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Roasted vegetables with garlic and lemon

Posted May 16 2009 10:12pm

This is a real article I found in the newspaper. I swear - I'm not making this up. "An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital. Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday after the fumes led someone to call 911. A hazmat team was called in.

The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 25 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea. But the enterprising worker who cleaned the fridge wasn't one of them - she can't smell because of allergies." (Associated Press)

Whoa. At our house I was beginning to suspect that the refrigerator and the compost pile had become one and the same. It was not yet time to call 911, but it was definitely time to clean out all the odds and ends of things that tend to get pushed to the back of the shelves and the bottom of the bins. As I cleaned out the unusable, I came upon an orphan white beet, a single little pepper starting to shrivel, two partially used bags of potatoes and some enormous carrots. Not to mention a bowl of water with a lone chunk of tofu, and a lot of very ripe small tomatoes. After all that cleaning I needed something really easy to cook, and decided I might as well roast the stuff I'd found.

Roasting veggies is so easy it doesn't feel much like cooking, but the results are wonderful. I used yellow and red potatoes, a humongous carrot, a white beet, garlic cloves, a small banana pepper and a lot of small red tomatoes. I preheated the oven to 425˚ and cut the potatoes and beet into smallish chunks. The carrot got cut first into 3" sections and then into lengthwise slices. I added some olive oil and turned the veggies to coat them, and I mixed in a handful of chopped parsley. Some unpeeled garlic cloves also went into the earthenware pan with the veggies, and two 1/2" thick slices of tofu were coated with a little tamari and laid on top. The veggies were more or less in a single layer in a large, uncovered dish.

After 30 minutes in the oven, the tomatoes were added to the dish, and it went back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes or so, until the potatoes were cooked. When I took the pan out, I squeezed the garlic cloves out of their peels and mixed it into the veggies, and I broke up the tomatoes a bit to let the steam out. Some fresh ground pepper and it was ready to eat. I rarely add salt to vegetables, especially roasted ones that have so much natural flavor, but everyone has different tastes so add the seasonings you think are needed. You could drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar if desired. I had planned to squeeze lemon over the top but forgot all about it. Next time.
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