Thursday, March 4, 2010

bottom of the barrel


It is starting to feel serious. We are still looking at weeks of fresh vegetable drought. I do believe there are a few signs of hope. The twigs I am forcing to bloom indoors have finally sprouted a SINGLE leaf. Ok, that's one down. Also spotted was the first poking of the daffodil bulbs I tucked into the ground many months ago. Well, it is a start.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, I am looking hard at the same old thing. Those tiresome root vegetables are really driving me crazy. Instead of attempting transformation I have decided to dive directly in and glorify what I've got. A simple roasting of three winter vegetables can become not such a bad thing. I had some pumpkin, a hunk of rutabaga and a few carrots to play with. The strategy was to cut them into relativley small pieces so they would cook quickly.

There is a slight color difference between the three vegetables, but I wanted to emphasisize their differences even more by cutting each one into a slightly different shape. When mixed together after cooking you would be able to tell them apart.
The carrots are cut on a cylindrical angle, the pumpkin is cubed and the rutabaga is in wedges.
A splash of oil and soy sauce, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a few garlic cloves complete the preparation. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.

The results have lifted a smile to my face. The smell from the oven was inviting. A bite of each vegetable revealed their individual characteristics. The rutabega had a balanced and buttery flavor. The pumpkin had a deep, smokey sweetness. The carrot played the high note with a fresh, almost green taste.
So I have found some solace and will continue my patient wait for the vernal stirrings of the earth.

Deb, the picture of the daffodils beginning to peek through the ground really made me smile! As I sit here at my desk looking out the window at the leafless trees and dreary grey skies, the thought of impending bright yellow flowers blooming in the not-so-distant future truly made my day! And my involvement in this blog and your inspirational recipes have really sparked and solidified my interests in eating locally and seasonally. As a result, I just cannot wait till Springtime produce is abundant! I am eagerly anticipating the transition into the different delicacies the warmer weather will offer us! Can't wait to hit the farmers' markets and have been doing research on CSA's.

Rutabagas - wouldn't even know what to do with them. Thank you for giving me an option! The sweetness from the vegetables and the "buttery" flavors you describe will partner very well with a white wine from the Rhone in the South of France. I was just at a Chateauneuf du Pape seminar yesterday, so I have Rhone on the brain. And, Rhone whites are among my favorite wines. I love the richness and depth of the wines, the creamy mouthfeel and intense aromatics. The whites I tasted yesterday were from the highly touted 2007 vintage. The wines showed absolutely beautifully.

The varietals used for Rhone whites are Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. Nuts, honeysuckle, citrus, spice and tropical fruit are flavors you will experience enjoying these wines. I just adore the depth and complexity of these wines. As the vegetables used in this recipe are full-flavored veggies, I would go with a full-flavored wine. I think the flavors in this dish would overpower a lighter style of wine. The richness of the wine will pair perfectly with the bigger flavors in Deb's recipe.

If you are unfamiliar with Rhone whites, I highly recommend giving them a shot. You won't be disappointed. Start off with something simple and inexpensive, and look for wines produced by E. Guigal or Perrin et fils. The wines by these producers should not be hard to find.


  1. Roasted root vegetables are one of my favorite things! Although I have to admit, I'm getting tired of winter fruit and am dying for some good berries. I'm hoping the appearance of your daffodils means that we won't get anymore snow!!

  2. MMmmm this looks delicious. A can't wait for some fresh berries and fruits either. Make some tasty smoothies.

  3. Soon, not immediately, but soon enough ramps! and rhubarb but for now, nothing like the sweetness you can coax out of roots, one of the upsides of winter....! Cutting in these shapes makes all the difference...they taste better as triangles, for what ever reason....


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