My apologies for the long hiatus, dear readers. Within the span of three weeks, I started a new job and moved to a new apartment (because what’s the fun in only making one major life change at a time?) and have been trying to cut myself some slack on keeping up with blogging in order to stay focused on learning the ropes of both my new workplace and my new neighborhood. But I’m happy to say that I’m settling in to both at this point, so I’m picking back up some of the things that have fallen by the wayside over the past couple of months.
Anyway, I’m loving both these new parts of my life, so the past few days I’ve been itching to get back to the blogging world to tell you all about it. My boyfriend and I moved in together on the Hill near Eastern Market, and I know many of you have heard me raving about how much I adore this neighborhood. It feels like a small town, with young families pushing strollers down the tree-lined brick sidewalks and saying hello to each other as they pass. Everyone knows everyone at the local bars. I’ve had neighbors actually introduce themselves to me already — when I lived in Bethesda, we were almost moving out before we met any of our neighbors.
And then there’s the market. I’ve mentioned it before — it was always a fun Sunday activity to take a long walk over and pick up some fresh produce for the week — but I always regretted how infrequently I had time to devote to the trip. I only went once when I lived in Bethesda, and maybe four or five times when I lived in Chinatown. But now I can pop over anytime for a couple of things or make a big cup of coffee in the morning and go wander the aisles for something delicious. It’s always been one of my favorite places in DC, but the accessibility and comfortable familiarity I have with it now that I live here takes it to the top of the list.
Yesterday I headed over towards the end of the day when a lot of the booths were closing up shop and grabbed a few things from my two favorite vendors. This cold snap has me craving roasted winter veggies again, so I got parsnips, carrots, onions and butternut squash and roasted them in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper. There are a couple of things I love about doing this: 1) I’ll have delicious veggies at the ready all week (duh); 2) It’s versatile — you can use whatever veggies are in season or you have on hand or need to use up; 3) The oven warms up the apartment and makes it smell amazing; 4) My boyfriend smells said delicious aromas and demands to know what is producing them, then is flabbergasted to find out it’s just vegetables with olive oil. (We have an ongoing argument about the deliciousness of vegetables, and I savor these small wins.)
Here’s how it’s done:
salt and pepper
Around 3-5 pounds of vegetables of your choice. I used:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 3 carrots
- 1 parsnip
- 1 medium onion
In the past, I’ve also used sweet potato, beets and yellow squash, but this could literally include anything — cauliflower and broccoli, potatoes, peppers of any color, cherry tomatoes… use your imagination and what’s in season.
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Peel and chop all the vegetables as you like. Make the chunks uniform in size so they cook evenly. For onions, I like to slice them and try to keep them in their circles or in long spears so they don’t burn right away. And if you’re using beets, roast them whole first and then cut them up — if they go in with everything else, they’ll dye it all purple. (This article has some tips for how to roast the beets whole.)
3. Put all the chopped veggies in a big bowl. I also like to keep a second bowl on the counter to hold the food scraps as I’m peeling and chopping, then I’ll dump it at the end when it’s full for easy cleanup.
4. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Mix them together to coat them evenly. I recommend adding the oil a little at a time so they’re not overly greasy — you want them coated, but not dripping with oil.
5. Spread them evenly on a large baking sheet and put them in the oven.
6. Roast for 10-15 minutes, then check on them and use a spatula to move them around a bit so they don’t burn on the bottom.
Note: Be very careful when you’re opening the oven and moving them around — they tend to lose water and produce a lot of steam as they cook down, so don’t put your face right next to the open oven door or stick your hand in there until the steam building up has escaped.
7. Keep checking on them every 10 minutes or so to make sure they’re not burning and to move them around. The time it takes to cook will vary depending on how large the chunks were when you cut them, but it usually takes mine at least half an hour to 45 minutes. Take them out when they’re browned and soft.
Serves 4-6, or 1-2 with leftovers for the week.
You can serve these hot with the entree of your choice, or just by themselves, and I actually like just eating them cold out of the fridge as well. I usually make a big pan on the weekends and then heat them up for lunch throughout the week.