So we've had a couple of milestones around here lately. My older daughter, who is 15 1/2, had her first date. It wasn't a car date - they met up at the movies and I gave them both a ride home afterward. I remember when my kids were little and I couldn't imagine ever letting them walk anywhere by themselves, or go to the mall with their friends and no chaperone. And dating? Well our policy was always "no dating until you're 21 and no sex until I'm dead." Of course this was always said in jest but I think there was a part of us that believed it wasn't such a bad idea. But alas, real life prevailed. I always tell them I can't control what they do when they aren't with me - all I can do is provide them with the tools and knowledge to make their own good decisions. So much easier said than done. sigh.
Since I'm trying to keep this blog on topic I'll bring it around to another recent milestone - one that has to do with food. My younger daughter recently said to me "Mom, I really like asparagus now." Let me tell you - that's a string of words I never thought I'd hear together (that, and "Arnold Schwarzenegger is now the Governor of California" but that's another story...). The kid is always asking for asparagus. I couldn't stand it when I was growing up but I also grew up in a household where vegetables were almost always boiled. Not steamed, not sauteed nor roasted but boiled. To death. I like to toss the asparagus with olive oil and line it up on a baking sheet (and being a Virgo it's always a very neat line - a little row of asparagus soldiers). Then I sprinkle it with garlic, sea salt and fresh ground pepper and pop it under the broiler.
Roasted vegetables are one of my favorite things in the world and here is one of my favorite recipes. I got it from a neighbor so I don't know who to credit but it is a good one:
Caramelized Roasted Vegetables.
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 russet potato, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 green zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
2 yellow zucchini or summer squash, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
1 eggplant, cubed, salted, allowed to drain for 30 minutes in a colander, and patted dry
1 head garlic, unpeeled and broken into cloves
2 yellow onions, cut into 8 wedges each
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into wedges
1 or more red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I don't use anywhere near this much!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Arrange all the vegetables in 3 or more pans, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss the vegetables so that all of them are evenly coated. Break up 1 of the rosemary sprigs and distribute it over the vegetables, or sprinkle the dried rosemary over them. Roast until the vegetables are brown and tender (this will depend on your pan and the size and variety of the vegetables but probably an hour). Transfer to a large platter and serve immediately with a sprig of rosemary on top.