Posted by: Rachael | October 12, 2010

The time has come – oven roasting is back!

So I’ve already clearly established that fall is my favorite season. Whether it’s taking a trip to the apple orchard, tailgating at a college football game, carving pumpkins with friends, snuggling up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa, or cooking up some hearty, comforting dishes, there’s no shortage of fun activities to partake in this season.

One of the only things I don’t like about fall is that it starts to get cold and dark….fast. As I write this post, it’s already getting to be dusk and it’s only 5:30pm. Not cool! This is probably something I should be used to by now considering that I live in Upstate NY, but still, I don’t like it. However, I consider myself the eternal optimist and there is indeed a silver lining here. It’s officially that time of year when I can turn on the oven at high heat for an extended period of time and NOT melt to death in my apartment.

Yes folks – until now, anytime my oven was set to 300° or more, there was a good chance that either the fire alarm would go off or that I would end up a sweaty mess reminiscent of the Wicked Witch of the West. Well, those days are officially over. In my CSA box this week, I got a bunch of root veggies and a baby butternut squash that were just begging to be roasted. I couldn’t resist the urge…and I am happy to report that the roasting went off without a hitch! I almost forgot what it’s like to be in the kitchen without my hair pulled back and a soaking wet sweatband on my head!

The best part was that my roasted veggies were a delicious success and so simple to make. Let me show you what I did! First, here’s a look at what I started with:

  • One small [but lovely] butternut squash
  • Two turnips
  • Two onions, one red and one yellow
  • A granny smith apple [not pictured]
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Parmesan herb seasoning powder [love, love, love]
  • A sprig of thyme

These just happened to be the ingredients I had on hand, but you could definitely substitute whatever you’ve got in your fridge at the moment. I’m sure this would be delicious with any kind of squash [except spaghetti squash], or even with sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. If you can cut it into cubes and roast it, throw it in!

Once I cubed all my ingredients, I tossed them in a big mixing bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt & pepper, the pumpkin pie spice and the Parmesan herb seasoning. Doesn’t it look yummy already! Oh, I almost forgot – at this point you should be pre-heating your oven to 425°. Don’t forget to do that – it’s the most important part!

After you shake it around a bit and get everything coated, pour the veggies out onto an aluminum baking or roasting pan. I had to use two of these trays to fit everything in the oven at once. Make sure you spread the veggies out in a thin, even layer. You don’t want to crowd them too much or they won’t roast evenly.

You can always add more seasonings now before you pop it in the oven. I gave it a few more cracks of black pepper and another pinch of salt. I’m sure this would also be delicious with some chile powder or cumin in the mix. Really, the spices you choose for this are totally up to you. That’s why this dish is great – it’s completely customizable!

Don’t forget your thyme! I almost did! I just broke this bundle apart and split it between the two trays to get the aromatics out of it. You could also sprinkle the leaves on top of the veggies if you want more thyme flavor blended in. Once you’re finished seasoning, pop these guys in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes, tossing halfway through. Mine took closer to 50 minutes, but that’s because I wanted my butternut squash really tender. As soon as it was done, I piled a heaping portion of the veggies on top of some lettuce and radicchio from my CSA, topped it with crumbled goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, and cashews, and went to town!

Holy delicious! The combination of the pumpkin pie spice, olive oil and the roasted veggies that were both mushy and crunchy at the same time was phenomenal! I’m declaring this foray into oven roasted vegetables the first non-melting success of the season! I will definitely be making this on a weekly basis now that the danger of overheating in my apartment has passed!

After I filled up on my fiber, I took myself outside for a lovely 3 mile run. It was just before dark and the air was perfect – cool and crisp and perfect for a quick jog- just like it should be this time of year. Now’ I’m curling up on my comfy couch for some much needed R&R with a blanky and two of my fall favorites:

A heaping mug of equal exchange green tea…

And Martha Stewart Living….with [surprise surprise] more bright ideas for fall fun! Can’t wait to dive in! Have a wonderful Tuesday night! =)

P.S. Don’t judge the Gossip Girl mug. What can I say, I used to be an avid fan. And let’s be honest, that mug holds a lot of tea!

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