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Roasted sweet potato, turnip, and onion from the 4/3/13 cooking demonstration

Roasted sweet potato, turnip, and onion from the 4/3/13 cooking demonstration

Roasted Vegetables

Community meeting cooking demonstration, 3/6/13 and 4/3/13

The simplest (and often tastiest) way to cook most vegetables is to roast them. We’ve done this before (broccoli and cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, and more), but here are some general instructions for pretty much any vegetable.

Choose any of the following vegetables:

  • root vegetables: potato, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, beet, etc
  • squash: butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc
  • “cole crops” (the broccoli family): broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage (wedges with the core attached works best), kohlrabi
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • green beans
  • almost anything you can think of

Preheat oven to 400. Gather as many baking sheets or dishes as you have kinds of vegetables (it can be fine to mix them, but sometimes they cook at different speeds).

Cut the vegetable into whatever size pieces you want. They can be bite-sized, or you can take a knife and fork to them later. If you’re mixing different vegetables together to roast on the same pan, make sure the pieces are the same size so they cook at about the same speed.

Place vegetables in a bowl (keep different vegetables separate if you have enough baking dishes) and add a pinch of salt and just enough oil to coat them lightly. Toss or mix to combine.

Spread oiled vegetables on baking sheet and place in oven. The amount of time your vegetables will take depends on the vegetable and the size of the pieces. After about 20 minutes, begin checking your vegetables. They are done when a knife or fork slides in with no resistance and the edges are medium to dark brown.

Peperonata

This simple dish of stewed peppers and onions with herbs shows off summer farmers market produce at its best.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions*, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano* or marjoram* (divided between beginning and end of cooking)
  • 3 large sweet bell peppers* (red, yellow, or orange), thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil to heat, then add onions, 1 tablespoon chopped herbs, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add peppers and another pinch of salt and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender, 20-30 minutes.

Add remaining chopped herbs, vinegar. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

*These ingredients can be grown in your garden.

Green Bean, Bell Pepper, and Red Onion Salad

Committee meeting working lunch, 8/1/12

This colorful salad is perfect for mid to late summer, when green beans, bell peppers, red onions, and herbs are all in season. Preparing it takes several different steps, but the result is worth it. Or, if you like raw green beans, skip a cooking step and add them to the salad raw.

  • 1/2 medium red onion*
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or marjoram (or use 2 teaspoons dried oregano or marjoram)*
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 lb green beans*
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 sweet bell peppers – red, yellow, or orange*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • additional salt and black pepper to taste

Thinly slice the red onion. Place in a small bowl with the vinegar, chopped herbs, and pinch of salt. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes while you make the rest of the salad.

Pinch the stem ends off the green beans. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4-6 minutes, until just tender. Drain beans and allow to cool.

Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove and chop bacon, leaving bacon fat in pan.

While bacon is cooking, thinly slice the peppers. In a large bowl, combine peppers, cooked beans, and onions (leave the vinegar behind in the bowl). When done, add chopped bacon.

To the bacon fat in the pan, add half the vinegar from the onions and an additional tablespoon olive oil. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Add black pepper and additional salt to taste.

Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves 6-8.

*Onions, pepper, green beans, and herbs can all be grown in your garden.

Winter Minestrone Soup

Committee meeting working lunch, 3/8/12 – served with the easiest homemade whole wheat bread

winter minestrone soup, low on liquid after sitting and absorbing for quite a while

Minestrone is an Italian soup that is always adapted to include whatever is on hand. This version is simple and easy to make, and if you have a slow-cooker, it can cook all day while you’re out, or overnight. Soaking the beans requires some advance planning, but you can also use canned beans and cook the soup for less time. For more information on cooking beans, see the dry bean guide.

  • ½ lb dry beans, any variety or a mix (can substitute 1 can of beans – see notes in recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped*
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced*
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)**
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes***
  • 4 oz (1/4 box) dry pasta, any small shape
  • salt
  • black pepper

Soak the dry beans in lots of water (cover by at least 4 inches) for 8-12 hours. You can also quick-soak them: place dry beans in a pot with water to cover by 4 inches, bring to a boil for 1 minute, turn off heat, and allow to sit for 1 hour.

In a large soup pot (if you won’t be using a slow cooker) or a skillet, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook on medium heat until the vegetables are just beginning to brown. Add the garlic (and rosemary, if using) and cook 1 minute more.

Stovetop instructions: Add the soaked beans, stock or water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, 1-2 hours. (Note: if using canned beans, simmer only 15-20 minutes.) Add the pasta and cook for 10-15 minutes more, until pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Slow cooker instructions: Transfer the cooked vegetables to the slow cooker. Add the soaked beans, stock or water, and tomatoes and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours, until beans are tender. (Note: if using canned beans, cook only 2-3 hours on low or 1-2 hours on high). Add the pasta and cook for 30 minutes more, until pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Yield: 6 generous servings

*All of these can be grown here in Nebraska and stored fairly well.

**Fresh rosemary can be grown outdoors in the summer and indoors all year round. You can dry your own for later use.

***Summer tomatoes are simple to can for year-round use.