I’m going to suggest something that may seem strange: the next time you’re looking to have a roasted vegetable as a side dish, choose the humble radish.
Perhaps you think of radishes as a raw-only vegetable. I know I did, but they’re also delicious roasted. Brief high roasting mellows their vibrant colour, tames their peppery bite and gives them a softer fuller flavour.
The green tops are edible and highly nutritious, too. My green tops were looking a little sad so I didn’t roast them, but you can rinse and roast them on the same baking sheet. They add color and amp up the radish flavor.
Roast radishes alone or with a medley of other vegetables. Carrots would be good. Or use them as a salad topping. Or eat them right off the tray for an after school snack as my son and I did.
This is a basic recipe. Feel free to personalize it with your preferred herbs and oil. Browned butter would be good or maybe some lemon zest. I haven tried it but adding a wee bit of honey might be interesting.
2 bunches radishes, fresh (not the ones in a sealed plastic bag)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
flaky sea salt
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
Slice in half from stem to root. I leave a little of the stem and root on mine because I like how it looks but feel free to trim yours.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. I like to turn mine cut side down on the tray. I like how they caramelize that way.
Bake until radishes are tender and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley (or herb of your choice).
One of my favourite bloggers runs this series on her blog called “my week in objects.” I love it so much I thought I’d run a similar series on mine. Here are things that have captured my attention lately:
1.these biodegradable and compostable straws
because they’ve upped our smoothie game big time.
2.this street sign
because there will be less dust and debris and now we can safely wash our windows.
3.this garden succulent
because the snow has melted and the garden is waking up.
Wondering where we’re at with our bathroom renovation? Well, the tub is finally out of the living room and installed in the bathroom.
It’s a five-foot long deep soaker tub. Since water weighs a lot (one kilogram per litre) our contractor wanted to be certain we wouldn’t come crashing down through the floor and into the kitchen on our first dip into the bathtub.
Rather than fill the tub with water (and risk having THAT mess to deal with should the floor not be able to withstand the weight) he chose a static weight; he placed in the tub several sand bags, totaling hundreds of pounds, and then jumped in to add to the load.
Turns out this old house’s structure is sound enough and we can bathe without anxiety. Phew!
Speaking of certainty, I was roasting carrots to feed my family the other night, certain I had prepared enough for my hungry crowd. But when I pulled them from the oven they had considerably shrunk and the amount seemed scant.
My wise daughter suggested I add spinach to bulk things up. So I added several handfuls of tender spinach to the hot cookie sheet, tossed it among the carrots (which helped it slightly wilt), added salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and voila!
Coincidently, I recently came upon this recipe, which inspired me to take this dish to the next level by adding spices, pine nuts and raisins. The result is a flavourful and hearty dish, packed with nutrients. It’s colourful and pretty, too. And I love to eat pretty things. Don’t you?
These are the amounts I used to feed five hungry people as a side dish.
Roasted carrots with pine nuts, spinach and raisins
14 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons spice of your choice (I used freshly grated nutmeg)
3/4 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
1/2 cup pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Several handfuls of tender spinach (or mesclun greens)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss carrots with olive oil and spice of your choice. Spread out on prepared baking sheet and roast 20 minutes or until carrots are tender with golden brown edges.
Remove from oven. Scatter raisins and pine nuts on hot baking sheet and gently toss.
Add spinach to carrots and toss gently.
Finish with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste.
More than one thing was upside down in our house last week.
Yes, that’s an upside down bathtub, and very soon it will be upstairs in its rightful place after taking up space in the middle of our living room floor for more than two weeks.
Our bathroom renovation is on going but the end is in clear sight. These things always take longer than you expect or want but I’ve been surprisingly patient about the inconvenience, even in the midst of hosting my father in-law for a 10-day visit. Six people sharing one bathroom for 10 days and we are still courteous and friendly with each other; a testament to our collective good nature and strong sense that it’s a privilege to complain about such things.
The other object upside down in our house recently is this cake, perhaps the 20th century’s most notorious retro-chic dessert creation, the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.
The name refers to the way the cake is served: flipped out of the pan so the bottom becomes the top, revealing a moist topping, commonly consisting of fruit caramelized in a melted sugary-butter blend.
The idea of cooking a cake upside down is a technique that’s been around since the Middle Ages when cakes were cooked in cast iron skillets on top of the stove.
Today we bake them in ovens and use almost any kind of cake pan, from square to round to bundt, to individual cakes made in a cupcake tin. I baked mine in my trusted old blackened cast iron skillet.
I’ve always liked this dessert but I find it cloyingly sweet. Since my youngest recently requested it for his birthday I felt determined to come up with a version to satisfy not only those family members with wheat sensitivities but also my lack of an overly sweet tooth.
Three tries later and mission accomplished. I used fresh instead of canned pineapple; pitted sour cherries, which are not as pretty or as retro as maraschino cherries but still taste great; coconut oil instead of butter; honey instead of sugar, and almond flour in lieu of wheat flour.
Don’t feel limited to using pineapple. Apples, blueberries, prunes and apricots supposedly work lovely, too. Not a fan of cherries? Try pecans or walnuts.
No matter what fruit you choose the resulting presentation can be quite striking, especially if you take care to arrange the fruit before spooning on the batter which, I learned, you do very carefully so as to not disturb the placement of the fruit.
Frosting is unwarranted. I served this one with whipped cream and a few extra cherries.
And guess what? My post is a timely one because April 20th is National Upside Down Cake Day.
Pineapple Upside Down Skillet Cake
2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated. Beating the egg whites and then folding into the batter results in a lighter cake.
10 tbsp honey
6 tbsp melted coconut oil or oil of your choice. Olive oil works well, too.
2 tsp vanilla extract
at least 3 slices of fresh pineapple, 1/2 inch thick
pitted cherries for decorating (I used sour cherries in a light syrup but you could use fresh or frozen too)
Preheat oven to 325 F
Lightly grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet. I sprayed mine with coconut oil.
Place 3 tablespoons of the honey in the skillet. Slightly warm over low heat so the honey gets runny and spreads evenly. Remove from heat and arrange the pineapple slices and cherries in a decorative pattern in the pan. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Mix almond flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl cream the eggs yolks with the remaining honey. Add the coconut oil and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add the almond mixture and combine well. Beat the egg whites and fold into batter.
Remove skillet from oven and carefully pour batter over the top of the fruit and smooth it out so as to not disturb the pattern. Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes. Touch the top of the cake lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back then it’s done. If not, allow to bake for a few more minutes.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream and more cherries.
Store any remaining slices in an airtight container in the fridge.