Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eat your veggies!

I gave my oven a vacation last week. After the Punk Rock Flea Market, I thought she could use a little break so she wouldn't burn out on me. That, and I was out of essential ingredients like flour and sugar. Can't do much baking without those.
I did turn her on once though. To make this dish. Marina invited me over to her place for a Better Butter dinner party. She was making a vegan dinner and had invited Kelly from Living on the Vedge as well. Since Marina was making the entree and trying out a bunch of new cookie recipes, she asked me to bring a side dish. And since we all know how scary things can get when I stray from the baked goods, I stuck to a simple recipe that I've officially mastered. Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Leeks, and roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Roasting veggies. It's so easy. Why have I not been doing this all along? It's similar to baking in its process, and the results are always delicious and difficult to mess up. I was made to roast veggies. And after working at the farmer's market this fall, I've got a bunch of new veggies added to my repertoire. Leeks being one of them. I never knew I liked leeks or Brussels sprouts until I roasted them. It's changed my perspective on the whole vegetable kingdom.

I couldn't find any sweet potatoes for the dinner party, and substituted Garnet yams in their place. Since most grocery stores incorrectly label yams as sweet potatoes, it didn't make much of a difference. And everyone at the dinner party seemed to enjoy the dish. Crowd pleaser!
The recipe is so simple I feel silly posting it. But honestly, I need to share this to make sure you're not missing out! The most difficult part of the process is rinsing the leeks. Because of the way leeks grow, the dirt and sand are stuck inside the layers so you need to cut first, then soak/rinse them to make sure you get all the dirt out.

You can increase or decrease the amount of veggies as you need them. This "recipe" is really just a blueprint; I didn't measure anything. Play around with it to see what works for you.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Leeks

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, diced into cubes
3 medium leeks, sliced, soaked and rinsed
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
herbs de Provence, or other spice mix, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray roasting pan or large glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. After chopping sweet potatoes and rinsing leeks, place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil just to coat. (Pour in olive oil slowly, don't use too much. You just want to coat the veggies, but not have a pool of oil at the bottom.) Toss with salt, pepper and herbs. I used about a teaspoon of each. Once veggies are coated with oil and spices, pour into pan and bake in oven for about 45 minutes. Check occasionally and toss veggies around. The dish is done when edges of the potatoes and leeks are turning black.

Enjoy as a side dish, as a taco filling, or mixed with soy chorizo for a breakfast hash. Serves about 4-5 people.

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