I know you’ve heard this before, but the nice thing about buying local it that takes minimal effort to make fresh ingredients taste great. That’s exactly the kind of stripped-down cooking I’m about these days as I try to simply keep my head above water (like everybody).
Last Saturday, (our three kids shockingly free from morning activities) John and I snuck out and dropped by our local Red Stick Farmers Market in downtown Baton Rouge to do some shopping. We were having friends over that night, and I wanted to put together an easy appetizer and a tray of roasted vegetables.
This time of year in south Louisiana, we start to hit that fun period at the market where we can find both cooler temperature crops, like carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets and asparagus, as well as warmer crops like peppers and cucumbers. Gotta love a year round growing season! I bought a big variety of veggies, along with honey from two vendors for morning smoothies, and herbed goat cheese and a whole wheat half baguette for a quick hors d’oeuvre that evening.
The veggies were, as usual, gorgeous and inspiring! I know, food nerd. But still….
My roasted veggie tray was put together pretty effortlessly. Even though they cooked at different rates, everything was roasted at 400 degrees, so it was pretty thoughtless and gave me more time to focus on the main course:
• Two batches asparagus, ends snapped, tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 oven for 10 minutes.
• Fresh beets (large), tops removed, ends trimmed, roasted in a foil-covered pan or cast iron skillet with a little water in the bottom for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
• Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, washed, tossed with the following mixture: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon honey, then roasted on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Summer squash, trimmed and cut into inch-thick discs, then halved again, tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 15 minutes.
I arranged the vegetables on beds of local curly leaf lettuce and topped with various ingredients I also found at the market, including gorgeous and flavorful microgreens, fresh cheese and roasted pecans.
Simple and delicious. Enjoy!