Time for a Root Re-Boot!
How many of you think of carrots as the ubiquitous “diet” carrot sticks or to “cooked to mush” carrots from out childhoods? What about beets? I never even knew beets came from anywhere but a can until I was in my twenties! No wonder I hated beets! And parsnips? What the heck is a parsnip and do people actually eat those ugly things??? Well, I’m here to tell you….root veggies rock! But, as always, it’s ALL in the prep, baby.
A quick question? With ALL the veggie choices available at the market today, why should anyone even bother/care?
1. Root veggies are a FRESH LOCAL veggie choice available in the winter. You can reduce your carbon footprint by making root veggies a choice rather than veggies trucked 2,000 miles or flown in from South America.
2. Fresh produce- particularly beets- have much higher levels of Vitamin C and Folate- than the canned.
3. You can eat the beets tops as well as the bottoms.
4. Veggies taste better fresh!
So let’s assume you been to the Winter Farmer’s Market and purchased some of these root veggies or you received some in your Organics to You box this last week and you aren’t sure what else to do with them except to- gasp!- boil the daylights out of them. STOP! Check out this stupid simple method first. It’s so good…you’ll never go back to boiling water. Heh.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Get out a glass or ceramic baking dish that will hold about the quantity of veggies you want to cook. Pour in several tablespoons GOOD QUALITY organic extra virgin olive oil. Peel carrots and parsnips and cut into chunks. Salt the mix of veggies with a sprinkle of sea salt and mix well with a spoon- or better- with clean hands- until all the pieces are covered in olive oil evenly. Place in oven to bake and set timer for 20 minutes. When timer goes off, stir the veggies so different surfaces are exposed to the hot air. Total cooking time: about 40 minutes.
If you are adding beets, cut the tops off the beets and save them to cook for another dish later. Cut off the loooong root. Wrap the beet in aluminum foil and place in the oven with the cut sides UP as this beet is going to leak. (Think sweet potatoes.) The bigger the beets, the longer they take to bake…but they take about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Take out of the oven and place on an ovenproof plate until cool enough to handle. When they have cooled, the outside layer will peel right off easily with a paring knife (practically slips off.) Slice into quarters and add to your other roots. Mix around a bit so the olive oil gets all over the beets as well. Bake for another 10 minutes or until hot. Serve.
The heat caramelizes the sugars and makes these veggies a decadent treat. Now, if our mother’s had been feeding us these back in the day, I DON’T think we’d have been feeding these to the dog under the table! Speaking of dogs….our Papillion goes completely nuts over carrots and will sit in front of the oven and bark because he knows what’s in there! I gotta get a picture! lolol