3 bell peppersassorted varieties, filleted
6 sweet mini peppersassorted, rinsed, whole
2 large beetsskinned and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 clove garlic
3 Carrotspeeled, quartered into spears
large yellow squashcut into thick half moons
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1/4 manzanilla olives
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thymepulled from stem
extra virgin olive oil
Szechuan Peppercornsif available or black pepper, freshly ground
white vinegarto taste
granulated sugarto taste
As I look out my kitchen window into the back yard, I reflect upon gas prices, our new President, the cost of everything in our lives going up, and how good my coffee tastes. My thoughts soon drift to something else of relevance in our lives. The time will soon be here again to enjoy the rewards of our rejuvenated and reborn kitchen garden.
Every now and then, I run outside and pick some fresh rosemary, which is still growing. Otherwise, the freezing temperatures have made dormant all growth.
This year we had beets, potatoes of differing variety, and carrots in the ‘tall box’, and a row of three other shorter boxes adorning the east side of our lot.
As for the successes of the whole ordeal, the Thai pepper bush yielded some small fiery chilies, and the tomatoes came on strong. Chives made their mark, but the Brussel Sprouts weren’t as successful as I had hoped.
By mid-summer, we had nice tomatoes to go with the basil. Adding a little fresh mozzarella, oregano, EV olive oil and a good 15-year aged Modena Balsamic, we noshed on caprisi salad quite a few times.
Aside from the caprisi salad, one of the easiest preparations for all of these beautiful vegetables is a simple roasting and chilling, then tossing them (already coated in extra virgin olive oil, pepper and salt) with a little red wine vinegar, and maybe sugar and pepper to taste. Red pepper flakes are optional, as are fresh chilies, of course roasted with the veggies.
This dish could be an Italian antipasto, or with the addition of the sugar and chilies, a Spanish-style escabeche (pickled vegetables). Typically, in an escabeche preparation, you would gently simmer the vegetables in the pickling medium or water (adding the pickling goodies afterwards), but the roasting gives a wonderful layer of flavor to entice your patio guests in the warmer months.
Since the dish is ultimately chilled, it can be served on a platter alongside the other summer salads; potato, cole slaw, or my famous (Well, maybe not famous, but savored by my wife) four-potato salad.
Adding to the vibrant colors that already adorn the table during the ‘garden months’, these veggies will compliment any grilling affair, and just make sure to email me and let me know what time to get there. I’ll bring the drinks.
- Cut the vegetables in a manner in which the thin beets will roast at approximately the same rate as the thick squash, the medium carrots, etc
- Toss the peppers, beets, garlic, carrots, squash and herbs in a bowl
- Coat with EVOO and season to taste
- Roast the vegetables at 218 C (425 F) if you have a conventional oven, or 204 C (400 F) if you have convection **if you don’t want the beets to ‘bleed’ on the rest of the vegetables, just roast them and handle them separately. I don’t bother since we love the taste of beets on just about anything
- When the vegetables are tender, remove from the oven and let them cool until you can handle
- Drain the roasting olive oil from the pan into a bowl, and add white wine vinegar. Whisk until you have a temporary emulsion
- Season to taste, and if you want more of an escabeche-style dressing, add a little sugar at this point. Too sweet, and you may be finding a strange flavor combination with the olives, but that is a matter of taste, so sample as you go
- Toss the veggies and olives with the dressing and some more fresh herbs if preferred
- Plate up, suit up and eat up