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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winter vegetables

One of the things I love about my retirement life is that I have friends of all ages. I hope they keep me current and prevent my becoming an old stodge. Last night I had a couple in their thirties that I had met during the course of daily life and come to like. They recently had a great loss, and I wanted to reach out to them, which is hard when you're acquaintances and haven't quite moved to the friendship level, though I sense that coming. So I did what I do best--I invited them to dinner.
Unfortunately, it was not one of my best dinners. I have a minute steak with anchovy butter recipe that I'm anxious to try, but they didn't strike me as steak people. I inquired if they liked fish. They did. So I did something I won't try again--I pan-fried trout filets. Only instead of the lovely filets I put in the pan, I served trout hash. I had some of the "hash" tonight--livened it up with more salt and pepper and some lemon butter--tasted much better, still looked awful. Honest, instead of figuring out what I did wrong, I'm just not going to try that again. I'll eat my trout in restaurants and stick to fish like sea bass and salmon that I know how to cook.
The rest of the meal was better, and they really liked the roasted vegetables. Here's what I did:

Heated oven to 450

Peeled and cut in large chunks:
3 beets (I bought the greens and ended up not doing anything with them)
1 large baking potato
1 sweet onion
1/2 lb. large mushrooms (stemmed and cut in half)
a good-sized bunch of baby carrots (for eco purposes you could clean and chunk whole carrots--which I should have done--baby carrots have been soak in something, chlorine I believe, which is supposed to be harmless but why eat it?)

Sprayed a baking pan and dumped the veggies in. Seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and about two Tbsp. each of dried oregano and basil. Poured vegetable oil over them (I think olive oil would be too strong here and I tried be moderate with the oil--you don't want greasy vegetables) and baked 15 minutes. Pulled the pan out to stir and added:

a handful of green beans, stemmed

Baked another 15 minutes. (Actually I baked it longer because we got too talking, but it was too much; the green beans were way overdone)

You can add or subtract any vegetables you want though root vegetables are particularly good.

Another thing I did that turned out well was to make my own ranch dip (I'm trying so hard to avoid preserved foods):

about a quarter cup Greek yogurt
about 2 tsp. mayonnaise
chopped chives (it killed me to buy them but my annual crop is hibernating right now)
onion power and garlic powder--maybe half a tsp. each

I served this with Central Market organic black pepper and sea salt potato chips. So good! This doesn't make much, so you might want to double the recipe.

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