WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- I spent last Saturday morning combing the stalls at the Pleasantville farmers market for root vegetables (FYI, these are starchy tubers and taproots of plants). My search yielded a wide array of produce, from bright orange carrots and brilliant red onions to cream-colored parsnips and lush green leeks. Back at home I spilled my bounty on the kitchen table, arranging the root veggies for a photo like some type of demented food stylist. Then I got to work peeling and chopping everything into one-inch diced pieces. I started with the celeriac, a knobby beige and light green ball-shaped vegetable about five inches in diameter. Next were the parsnips, which looked like thick carrots but were light beige in color. The bulblike turnips, about the size of tennis balls, had purple and white exteriors, plus a sharp, bitter, radish like aroma. The rutabaga, shaped like a large orange, featured a mottled beige and violet surface. I ended up having to cut it into thick circles and then slice off the hard and dense skin with a sharp knife to reveal peach-colored flesh.
Also on the "peel and dice" list were sweet potatoes and carrots, red onions (cut them lengthwise into 6 sections, each with a piece of the heart intact so they don't fall apart when roasting), and green leeks (use only the pale and light green parts). Happily the red-skinned potatoes required only scrubbing and slicing and the garlic cloves easily slipped out of their skins.
After mixing the chopped vegetables with some rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper, I spread them onto two heavy, large baking sheets and put them in the oven. By the time the mixture finished roasting, a tantalizing, earthy aroma permeated the entire kitchen. Opening up the oven and staring at the beautifully browned root vegetables in front of me, I felt so healthy that I had to scour the kitchen for the candy bar I had hidden away. Roasted Root Vegetables
Ingredients 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 large rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 red onions, cut into six sections each 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only) cut into 1-inch-thick rounds 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste ½ tsp. pepper
Preparation Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat two heavy large baking sheets with a thin layer of vegetable or olive oil. Combine all the ingredients except garlic and leeks in very large bowl (I used two plastic bags); toss to coat. Divide vegetable mixture evenly between the prepared baking sheets. Place one sheet on each oven rack (position one on top and one on bottom). Roast 30 minutes. Add leeks and garlic and return to oven. Continue to roast until all vegetables are tender and brown in spots, stirring and turning occasionally, about 30 minutes longer (keep checking to make sure they don't burn).
Laura Joseph Mogil is a freelance writer and publicist residing in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. You can read her blog at www.theinspiredchef.blogspot.com
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.