Snow Day Ode to the Oven

We keep our place pretty chilly; therefore, a snowy  day at home is best accompanied by a warm oven, ideally an oven constantly roasting something homey and delicious.  As the snow made the windows a haze of white yesterday, we kept the oven cranking pretty constantly.

Snow day mid-day snack: roasted butternut squash, spices, honey and butter.

We first roasted some butternut squash for a midday snack.  Then we started in on dinner.

Soaked Ara Kara Beans and Rye Berries in the Dutch Oven with a Dried Chili.

We planned to have a beans and grain meal for Wednesday, but instead of using the crock-pot or stove, we put the soaked beans and rye berries (from our PVHG CSA) in our dutch oven to bake these lovelies.  We just recently took Lorna Sass’s “Whole Grains, Every Day, Every Way” out from the library.  She often recommends using a dutch oven to cook your whole grains with.  This worked well for our goal to keep the oven cranking.  So into the oven our rye and beans went, along with lots of onion, a dried chili, and a frozen block of barbecue sauce that was leftover from a crockpot barbecue pork meal a while back.

The lovely inside of a turnip.

The other part of our meal was to be roasted root veggies with a mustard-roasted garlic sauce.  I popped some garlic into the oven to cook with the beans and rye, and started chopping up root veggies.  I must admit, root vegetables can be beautiful in unexpected ways.

Chopped up root veggies getting ready to be baked.

One thing I have to say about roasting root vegetables.  Often you see root vegetable roasts with the veggies all piled on each other in a heap, roasting away.  Now that is one way to bake them, but the way that we heve begun to prefer is to lay them on  a baking sheet like… cookies I guess.  Don’t stack them, heap them, or let them lay on top of each other.  Just lay them out, uncrowded.  This enables them to cook evenly, while letting them brown, or carmelize, which gives them a delicious flavor, and seems to play down their sometimes bitter flavors.

Roasted root veggies (rutabaga, turnip, daikon radish, carrot) finished and lovely.

I’d recommend you try this sometime, especially if you have a hard time finding uses for root veggies.

Roasted Root Veggies with a Roasted Garlic, Mustard, Maple Syrup and Apple Cider Vinegar Sauce.

You can create a lovely roasted root veggie and dipping sauce side for most winter meals, just use the sauce as the ‘tie in’ to the meal.  The Dipping Sauce for this homey bean meal is simply mashed roasted garlic, mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and creole seasoning spices. But you can get really creative.  Red Fire Farm has a great peanut cilantro dip recipe that you could use for any asian meal, or even a meal in itself, or you could make a middle eastern bean puree for a dip for any meal of that leaning, a refreshing vinaigrette for a light meal…. whatever you can think of, really.

Baked Ara Cara Beans and Rye Berries in a barbecue Sauce, served with cilantro.

The beans and rye turned out really deliciously.  We added some salt and cumin, and thawed two cilantro cubes from our freezer to serve on top, and nom!

Our Meal: Roasted Root Veggies (carrot, turnip, gilfeather turnip, daikon radish) with Garlic Mustard Dipping Sauce, and barbecue Ara Kara Beans and Rye Berries.

It was a very tasty and warming meal, and certainly easy.  After dinner, we did not stop there…. we continued roasting things in the oven.

A cute hayden acorn squash, cut in half for roasting

We roasted squashes for the next day’s dinner.

Buttercup Squash (a japanese squash variety, I think also called turbans) cut in half for roasting.

Lastly, dessert was partly cooked in the oven.  A wonderful concoction from Theresa.  Sort of a meringue-custard-cream-pie-like thing.

Dessert: A custard cream pie: Custard on the bottom with some raspberry jam, topped with meringue and a sprinkling of sugar.

When dessert was finished she told me defeatedly ” I burnt them”   I don’t know… to me… it looks artisanal.  The sugar on top browned and blackened a bit.  Either way, they were really good:  a custard on the bottom with a dollop of raspberry jam covered with a layer of meringue.

All in all, we had a nice snow day, cooking and huddling next to the oven.  I hope everyone else’s snow days were just as cozy.

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One Response to Snow Day Ode to the Oven

  1. Pingback: Another Roast, Another Day Warmed By The Oven | The Lovely Locavore Ladies of Boston

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