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.
We first roasted some butternut squash for a midday snack. Then we started in on dinner.
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 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.
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.
I’d recommend you try this sometime, especially if you have a hard time finding uses for root veggies.
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.
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!
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.
We roasted squashes for the next day’s dinner.
Lastly, dessert was partly cooked in the oven. A wonderful concoction from Theresa. Sort of a meringue-custard-cream-pie-like thing.
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.