Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Turn the Beet Around - Roasted Root Vegetables

The weekend we were in Georgia for the wedding went far too quickly.  We like Georgia, a lot, and have spent more than a casual amount of time in and around Atlanta and Savannah.  The wedding venue was a little too far from Atlanta to hit some of our usual haunts, like Thompson Brothers BBQ in Smyrna, the Varsity, right smack downtown near the site of the 1996 Olympics, or even the Dekalb Farmers Market, but that just give us an excuse to come back.

Having said that, everything having to do with the wedding was perfect.  The weather, the location (gorgeous), the service (just the right length of time and sweetness), the food (delicious) and the two glasses of white zinfandel.  The groom was the younger son of dear friends and we were honored to have been invited.

I loved the smoked salmon roll-up, with its delicate wrapper and a touch of cucumber in the filling.  Back in the days when we would attend the Disney Food and Wine Festival, one of our first stops was always at Norway, so I could enjoy their gravlax salmon wrapped in lefse, a potato flatbread.  I have tried to replicate the gravlax rolls over the years, but tortillas lack the delicacy of the lefse, so while my version is good, it's not great.  The wrapper on the wedding canapĂ© gave me another idea (lefse still being unavailable in Central Florida), and I will be testing out my theory.  You can expect my full report sometime in the future.

I also loved the side dish of roasted root vegetables, their exteriors perfectly caramelized and their flavors perfectly intensified.  This glorious melange included potatoes, carrots, and beets, and I ate the beets and the world did not end nor did I have to run to the restroom to relieve myself of an offending mouthful.

But I hate beets.  Don't I?

Apparently not, at least not if they are roasted.  I've always liked to roast vegetables like potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts and onions, so why not throw a couple of fresh beets into the mix?

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 garlic cloves, minced or micro-planed
3 beets, peeled, quartered
2 Russet potatoes, cut into eights
2 carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 2-inch-long pieces
2 parsnips, peeled, cut diagonally into 2-inch-long pieces
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled, quartered through root end
1/3 cup chopped green onions
kosher salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix oil, syrup and garlic in small bowl. Place all remaining ingredients except green onions on heavy large rimmed baking sheet. Pour oil mixture over; toss to coat. Spread out vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer vegetables to platter.  Sprinkle with chopped green onions.

Well, I made a few minor changes to the original recipe.  I also used the oil and maple syrup a bit too generously, not bothering to measure.  Not sure the green onions added anything; next time I might use another fresh herb or skip it all together.  This makes a huge amount, which is great for Thanksgiving,  not so great for at-home during the week.  It was still pretty good, and I would definitely make it again, especially for a crowd or a potluck.

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