The Weather Inside Is Roasting By Mark MulcahyIs October known as comfort food month?
If it isn’t, it sure should be! The weather’s cooler, the produce department has many things that just sound good when you are thinking of dinner. And of course, most are very healthy choices. Just look around – Melissa’s organic russet potatoes for baking, baby Dutch Yellow®
and Ruby Gold™ potatoes
for roasting with rosemary, winter squash for spaghetti, soup, or baking with butter and herbs, broccoli for steaming, stir fries, and salads. And of course garlic
, which when roasted can fill a house with savory scents and bring the whole family into the kitchen. Even grapes
, at the end of their season and full of sugar, can be used in many Fall comfort dishes. Can you see what I mean? I thought so!
So now that you’re ready to start the comfort food season with produce, why not think about doing some different things for a change in your autumn cooking routine. Have you ever roasted broccoli
? How about grapes? Why not? If your answer is no, then get ready to have some fun in the kitchen and be delighted with the results.
Roasting Melissa’s organic broccoli is easy and you’ll love the rich flavor that is brought out by this cooking method. Just preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Toss 3 pounds of broccoli (separated into florets) with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the broccoli on an oil-coated cookie sheet and roast for 35 minutes or until it just starts to turn brown. Check your broccoli about 20 minutes into the cooking cycle and turn for even cooking. The florets will easily fall off the stalks and be ready to use in numerous ways.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is to add them to a pile of mashed potatoes. It tastes great and looks kind of like green trees dotting your potato mountain. Plus with potatoes and broccoli you can’t go wrong, the flavors just work. Or, how about roasted broccoli as a topping to some pasta with some diced late season organic Roma tomatoes, olive oil and pecorino cheese? It would even be good as a salad ingredient for lunch the next day, with sliced red onion, roasted potatoes and a light vinaigrette dressing.
Now for the grapes – first preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place washed Melissa’s Red Seedless Grapes
on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes until the grapes have shriveled. Make sure you turn them at the ten minute mark. Once they are done, put them in a bowl to cool. I like to think of these as kind of a fresh raisin, but with better texture and a more unique flavor.
These are perfect on a Melissa’s spinach or arugula salad with fresh feta or goat cheese, for supper or in the morning for breakfast in oatmeal with honey and cinnamon. Warm sweet and filling. Once you try them you’ll come up with some great ideas of your own.
Lets try roasting shallots; oh, you’ve never used them? Shallots look like a small, elongated onion with copper, reddish skin. Think big brown garlic cloves. This small onion has a mild garlic flavor, which makes them perfect for many recipes.
When choosing shallots, they should be firm and heavy for their size, and should have no soft spots. Never buy sprouting shallots, because like onions, this is an indication of a bulb past it’s prime. Another important shallot tip is – the smaller the shallot, the milder the taste.
So now for the roasting, you can leave the oven on the same temperature as the grapes at 375 degrees. Put 6 whole shallots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Once cool, you can snip the ends of some of the shallots and squeeze out the pulp into a small pan of butter and use instead of garlic as a new substitute for garlic bread. Or use the shallot pulp with oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper blended in a blender until smooth as a wonderful salad dressing. You may even want to mix a little roasted shallot pulp into that roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes I mentioned before.
Are your culinary juices flowing now? Mine are! I told you October should be National Comfort Food Month. And Melissa’s is here to make it even more comfortable and tasty!