Oven roasted vegetables with goat cheese dip

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Inca 007Making roasted vegetables is as easy as putting them in the oven, but making the best roasted vegetables – soft and tender, browned and caramelized, full of intensified flavor – involves a few tricks as follows:

Roasted fennel: You will be totally surprised by the fact that the anise flavor in fennel will dramatically soften with roasting plus the edges get lovely crispy brown bits on them. And on the top of that the roasting fennel brings out its inherent sweetness. You can serve it with roasted meats, roast chicken, stews, or other roasted vegetables.

(You’ll see that this recipe is quite flexible – make 1 bulb of fennel or 10, it depends on how big your oven is and how many people you have to feed)!

Method: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the fennel into spears or bite-size chunks. Put the fennel in a roasting or baking pan. Drizzle it with olive oil and toss to coat the fennel. Sprinkle with salt, cover with foil or a lid, and bake/roast for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue roasting until fennel is tender and browned, about 20 more minutes (this may take longer, it depends on how fresh the fennel is). Serve roasted fennel warm or at room temperature.

Roasted garlic: Most of us think of garlic as an aromatic more than a vegetable, but when properly roasted garlic becomes mild enough to eat in large quantities, if one is so inclined. Or, restrain yourself and simply spread it on bread or crackers (make a garlic butter). Roasted garlic is easy to make and has many uses – as a spread, appetizer, addition to roasts, savory base of salad dressings, and garnish for soups. Low, slow roasting transforms the sharp, often bitter flavor of garlic into a smooth, silky, almost sweet concoction. This recipe is for one head of garlic, but feel free to double, triple, quadruple it – however much your oven can hold! – the principle is the same.

Method:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Peel off the excess papery skin from the garlic head, leaving enough peel behind to cover the cloves and hold the head together.
  2. For easy removal of garlic later, you can cut off the tip of each clove, but this step is purely optional and something to do if you want to save your diners the effort.
  3. Put the garlic in a small baking dish or other oven-proof container – a piece of foil crimped up at the edges works just fine. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle with pepper too, if you like. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake the garlic until it’s very tender and evenly browned, about 30 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Roasted common and sweet poatoes: The high, dry temperature of a heated oven makes potatoes brown, crispy, tender, and delicious in this easy recipe. Roasting time will vary on the freshness (and thus moisture content) of potatoes. Fresh potatoes roast up faster (and tastier) than older, cured potatoes. But roasting is a great fall-back treatment for when you crave that special comfort that only comes from tender, easy potatoes. I usually flavor potatoes with rosemary and oregano but please feel free yourself to add other herbs, spices, or flavored salts as the mood strikes you.

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (225 degrees) Scrub potatoes clean. Leave very small potatoes whole. Cut all other potatoes into bite-size pieces.
  2. Put potatoes in a baking pan large enough to hold them in single layer (more or less). Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and, using your hands, toss to coat potatoes thoroughly and evenly. Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine.
  3. Bake potatoes until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper, if you like, and serve hot or warm.

Inca 006Ingredients for my summer veggie plate with goat cheese and créme fraiche dip

1 big fennel bulb, 700 gr sweet potatoes (or potatoes and sweet potatoes mixture), 1 head of garlic, 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, 150 gr cream cheese with goat cheese, 6 tbsps of milk, 6 round crackers, lemon juice, 3 pieces of tomatoes, 6 sprigs of thyme

I cleaned all the vegetables cut them into the desired shapes (wedged the potatoes, chipped the fennel and cut the garlic horizontal) and placed them in the baking pan. I drizzled everything with lemon flavored olive oil, and I sprinkled with some salt and rosemary and tossed to combine. I cooked them until everything became nice and crispy circa 25 minutes. Meanwhile I prepared the dip from the shattered crackers with the créme fraiche, 6 tbsps of milk and goat cheese. I stired everything together and the dip was ready. I cooked the corn ears in mildy salted and sugary water and my summer veggie plate was complete!Schliessheim and Africa days 065

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