Tag Archives: roasted grapes

Recipe Idea: Prepping Roasted Veggies for Later

roasted veggies yum

Great way to spread out the goodness of great tasting veggies.

I know it’s July, but here in Los Angeles we have finally gotten what we lovingly call ‘June Gloom’.  It stays overcast all day and isn’t quite as hot as it’s going to get for summer.  That’s not to say it’s actually cool out but, because it’s ‘gloomy’ outside you sort of think that it is.  It was the perfect time to hit the market and prep some roasted vegetables for the week.

When you slowly roast fresh veggies (any combination that you love) with some aromatics you have the basis for any meal of the day.   I always make enough for a couple of days – that way I can use them for breakfast with my eggs, lunch over some baby spinach or as the perfect side for my favorite crispy skin salmon.  I have a few rules that hold true no matter which vegetables you choose.

Always buy organic when possible. But not everything ‘has’ to be organic so check the ever-changing list of the Dirty Dozen to see which ones must be organic and the Clean 15 to see which contain the least amount of pesticides.  You can always depend that a thick-skinned vegetable, like butternut squash, is fine if it’s not organic.

Start roasting with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook.  That way as you’re adding more vegetables to your roasting pan everything will end up cooked the right amount of time.  For this group of vegetables- baby potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, asparagus, mushrooms- the potatoes will need to cook the longest.  Cut the vegetables so that they are basically the same size.

I’m a sucker for potatoes (in any form) so if you’re like me you will want some roasted potatoes in the mix.  I used the baby multi-colored (just because they look good) ones.  Whatever potato you decide to use- boil them in fairly salty water till just barely fork tender, drain and let cool slightly.  Smash them which will allow for more crispy edges and place on a sheet tray.  Drizzle with good extra virgin Olive Oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, some fresh ground pepper and any herbs you want to start with (I used some Italian Rosemary that I brought home from Sicily on my last trip).  Toss them so all sides of the potatoes are coated and start roasting at 450°.  Check the potatoes after about 15 minutes for crispiness.

In this group the onions and fresh garlic (smashed as well) went into the pan next. Add a drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and more kosher salt and pepper with each new add of vegetables.  I know it sounds like a lot of salt but you will need it for flavor.  Remember to use only kosher salt as regular salt is way too salty.

Toss the mixture together every time you add new vegetables and then spread evenly across the sheet pan to evenly roast.  Next, I added the asparagus (you can see I peeled the stems – check out my blog on asparagus for tips on the prep).

The zucchini and summer squash next and then finally the mushrooms.  Check every 7-8 minutes after you add a new group of vegetable to make sure you don’t overcook.

Be sure to taste with each new addition so you can adjust seasoning.  If you think you have enough oil in the mix – stop adding it.

Let the mixture cool and place in a sealed container in your refrigerator.  It will last 2-3 days unless you eat it all sooner!  I’m going to take some of these roasted vegetables tomorrow morning, reheat them in a skillet, add some chopped tomato, crack an egg in the middle and cover to cook the egg.

Breakfast!!!  I can’t wait.

Holiday Appetizers: hors d’oeuvres and finger foods, yum!

roasted grapes

Tips for making your holiday appetizers truly appealing.

Planning a holiday party? Start with all the ones you’ve seen – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why remember the bad and the ugly? Because, we don’t want to do that!

The best ones, I’m sure you’ll agree, are actually the most memorable. These are the ones where everything came together – from start to finish.

The ideal way to start ANY party (holiday, birthday, anniversary, anything!) is for guests to be greeted at the door with a cocktail and a tray of hors-d’oeuvres and finger foods.

It’s also important to have additional finger food out for your holiday parties so guests can snack at their leisure.  Do easy appetizers that don’t need to stay hot and taste great either warm or cold. That way it won’t matter when your guests arrive or how long the food is out (but definitely do not leave it out overnight).

Remember – you don’t always have to serve a seated dinner for your events. Some of the best holiday parties are appetizers only! No surprise, but a finger-food party is easy on guests as well as the host. Appetizers are prepared before guests arrive, they’re easier to eat, you don’t need forks and knives, and you definitely don’t need tables! In fact, when parties are all about the appetizers and finger foods, everybody is portable! That means you and your guests can walk around talking to each other.

Let me give you a couple of finger food ideas:

People love my fresh ricotta with roasted grapes on crostini. I’ve been serving these at my parties forever. They’re so easy and quick to prepare it’s crazy – the best appetizer recipes always are.  Use this recipe from one of my favorite websites – Alexandra’s Kitchen. To make the roasted grapes really sing, it’s important to have fresh ricotta. I follow the incredibly easy recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa.  You can use store bought fresh ricotta but when it’s this easy to make – why?

My other “can’t miss” party finger food is prosciutto wrapped asparagus. This is so easy that just about anyone with minimal kitchen skills can manage. Make sure you blanch the asparagus tips first – here’s a video I did for the easy way to blanch your veggies. Then you wrap the asparagus tips in prosciutto and quickly grill. This is one dish that definitely does not need to stay hot. The crispy prosciutto tastes great and is much easier to eat than when the prosciutto is not grilled.  They are so popular with my friends that I always make a lot – I don’t want to run out!

And, that’s the way to have a fun party!