C is for Cooking

C is for cooking.  I love to cook.  This is a fairly new thing for me.  I wasn’t taught to do much cooking as a kid; my involvement with dinner was relatively limited to setting the table and doing the dishes.  But when I graduated high school and moved to Seattle to go to college, I got on this handmade kick that came out of nowhere.  I wanted to learn to make everything, and from scratch.  I don’t really know why, it just felt really good to take piles of stuff and turn them into something.  I learned to make bread (sort of), soap, to crochet, and I started cooking. 

My love affair with food has grown slowly and steadily for the last 10 years.  When I got my first job in Seattle and started going to lunch with my coworkers, I was introduced to even more new foods and new flavors.  This meat-and-potatoes country gal is now cooking fancy-schmansy yummy nummy foods like flank steak, crepes, cheesecake, Vietnamese, Indian, and all sorts of delicious dishes with ingredients like curry, rice noodles, sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, chilies, lime juice, fresh ginger, caramelized onions, and oh….yum.  Fortunately, I have a very understanding and adventurous husband who says he is willing to try anything at least once, and has.  I’ve only had one flop so far, a broth-based soup with gobs of spinach and not much else.  It was very…green.  It was very yummy when I had it at Beth’s house, but in my kitchen it was a flop.

Some of my favorite recipe websites are Cooking Light Magazine’s, The Food Network’s, and Epicurious.  This weekend we hadn’t much food in the house at all, and of course we were very hungry, and I whipped up something that even made Chris say "I could be a vegetarian every now and then if I got to eat food like this."  It was sooooo good.

Roasted Harvest Vegetables

1 Yam or Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into 1.5" cubes
4 medium Red Potatoes, quartered
1/2 small Pumpkin (like Sugar Pie), peeled and cut into 1.5" cubes
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced 2" thick
1 Zucchini, sliced 2" thick
1 Onion, sliced 1/2" thick
1 Garlic head
2 T Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 loaf of yummy crusty bread

1.  Preheat oven to 425.
2.  Remove outer papery layers of garlic head, and slice off top 1/3 (don’t peel the cloves).  Drizzle with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and wrap with a double thickness of foil.  Set in the middle of a jelly roll pan.
3.  Arrange vegetables in a single layer in the pan around the garlic, placing the slices of onion toward the corners, and any thicker pieces of vegetables toward the middle.
4.  Drizzle with olive oil and chicken broth, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.  Toss to coat.
5.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until tender, taking out once to turn (and sprinkle with more olive oil, salt, and/or pepper to taste) after about 20 minutes.

Serve the vegetables with crusty bread, cheese, and fruit.  Unwrap the garlic from the foil, squeeze out the cloves, and eat with the vegetables, or spread over the crusty bread.  Experiment with different vegetables if you like, such as rutabega, turnip, parsnip, or different types of onion.  If you have any leftovers, heat them up the next day along with any leftover chicken broth, puree in a blender, add a little milk or cream, and season to taste, and you have a yummy, healthy autumn vegetable soup!

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