Kitchen Accomplice-Don't like veggies? Try this new twist using your oven

   To roast vegetables is a fairly new concept to me. 
   When I was growing up, there were limited versions of vegetables that appeared on our plates. 
   Many out of the garden, for sure, but usually done on top of the stove – with the exception of the baked potato – always a favorite. 
   Then someone discovered the joy and taste of roasting vegetables to bring out the natural taste and flavor to complement many entrees. 
   There are some preparation tricks that will help you. 
   The first trick is not to crowd the vegetables in the roasting pan.  Another is to set the proper oven temperature and a third is to develop just the right herb seasoning. 
   I will share each of these with you.  You may want to clip this and save it because it is among the best you will discover. 
   Another good thing is that the roasting temperature will also work for many other meats you wish to roast at the same time. 
   I usually opt to put the vegetables and the meat in separate pans – I find the vegetables are less greasy when this method is used.  And if you wish to use a bed of carrots, onions, etc. on which to roast the meat, that’s fine.  Those can be discarded.
   Keep in mind roasted vegetables are also delicious cold, tossed in a vinaigrette dressing or re-heated in a sauté pan in butter on top of the stove.  Leftovers are terrific. 
   In short, this is a good technique to place in your culinary repertoire.  You can pull this out at a moment’s notice to turn your vegetable course into something exceptional. 
   And best of all, you need do nothing more than simply roast them in the oven.  No cover on the pan.
   And I will tell you how.
   A delicious beginning is cauliflower.  My kids devour this.  They professed to dislike this vegetable.  No more.  Roasted at 400 for 25 minutes, it is golden and tender. 
   Just cut off the florets from the head of cauliflower, place on a cooking sheet sprayed with non stick spray, drizzle olive oil over and then sprinkle sea salt and pepper on them and toss with your hands to completely coat the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.  Turn them once while roasting.  That’s all there is to it.
   Although simple is often best, I have another method that is a little more complex in taste because of the addition of fresh herbs. 
   It is also an excellent one to have up your sleeve.

Roasted Vegetables


2 red peppers
1 green bell pepper
2 onions
2 zucchini
8 oz. box mushrooms
6 new potatoes, scrubbed
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tbsp. basil
1/2 tsp rosemary


Wash and dry vegetables. Any combination of vegetables in season may be used.

Cube them into large bite-size pieces. Halve mushrooms, if large. Potatoes can be parboiled (or put in first). Arrange vegetables in a baking dish or roasting pan in a single layer.

Crush the garlic with salt using the side of a large knife until pureed (or use a garlic press). Stir into oil.

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and toss to coat well.

Sprinkle with pepper, oregano, basil and rosemary.

Roast in oven at 400°F; reduce heat if vegetables are browning too quickly before they are done.

Vegetables may not cook at the same rate. As some of the vegetables cook, they may be removed while the others are left to finish cooking.

Add more olive oil if the vegetables absorb the oil and become dry during the cooking (or use olive oil spray).

Can be served hot or at room temperature.  I like to serve a plate of lemon wedges in case there are persons who enjoy that snappy addition of citrus. 

If I were serving these in Charleston, I would have a tiny bottle of Tabasco at each place when these were presented.

   Judge Kirkendall is a retired probate judge. He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. He is past president of the National College of Probate Judges and can be reached at




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