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Beating The Winter Blues


by Paul Ventura, Ararat Center Executive Chef and Client Relations Manager

Here we are in the middle of winter.  The holidays have passed.  Bitter temperatures keep us indoors more than we would like. This is our nesting time, homemade soups and stews, perhaps a loaf of warm bread fresh from the oven.  We do not have fresh vegetables to pull from our backyard gardens, so let's take advantage of a selection of winter vegetables.  Strong earthy root vegetables abound.  Let's turn on our ovens, warm the house and prepare this simple, yet rewarding dish which can be served either as a vegetarian entree or as a side dish to our favoite Sunday roast.

Clean and peel a combination of the following vegetables:

Yukon gold potatoes,  red or blue B potatoes,  sweet potatoes,  acorn squash,  butternut squash,  sweet yellow onions,  fresh carrots,  brussel sprouts, fresh winter kale,  turnips,  red cabbage,  portobello mushrooms.

Quarter cut or large cut (2-3 inch) vegetables.  Leave onion stem intact to hold wedge shape.  Large tear or cut cabbage and kale.  Leave each vegetable separate.

Prepare Marinade:

1 cup soy sauce (good quality)

1 cup olive oil

1 cup honey

3 large cloves of fresh garlic

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.Toss Vegetables separately in marinade.  Remove and place in a large roasting pan.  Retain marinade for the next set of vegetables, repeat process.  Keeping all vegetables in a separate section of the pan.

Cooking time will vary (ie: potatoes will take longer than mushrooms or kale).  When vegetables are all marinaded and placed in the roasting pan, place in preheated 450 degree oven.  Roast vegetables until they are tender but firm, allowing the honey to create a light golden brown color.  Arrange vegetables on a ceramic serving platter and keep warm.  If there is any marinade left, drizzle over cooked vegetables.