Thursday, April 17, 2008

cooking with chaos

Many thanks to my friend a. for mentioning maple syrup as a good sweetener for yogurt and other baby foods, and thus inspiring the following recipe.  

Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables

I used carrots and sweet potatoes in this recipe because that's what I had on hand, but I think almost any root vegetable would be good prepared this way--I'd like to try parsnips, rutabaga, and maybe some shallots too.

2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder
1 T maple syrup (we like the more strongly flavored Grade B for this sort of cooking)
4 medium cloves of garlic
1/2 of a large Spanish onion
1 medium sweet potato
3 medium carrots

First, as you read over the list of ingredients above, recognize that the precision of measurements is somewhat artificial and could just as easily read "two large glugs," "one smaller glug," etc.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Place the olive oil, salt, spices, and maple syrup in a rectangular baking dish and stir with a spatula to combine.  

Peel and roughly chop the garlic.  Peel, trim, and roughly chop the onion.  Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Peel and trim the carrots, and cut into chunks roughly the same size as the sweet potatoes.

Add the vegetables to the baking dish and toss with the spatula to coat with the olive oil mixture.  Put in the oven.  When your sweetie comes home from work, suggest that these veggies would be good with some guacamole made with that last avocado that really needs to be used up.

Realize in a panic that it's past time for the baby's bath, so stir the vegetables quickly before going to start the water.  Give the baby her bath. Afterwards, consider asking your sweetie to keep an eye on the vegetables, but decide against it because he seems so dang grumpy, and you've already asked him to make guacamole.  Instead, hope he might think of giving the vegetables a stir or two on his own, and go put the baby to bed.

Once the baby is asleep, re-enter the kitchen to the following peeved query from your sweetie: "So what's happening with these vegetables?"  Realize that your sweetie is not in fact a mind-reader and has not stirred the vegetables.  Cover up your panic with an airy statement to the effect that, "Oh, they're probably about done."  Remove the vegetables from the oven, stir them up to coat with the caramelized olive oil and maple syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan, and decide that they're just about perfect after all.

So, officially, that's roast at 375 F for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.

Roasted Vegetable Burritos

1 recipe Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables
2 burrito-size tortillas
A couple ounces grated cheese
Sour cream
Guacamole made from 1 medium Hass avocado

Tortilla + vegetables, sprinkle with cheese, top with sour cream, roll up.  Put the guacamole on top.  Enjoy the little nuggets of caramelized garlic and the fact that you really can taste the maple syrup in the vegetables.  Use dinner as an opportunity, after the grumpy chaos of earlier in the evening, for you and your sweetie each to say that you appreciate everything the other does around here, and realize that you actually mean it.

Serves 2, with a few vegetables left over for the baby to try.

Monkey enjoyed a few cubes of roasted carrot and sweet potato the next day--she didn't talk to them quite as enthusiastically as she does with Cheerios, but she seemed to like them pretty well.


Anonymous said...

that sounds delicious! I will definitely try maple syrup in the yogurt, as well as the root vegetable recipe.

- hilary

S. said...

Fun! Tell me how the yogurt goes over--I haven't tried that yet myself. Or rather, herself.