Roasted Vegetable Platter

Whew!! It’s been a long long time! This time of year always throws me. My to-do list gets longer and longer and my motivation for creative endeavors dwindles as my focus becomes day to day health and wellness and powering through the holiday hangover. Ever since I was very young, I have been especially in tune with the seasons and how they change my outlook on life, even in California when it can feel like summer all year long. I know I’m not alone in this January blues–there is something stagnant about this time of year no matter where you live. A friend and mentor described this beginning of the year, middle of winter phenomenon as “Januaryitis” and I couldn’t agree more. The only way I’ve found to snap out of it is to bite the bullet and begin planning and creating once more, allowing for new ideas to flow. At first, it’s painful to pull myself away from watching Saturday Night Live reruns after a long, rainy day, but eventually I get up and start by doing small things like organizing my bookshelf or getting rid of old clothes. Next, in a window of sunshine, I’ll take a walk, then come home and make a batch of bone broth and chicken soup. And suddenly. Bam! The inspiration is back and I remember how much I love cooking and sharing recipes. So here I am with a very simple guide to my favorite way to prepare veggies. I’ve included roast veggies in posts before, but I wanted to do a comprehensive guide to many kinds.

P. S. I’m working on launching a new website for my work as a Nutritional Therapist. It’s been in the works for about a month now and I’m planning on publishing the most basic form of it by the end of the month. I’m excited for this new endeavor! If you know anyone looking to make changes in diet and lifestyle or address a health or digestive concern, please send them my way. I will post the link on this site once the new site is live.

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Ingredients:

I large head cauliflower

5 large yams or sweet potatoes

5 large yukon gold potatoes

6 medium zucchini

2 large heads broccoli

3 bell peppers of any color

plenty of olive oil

salt and pepper

herbs of your choosing–rosemary, oregano and thyme are great, as well as a dash of chili flakes

Preheat oven to 400 F

For cauliflower: Cut the stem and leaves off the head of cauliflower. Next, set it on its end where the stem joins the florets and cut into slabs as if you are cutting a loaf of bread. Cut each slab into bit sized pieces. Place pieces in a colander and rinse well. Dry with  clean dish cloth or paper towel. Put the cauliflower pieces in a large bowl with 3 Tbs olive oil (yes, that seems like a lot, but this is a lot of cauliflower and enough oil is key here) and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and spread out so that none of the pieces are on top of one another. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then flip each piece to brown on the other side. Bake 20 more minutes. Cauliflower should be cripsy and golden brown.

For yams/ sweet potatoes: Scrub well. Leave skins on if using organic. Cut off the end, cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise again. Cut into quarter-moon pieces about 1/4 inch think. Toss in a bowl with 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a large baking dish for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

For potatoes: Here’s where the herbs come into play. Scrub potatoes and cut in the same way as the sweet potatoes. Toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs of your choosing. Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

For zucchini: Wash, dry and cut off ends. Cut in half lengthwise and then into half-moons. Toss with 1 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper, pour into a baking dish and roast 25-35 minutes, stirring halfway through.

For broccoli: Rinse and dry, cut off very end, but then cut rest of stem and roast along with florets. Cut head of broccoli into bite-sized florets. Toss with 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

For peppers: Wash and dry. Cut in half and remove stem and pith. Cut into 1/4-1/3 inch strips. Toss with 1 Tbs olive oil, salt and pepper, Roast on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Arrange all veggies on a platter when done! Serve and enjoy!

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Bright, “Sweet Home” Tomato Salad

I’ve been packing and on the road for the past week and arrived at my new apartment in Seattle this past Wednesday afternoon. On my drive up, I stopped at Sweet Home Ranch, a family friend’s farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. This special spot is the orchard of my father’s college roommate, Paul Buxman, a farmer and painter whose life revolves around stone fruit and zealous community building. The farm was a childhood second home to me and each time I stop over for a night, it’s as if no time has passed. My stay was all too brief this time around, but we managed to squeeze in two glorious meals full of treats from the garden. My contribution to our dinner was this salad made with stunning tomatoes from their garden and cucumbers from the neighbors. When produce is this fresh, simplicity wins.

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Ingredients:

8 large, ripe, fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges

3 large english cucumber, cut into half rounds

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

salt

pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

oregano

thyme

 

Combine the veggies in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and herbs, salt and pepper to your liking. Toss gently with the veggies. And that’s it!!

 

Serves 4-6.

 

Monday Greens: Salad and Kale Chips

I figure Monday is a good time to promote veggie recipes. Maybe you drank a bit too much on Saturday night or you had a bunch of pastries on Sunday. I personally always seem to find myself feeling that Sunday is just a pastry kind of day. So Monday is a good time to lighten up–give your system a little rest with some super simple, bright, and flavorful recipes that highlight market vegetables. First, my tried and true recipe for any green salad. I like tomatoes and avocados in my salad this time of year in California, but try anything! Last week at the Altadena Farmer’s Market, I did sliced raw beets and blood oranges in a green salad and used market lemons and honey in my dressing. I’m including my dressing recipe here. I’ve been perfecting it over the years and I got plenty of positive feedback at the market so I want everyone to know just how simple it is! I’m also including my kale chip recipe because it takes no time at all and is a great way to get everyone to eat kale–even people who swear they don’t like kale! Baking transforms it.

Early Summer Green Salad with Honey Lemon Dijon Dressing:

Ingredients to serve 4-6:

1 head lettuce of your choice or 1/2 lb mixed baby greens

1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into cubes

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

*really anything else you want in a salad should go in here

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

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Summer’s Bounty

Prepare lettuce in your favorite bowl with your favorite fixings. Lightly salt the salad before dressing it. For dressing, combine mustard, hone, lemon juice and balsamic in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and see if you like the balance of sweet to spicy to sour. Adjust accordingly. Gradually whisk in the oil to emulsify. Pour over salad. Toss and enjoy!!

World’s Easiest Kale Chips:

1 head curly green or purple kale (don’t use Lacinato (Tuscan) or Red Russian kale–results are a bit odd)

1.5 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

garlic powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dry kale. Rip leaves off stems and break into bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches in diameter). Arrange leaves onto a baking sheet (you’ll want to make sure your baking sheet has a rim). Drizzle oil over the kale and turn the kale over with your hands, moving it around until each piece has a thin coating of olive oil. Salt and pepper kale to your liking and add garlic powder if you want. Pop into the oven for no more than 15 minutes on the middle rack. You’ll want to check on it every two minutes after the first five minutes because it can burn quickly. But, if you catch it before it burns, the end result is perfectly crispy, salty and barely oily chips that hardly resemble the leafy green bundle they were twenty minutes early.

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Veg done right