Early Fall Roasted Vegetables, E.A.T. # 19

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Coming home with a sack of leftover vegetables is not unusual for me. At the end of many of my food styling projects there are often random vegetables left over…one red bell pepper, one onion, a few new potatoes, a lemon, a handful of beautiful okra and a box of arugula along with a half carton of heirloom baby tomatoes were the recent jewels….I just cannot bear to leave them unused and wasted.

The last thing I really want to do at the end of a long day is cook at home after cooking all day while working. But roasting vegetables isn’t really cooking…it is a technique that requires little effort and the reward is a healthy, colorful,  relaxing, easy-as-this dinner.

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Oven turned to 400 degrees. Longer cooking vegetables go in first after being tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper…..

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….quicker cooking vegetables added to the pan halfway through cook time along with a sprinkling of Herbes de Provence. Easy enough to make your own or purchase at most supermarkets or on-line.

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Eat healthy and be well.

Early Fall Roasted Vegetables

  • Difficulty: easy-as-this
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Ingredients:

  • any random selection of vegetables, rinsed & roughly chopped
  • suggestions: new potatoes, red bell peppers, heirloom cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, okra pods, asparagus, onions, beets, cauliflower, broccoli…whatever you have
  • olive oil
  • sea salt or kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • arugula leaves or baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss roughly chopped vegetables in olive oil, salt & black pepper.
  3. Spread vegs that take longer to cook out on a baking sheet & roast for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add vegs that take less time to cook to pan. Sprinkle over all with Herbes de Provence.
  4. Return pan to oven and roast another 12 minutes. Remove pan from oven.
  5. Serve roasted vegetables with a dusting of grated Parmesan and fresh greens.

Teresa Blackburn    www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

Romanesco Cauliflower Soup Dressed with Za’atar

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Late last year…December to be exact….I was pushing my cart through Whole Foods shopping for a photo shoot. There is always a sense of urgency about this type of grocery store foray…time is of the essence…the quicker I get this done, and done well, the sooner I can be finished for the day….when out of the corner of my eye, while rolling out of produce toward seafood, I saw a display of stunning chartreuse Romanesco Cauliflowers. The brakes went on…I backed up…I was once again entranced by a vegetable! Such moments have often played out while I am shopping for one thing when I totally become obsessed by another thing…usually as in this case the exotic, the beautiful and the artful.

Looking more like an exotic creature of the sea than of terra firma these cauliflowers must make all others jealous. I call them the Cinderella of Cauliflowers!

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 I usually shy away from soups with lots of cream but for this soup just a splash was perfect.

Roasted Romanesco with garlic clove, shallots & olive oil to soften & bring out the flavor.

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I topped our bowls of soup off with another recent culinary love, Za’atar. This Middle Eastern spice mix is getting added to everything I cook these days. This little obsession began a few months ago while eating at one of my favorite Nashville restaurants, Epice. Among other dishes they add it to little bowls of dipping oil for the bread they serve. Then my friend Nancy Vienneau served roasted head of cauliflower with a generous dusting of Za’atar this past New Year’s Eve. Two delicious experiences with Za’atar in one month!

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Have you ever tasted Za’atar? It is at times a spice and a condiment. An earthy mixture of sumac berries, marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano, white sesame seeds & crunchy sea salt that is equally good smeared on a chicken or vegetables to roast. You can easily find it at most import groceries or, as I did, on-line.

A light sprinkle of Za’atar  & Gruyere Cheese…..

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Are you drawn to foods you have never cooked before? The exotic? Do you ever become obsessed with a comestible? What do you think this says about me…or you?

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Romanesco Cauliflower Dressed with Za'atar

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 head of Romanesco Cauliflower (or any other Cauliflower will be fine), cut into florets
  • 6 shallots, peeled & cut into pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup cream or half & half
  • 2 Tbsp Za’atar (divided)
  • Shredded Gruyere Cheese for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets, shallot pieces & garlic cloves on a large baking sheet pan.. Drizzle with olive oil & toss to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper & sea salt.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes or until florets are softened, but not browned. Remove pan from oven.
  4. Add roasted vegetables along with the chicken stock to a pot. Cook over medium high heat until vegetables are softened. Remove pan from heat & let mixture cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Put pureed mixture back into pan and reheat on low right before serving.
  6. Stir in 1 Tbsp of the  Za’atar while reheating soup.
  7. Add cream right before serving. Stir well. Remove from heat.
  8. To serve garnish each bowl with a light sprinkling of the remaining Za’atar & shredded Gruyere.

teresablackburnfoodstyling.com         foodonfifth.com

 

“Roasted Root Vegetable Slab Pie in a Gluten-Free Corn Flour Crust”

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“Roasted Root Vegetable Slab Pie with a Gluten-free Corn Flour Crust”

Purple & deep red sweet potatoes, white parsnips, turnips shaded from lavender to white, onions of all sorts, beets from golden to deep purple, variegated fingerlings potatoes, tri-color carrots……..I am obsessed with the abundance piled gloriously in the farmer’s markets. They glow as the sun sets and I choose a few of each to roast for this pie.

One of the things I love about photographing food for my blog this time of year is the soft blue cast that seems to be ever-present. It reminds me of North Sea light or a bright snowy day.

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Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornflour was the base for this crispy crust. Some Gruyere shredded, softened herb goat cheese dollops & thyme leaves added to the mix. Very easy dough to make in the processor & simple to press into a baking sheet pan while the vegs are roasting.

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People often ask me if I do a lot of cooking at home. Although I am surrounded by food every day in my job as  a food stylist we still eat at home most nights. I cook very simple foods like this pie that can be eaten for a couple of nights with a change in the salad to accompany it. This is the sort of recipe I make on a Saturday or Sunday for supper. Easy & quick using fresh vegetables with a bit of cheese baked in a very simple crust. Salads and more salads at least 4 nights a week as the stand alone entrée. One day I will blog on our “variations on the salad” which are the basis of most of our meals.

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Parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic cloves & baby red potatoes slightly roasted & scattered across the bottom of the cheese topped dough.

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Baked  with slices of Feta cheese on top. Freshly ground black pepper & crunchy sea salt.

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Cut into slabs, eaten warm with a simple green salad & a glass of wine for a November supper.

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Roasted Root Vegetable Slab Pie in a Gluten Free Corn Flour Crust

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients for crust:

  • 2 cups gluten-free corn flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
  • 1/2  stick butter cut into small pieces & frozen
  • 1 egg
  • ice water

Ingredients for roasted vegetables:

  • 2 parsnips, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 6 baby new potatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper cut into thick slivers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese (divided)
  • 4 ounces softened herb goat cheese
  • 4 to 6 ounces Feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place all the chunked vegs & garlic cloves on a sheet pan. Drizzle on a few tablespoons of olive oil, black pepper & sea salt. Toss well.
  3. Bake vegs just until al dente. About 12 minutes. Remove from oven to cool a bit. Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
  4. While the vegs are roasting make the crust. Put the corn flour in the bowl of a food processor along with the pinch of sea salt & thyme leaves. Pulse a few times to mix.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of the Gruyere shreds & cold butter pieces to the bowl and pulse until the mixture becomes grainy.
  6. Add the egg & pulse a few times. Drizzle in the ice water until a soft dough forms. Scrape dough from the processor bowl. Form into a flatten dough ball, wrap in plastic and chill while vegs are cooling or for about 15 minutes.
  7. Press chilled dough into the bottom and up the sides of a baking sheet pan using your fingers.
  8. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese over the bottom of the crust & top with dollops of the softened herbed goat cheese.
  9. Scatter the roasted vegs over the cheeses & top with pieces of Feta cheese.
  10. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the crust browns & vegs are softened. Serve hot or warm with a side salad of arugula or baby kale & a glass of your favorite wine. A good way to end a November weekend, with some leftovers for later in the week.

Note: This would also be great cut into smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer during the Holidays. Add chunks of butternut squash or pumpkin.

This was my first time using corn flour to make a savory pie crust. It is like a shortbread crust rather than a flakey crust which was really great with the roasted sweetness of the root vegs.

“Rustic Ratatouille Tart for the January Dark” (Gluten Free)

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“The days are short, The sun a spark Hung thin between The dark and dark. (Poem by John Updike, “January”)

January has been a month of extreme cold & many sunless days. It has been a month of long days for me on photo shoots..arising before dawn and returning home way after dark. It has been a month to test the hearty, tire out the tireless and make us all yearn for lighter times.

In January I crave homey foods such as rich hot soups, winter greens salads with crusty homemade croutons, roasted vegetables of any kind topped with crumbly cheeses.  Comfort foods that are easy to make but complex in flavor…dishes that I can whip up from whatever is in the pantry & refrigerator at any given time…dinners that require no grocery runs or long lists of ingredients.

Ratatouille Tart

This gluten-free “Rustic Ratatouille Tart”  is one such dish. It is quick and easy, full of roasted vegetables encased in a whole grain crust and topped with a good feta cheese…a pretty perfect meal for a dark winter evening.

Ingredients: Grape or Cherry tomatoes, Squash of any type, Onions, Bell Peppers, Garlic Cloves  (or use whatever you happen to have on hand such as potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, etc.) cut vegetables into bite size pieces except for tomatoes & garlic cloves

Olive oil, Herbs de Provence (recipe for making at home here)  or Italian Seasoning, Salt & Black Pepper

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère Cheese

1/2 cup good quality Feta Cheese

For whole grain pie crust: 1 1/4 c.  King Arthur gluten-free whole grain flour blend + 1/4 tsp salt +  7 tbsp cold butter cut into small pieces + 1 cold egg

1 egg + 1 tbsp water whisked together for brushing on crust before baking

whole wheat crust & vegetables to roast

Directions:

1. For pie crust mix flour & salt together in a food processor. Add cold butter cut into small pieces. Pulse until mixed somewhat. Add 1 egg to processor, pulsing as you add, until dough forms into a ball. Remove from processor, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic & chill until ready to roll out. (This only takes a few minutes to make. A store-bought crust works just fine too.)

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place vegetables on a sheet pan. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle Herbs de Provence, salt & black pepper over all. Roast for about 15 minutes just until tomatoes collapse & other vegetables are still firm. Remove pan from oven. Set aside to cool somewhat. Turn oven to 350 degrees.

3. On a flat surface dusted with additional whole grain flour roll dough out to a circle about 14 inches in diameter. Edges can be ragged and uneven. A gluten-free crust is not as “elastic” as a high gluten flour crust, more like a short-bread crust.

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4. Sprinkle crust with shredded Gruyère Cheese. Pile roasted vegetables over cheese,  leaving a 2″ edge all around uncovered.

shredded Gruyere over crustroasted vegs on crust

5. Gently fold edges of crust up and over the vegetables leaving  center open. Brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle feta crumbles over vegetables. Transfer tart to a baking sheet covered with parchment & bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp.

Pie crust filled with vegs

Ratatouille Tart

Stay Warm. Keep it simple. Eat well.

Baby it’s cold outside!

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