I LOVE fall. It is my favorite season by far. People ridicule me for this, but it bounces of of me like rain off my REI raincoat.
I’m in Seattle, so fall means rain. OK, most seasons mean rain, but fall means steady, soft, and unrelenting rain. We don’t get too many crazy storms like most of the rest of the country sees. And I like that. We have no storm shelter, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, not even many earthquakes. What we do have is constant gray skies, and lots of rain.
We also have some amazing winter veggies. Squash, carrots, and kale are my favorites. And of course, there are the apples. Most people shy away from squash and kale. I think the possibility of bitterness, and the unfamiliarity are the main reasons.
A few years ago we got a winter CSA produce box delivered, and I learned quickly how to cook beets, kale, and a wide variety of squash. They can actually be quite sweet and tasty if cooked correctly.
I found roasting to be the best method to bring out the sweetness and depth of flavor of the squash and also of beets. Fennel, turnips, and most roots vegetables taste great just tossed with some olive oil and generous amounts of salt and pepper.
HOW TO ROAST ROOT VEGETABLES AND WINTER SQUASH
Crank your oven up to 400 Fahrenheit (don’t be scared!), chop up your root veggies evenly. Most you don’t have to peel. Just wash really well.
I like to make them about 2-3 times bite size. You’ll get the hang of this part over time. Too small and they shrink up, too big and you don’t get them carmelized and cooked through. Put them in a bowl and toss with a lot of olive oil, salt and pepper. I wouldn’t recommend much more in the way of spices. I sometimes will add one extra spice to compliment what I’m serving it with (italian spice, curry, rosemary, even adding some whole garlic cloves).
You can also peel and chop up most kinds of squash and roast similarly. I usually just cut squash in half, spoon out the seeds, rub them in olive oil and drizzle with maple syrup (this caramelizes beautifully!). I’m too lazy to peel a squash.
Put it on a pan lined with tin foil, and stick it in the oven. The time usually ranges from 30-45 minutes depending on the veggie and how big they are cut. You will want to roast them until they are very soft and browned on the edges.
And voila! You have a healthy, delicious, and in season vegetable in the middle of winter. Packed to the brim with vitamins and minerals.
I hope someday you learn to love squash and the more shunned vegetables as well. I think they might be feeling a bit lonely in that produce aisle and have been longing to come home with you.
I have this amazing squash soup recipe to share with you soon! Stay tuned…
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