This past week I trekked on down to the local farmers’ market looking for inspiration or something that screamed, “Cook me. Cook me.” I guess I’ve been in a food funk, not that I haven’t wanted to cook or that food did something offensive or unjustifiable to make me say, “I’m appalled, I will eat you no longer.”, but my appetite has been quite boringly blah. I’ve been craving toast. And plain rice. And really thin soups. And pie. Wait, pie? Yeah, my body wants summery fruits like blueberries and strawberries and other things that grow when it’s a million degrees outside.
But enough is enough! No more of this nonsense. Self, you know you wait all year for the wintry goods South Carolina has to offer and you will take advantage of it. No talking back. That’s where the market comes in. It’s filled with tons of in-season, organic produce and friendly, down-to-earth farmers, and lots of stuff for winter cooking motivation, like root veggies. Root vegetables are called root vegetables because, well, they’re roots. They grow in the dirt. They’re the edible, underground part of a plant. They’re neat! Chillin’ down in the ground, gettin’ all cozy while the rest of the world freezes above it, the strong ones that survive the winter. Not that we have much of one around these parts, but, you know.
I chose to roast a combination of sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, and carrots. The carrots I found at the market were wild. They’re called purple haze carrots and have the same normal carrot color on the inside, but are surrounded by a dark purple colored outside. They taste slightly sweeter than your standard carrot and are good for freaking people out.
You know what else? Before this, I’ve never really had beets before! Or turnips! Well, I technically did have beets once, pickled, served alongside cheesecake at Junior’s in Brooklyn, but really? Cheesecake and beets? Let’s just say, cheesecake was gone. Beet bowl remained full. So, don’t be scared. I think they have a bad reputation as being grossly healthy, but you know what happens after these guys hang out in the oven for a while? They get caramelized and really sweet, like little bite-sized…like little bite-sized…well, like little bite-sized sweet vegetables. That’s all I’ve got.
roasted root vegetables
1 sweet potato
1 bunch beets
1 bunch carrots
several tablespoons of olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375º. Peel the vegetables and wash thoroughly. Cut them so they’re all about the same size (for even baking) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss them around with your hands until evenly coated. Roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and can be pierced with a fork.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. I’m sorry. I had to do it.