Actually, it's another dinner with vegetable-craving Marcy, and I set out to make that Braised Spring Vegetables dish again, and again, I was thwarted. Fairway was chervil-less, and I was really looking forward to cooking with chervil, as I have never tasted it before (that I know of) and was curious. So instead of doing another unsuccessful Upper West Side market crawl for chervil or trying to substitute some other herb, I decided to improvise, which led me to this Roast Fest.
Roasted Beets (p. 313)
Martha has a pretty interesting technique for roasting beets. It involves wrapping them in parchment-lined foil and roasting at 450° for 1.25 hours. Then comes one of Martha's extra-special tips: let the beets cool for a bit, then slap on some gloves (so as not to stain your hands) and peel the skins off with paper towels. It totally works! And you'll be happy you're wearing gloves because those beets are still hot.
Now here's the thing... when beets have been roasted, steamed almost, in foil packets, with their skins removed afterwards, there's just no sign of roasting char or brownness left on them. And when I think of the wonderful roasted beets I've eaten, they've all been browned. These beets tasted fine, good even, but I was a little disappointed that they were so smooth. I'm still giving Martha an A for the amazing skin-peeling trick. That rocked.
Roasted Broccoli (p. 313)
This was definitely the hit of the evening. Marcy likened it to some kind of crazy candy. Addictive, salty, crunchy vegetable candy. Defying all sense of moderation, I roasted the whole head of broccoli, stems and all. And I'm so glad I did, because we tore through that whole thing, no problem. The florets got a little crispy, which made for a nice crunch, and then, between the salt, pepper, oil, and natural broccoli goodness, it just tasted incredible! A homerun!
Need to get your kids to eat more vegetables? Serve them roasted broccoli! They'll be hooked!
Roasted Carrots (p. 313 Are you sensing a pattern here?)
Carrots roast up really well. Nothing much to say about this. They tasted great and looked beautiful.
Roasted Shallots (p. 313)
I happened to have a couple of these lying around, so I threw them in. What a treat! Marcy thought they tasted sweet. Again, nothing much to say but: Yum!
Roasted Potatoes (p. 313)
These little red bliss babies got the standard tossing with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and I also added some bonus thyme. I didn't have high hopes for loving these, because I have a thing about potatoes. (If they're not burnt, crispy, fried, or covered with cheese, I'm usually not too interested.) These were cooked really well and tasted just right. But it wasn't until I had the brainstorm to bring out Monday's homemade mayonnaise that the potatoes started to become interesting to me. They were the perfect vehicle for the mayo's creamy, lemony sparkle.
Millet (p. 413)
I'm always interested when Martha's instructions differ from the package's instructions, and that was the case with this millet. The package says: rinse and cook for 40 minutes with 2 parts water to 1 part millet. Martha says: toast and cook for 15 minutes with 1.5 parts water to 1 part millet, then let steam for 10 minutes. Of course, I'm going with Martha's way, but I've cooked millet before, so I know how it comes out per the package directions.
Martha's millet definitely occurred to me as undercooked - there were millet seeds that hadn't even opened, maybe as many as half, which made for an interesting texture for millet... half fluffy, half crunchy. And maybe that's what her intent was. Marcy's a millet regular, and at first she was put off by it, I think, but ultimately she embraced the new texture, as did I.
Still, I think that the ideal place for me is somewhere in between Martha and the package.
Since I'm losing my kitchen and going away for the next few days, I went through my fridge looking for what else I could roast and came up with some green beans and scallions. There were no instructions for these, but I used some common sense regarding timings, and I have to say, they came out beautifully. Seems like anything can be tossed with salt, pepper, olive oil, and roasted and come out tasting great!
I'm off to Florida tomorrow! Get ready for Steamed Fish en Papillote in my parents' kitchen!
Until we eat again...
Marcy loves her veggies!