The root of things

I love roasted root vegetables. I have ever since I lived with my sister/best-friend in Providence and she would fortify us with enormous batches of that earthy, savory, caramelized winter delight. The kitchen chemistry behind roasting eludes me, however, and thus every batch I make is an experiment in faith.

Tonight I cut up most of the remainder of the past weeks’ boxes: roasting turnips, Nantes carrots, Rome Beauty apples, and some beets and garlic cloves that were not of box origin. I tossed them all with olive oil, salt, pepper, and an incredibly luxurious mountain of fresh rosemary and thyme from my last box. I lined a dish with parchment (this new-to-me miracle discovery for roasted roots turns cleaning up from a carpal-tunnel-inducing chore to just barely more than a rinse) and heated the oven to 425.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples and Thyme and Rosemary

I put the little fellows into the oven and checked in on them about 45 minutes later. And yes, of course, being small pieces of vegetable matter who had just spent a very long time in a very hot oven, they were cooked. Tender on my fork, and all that. But they weren’t delicious.

But they’re cooked! Take them out!, my suspicious brain cried, perhaps still mourning over the blackened husks of the Week 6 tomatillos I forgetfully abandoned in the oven for a good 3 hours. Have faith! These are merely steamed!, rejoined my stomach, remembering the almost crispy, sugary texture and flavor of those Providence roots.

So back in they went, for another 45 minutes at least – I lose track after a while and the time elapsed is at last labeled simply “a very long time in which I nervously check the oven every ten minutes lest everything burn and be horribly ruined.” In the end I simply took them out – I had lost all perspective. Were they roasted? Were they ruined?

Finally I put a forkful in my mouth. That bite had a piece of apple in it, and the apple was like sin. Like a caramel apple that’s been grilled and seared and melted and oiled and herbed until it has transcended apple, fallen from apple, into some place extraordinary. And from there, from extraordinary, into my waiting mouth.

3 comments on “The root of things

  1. Angelique says:

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I love your blog! I stumbled upon it when searching for “tat soi” (since this is the 2nd time I’ve gotten it in my CSA box and this time I actually used it — with happy results!) I too love my CSA box and wish my family/friends around the country could experience the same fun. Mine comes from Del Rio Botanical, in Sacramento. Your blog sounds parallel to my experiences, right down to the same aphid confusion/horror and I enjoy your fun and fresh ideas. I already printed off a couple of recipes to try… It helps that you’re veg, like our family. I also like the look of your blog (the colors, pictures, etc.) — warm and savory. I can see your blog has been roasting like a parsnip chunk in the oven and is getting more golden and sweet with each passing month. I’m definitely going to visit again. Best wishes for fun and health in your upcoming CSA boxes!

  2. scrumptious says:

    Hi Angelique,

    Just wanted to say Thanks! for stopping by my CSA blog, In My Box. It’s so fun to hear about your parallel experiences (it’s nice to have a comrade in the aphid wars) and I’m THRILLED that you’ve printed out some recipes. Thank you so much for your kind words and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

  3. […] squash (2 zucchini and one yellow zucchini) Tomatillos (a nice big bag – hopefully I won’t char them to death this time) Plums (very green/orange/pink and dusky) Slo-bolt arugula Easter Egg radishes Green […]

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