Ana’s Roasted Root Vegetables
This recipe requires some extra prepping (lots of peeling and chopping is involved) so an extra hand is welcome. Besides that, it requires little active time. Just leave in the oven unattended for 30 minutes (remember to set a timer) and let the wonderful aroma of rosemary and basil fill your house.
Did you notice the name of the recipe? Ana’s veggies. She is my sister who I love and adore. Hope she doesn’t mind but I would like to share something about her with you… About a year and a half ago she had a lot of multi-system symptoms and doctors couldn’t pinpoint the pathophysiology of them or reach an adequate diagnosis. After a battery of tests and lots of doctor’s appointments…they finally reached a conclusion. It was all due to food related allergies which had set her body into an autoimmune crisis. Now, as a medical school student I was really blown away with her disease development because who could have though that headaches, gastrointestinal irregularities and muscle pain could be related to food allergies!!??!! And the most surprising thing…the key treatment for her was a VEGAN DIET. Moreover due to the perplexity of her allergies it also had to be nut-free, soy-free plus a bunch of other food restrictions. So word of advice, if you are not feeling well and think something is clearly wrong with you – visit your doctor! Find help! This was a life changing process for my sister but a lot of good came out of it. She started being more health conscious and having a more balanced/wholesome lifestyle. Needless to say…these root veggies are HER recipe. Of course in my family we were blessed with the culinary gene – which translates to – we cook with our eyes and hands…no measuring cups or spoons are involved in the process…but since these are so GOOD…and EASY…and make lovely leftovers, lunch, side dish, etc…I made the effort of quantifying the recipe. To transform this into a complete vegan dish add tofu or tempeh onto the baking sheet so they marinate & cook with the same flavors. As another alternative, add cooked beans on top of these roasted vegetables. It’s such a powerful combination.
Bottom line from this blog and tip for eating/cooking healthier: get ideas, learn about great herb and spice combinations, learn what flavors work well together and don’t become obsessed with the measuring. Of course if you don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen- stick to the recipes and work through the instructions and measurements. Same thing applies if you are dieting or trying to loose weight – you need to stick to the portions! Ingredient ratios and recipe content are also important. By that I mean only using a tsp of olive oil, skipping the added cheese, opting for vegetarian options etc…
1/2 orange sweet potato, about 2 cups cubed
1/2 lb. of pumpkin, about 1.5 cup cubed – could also use zucchini or squash to mix up this recipe**
2 cups chopped baby potatoes or fingerling potatoes
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh basil
1.5 tbsp extra virgen olive oil
salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. PEEL, CHOP & DISCARD:
Peel the skin of the pumpkin with a knife and discard the seeds. Using a knife or potato peeler remove the skin of the sweet potato. Chop the pumpkin, sweet potato and baby potatoes into 1″ cubes. Try to cut them equally so all the vegetable pieces cook evenly.
3. Arrange the vegetables in a 13″ x 9″ cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Using either your hands or a spatula toss the vegetables until the olive oil coats the pieces evenly. They should look glossy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the freshly cut herbs on top.
4. Bake for 30 min. Use a fork to pierce the pieces and check if they are fully cooked. The fork should go into the pieces without resistance.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Baked Halibut filets
I love this technique for cooking fish. To mix it up use salmon or tilapia as well. You could also bake the fish in parchment paper if you don’t like to use aluminum foil. The best part of this recipe – no added fat!! By cooking the fish in these aluminum pockets the onions and fish will release natural juices that will help cook the fish through. The end result – a perfectly cooked, juicy fish filet that is low in fat but contains layers of taste. You will unload aroma as you open these pockets…and the taste? Well…it’s amazing how the garlic cloves, white wine and fresh herbs get impregnated in the filet!
2 halibut filets
1/2 small red onion, sliced into rings
1/2 small white onion, sliced into rings
2 tbsp white wine
2-4 garlic cloves (depends on your taste – I used 2 per fish)
2 rosemary sprigs
2 fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut two 12″ x 12″ squares of aluminum foil – the size of the squares should be big enough to place the fish filets and seal them inside.
2. Place half of the onion rings, 1 rosemary sprig ,1-2 garlic cloves and 1 basil leave per square. Season the filets with salt and pepper. Place one in each square. Raise the corners of the foil around the fish and add 1 tbsp of wine per pocket. Seal each pocket by folding or pressing one end under the other.
NOTE: Make sure it is properly sealed because as the fish cooks the ingredients will produce liquid and you don’t want them to be spilled! This helps cook the fish thoroughly.
3. Place pockets on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
4. Serve directly on the aluminum foil pockets or on a plate. Caution as you open the pockets steam will be released from inside, so make sure to open them at a proper distance from your face.