I was admiring the beauty of the season’s first snowstorm from my window, as the sunset’s orange glow reflected dramatically against the crisp white flakes. Whether it was the cold or the the medley of winter colors, my dinner of roast vegetables managed to both counter and mirror winter on my plate.
Root vegetables are nutritious and earthy, fueling the body with starchy fiber. With minimum fuss of peeling and dicing, roasting these vegetables brings out undertones of caramelized flavors. Rosemary, with its woody stem, is the best herb to pair with root vegetables; the herb can withstand the heat while perfuming the dish long after it comes out of the oven. The creamy hues of turnip and parsnips, set against orange and purple rainbow carrots, are not just attractive, but create a hardy meal to face the cold.
Roasted Winter Vegetables
Carrots (purple and orange) – 8, peeled
Turnip – 1, peeled
Parsnips – 4, peeled
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
Salt and pepper – to taste
Garlic – 2-3 cloves
Rosemary – 4 sprigs
- Heat the oven to 425ºF
- Cut the vegetables into 1 ½ –inch pieces and put them into a large bowl.
- Add the oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary to a separate bowl.
- Pour the oil mixture over the vegetables, tossing well.
- Spread the vegetables in a single layer in an oven-proof dish and roast them for 30- 40 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your vegetables.
When oranges and clementines appear in grocery stores, they serve as reminders that winter is almost upon us – a time to boost up vitamin C. Clementines are an easy-to-peel fruit, while the more difficult Navel, Jaffa, and blood oranges are still worth the effort as they can add color and crispness to a salad. The acidity in oranges also helps counter fats in poultry. As I was roasting my favorite bird, duck, this past week, news started to trickle in about Beirut and Paris.
As both these cities share history, and both have world-renowned cuisines, honoring their food traditions seemed appropriate for the time. Food, in both these cities, is more about celebration of life, and eating out is part of both cultures. In the classic French dish, duck à l’orange, duck is served with a rich orange sauce. In the mezze traditions of Lebanese cuisine, oranges perk up simple salads and orange blossom water suffuses desserts with delicate flavor.
Roasted Duck, Lettuce, and Orange Salad
Frisée lettuce – 1, bunch
Oranges – 2, large
Wine vinegar – 6-8 tbsp
Olive/Sesame oil – 3 tbsp
Salt and pepper – to taste
Roasted duck leg/breast – 1, thinly sliced
- Wash the orange. Julienne about 10 zests into thin slivers and keep aside. Cut the oranges crosswise in ¼-inch rounds.
- Add the wine vinegar in a pan, and heat until it is just warm. Remove from heat.
- Add the orange zests, and let them steep in the warm vinegar.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to the vinegar. Keep this vinaigrette aside.
- Assemble the washed lettuce on a platter. Remove the white pith from around the oranges and place them on the lettuce.
- When ready to serve, pour the vinaigrette over the orange and lettuce.
- Layer the duck slices between the oranges.