided to give the cranberry a second chance, and I’m glad I did.
This cranberry sauce is so good, I just eat it out of the container for several days after the holiday. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s spicy! Just say no to the can.
Autumn Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- 1/2 orange
- 2 cups water
- 1 tart apple, Granny Smith or Pippin
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Squeeze the juice from the 1/2 orange and set aside. Remove and discard the membrane and pith (the white part) from the inside of the orange and cut the rind into a very small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Peel, core and quarter the appale. Cut into a 1/2 inch dice and place in a medium saucepan. Sort the cranberries and discard any soft ones. Add cranberries to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, about 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for one hour. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.