Soothing Roasted Vegetables and a Little Recognition
We all have a place that we go to when we need alone time or simply time to nurture ourselves, away from the noise and the business of our everyday lives. Everyone has their own “go to” space. Today whilst walking the dog I was thinking about Penny de los Santos’ talk on TED. She was saying how life is made up of moments. As a photographer, she tries to capture those little moments. Often, those little moments happen in a split second. Far too many of us never find the moments in our lives just to be. To savour the moment. We are so busy running around, doing the shopping, our chores and generally meeting the demands of everyday modern life that we forget to take a moment and just be.
Years ago when I was taking pottery classes, I remember becoming totally mesmerised in the process of making a piece of pottery. Throwing a chunk of clay onto the wheel and working it with a little water. With the gentle and subtle movements of my hands, I was able to fashion shapes and forms simply by adjusting the movement and pressure of my hands on the clay. I was totally present. The outside world ceased to exist while I was in that pottery studio. I remember feeling an incredible sense of calm after each session.
Cooking and baking can have the same therapeutic effect.
Chopping vegetables can be quite a mundane task especially if you are in a hurry and your mind is elsewhere. However, I can highly recommend a change of pace right there in your kitchen. A little moment just to be present where nothing else matters. I experienced such a moment whilst chopping a pile of vegetables to make a fabulously versatile dish of roasted vegetables. Instead of thinking about all the tasks I still needed to do and all the tasks I failed to do, I found myself focusing on the vegetables in front of me. Focusing, also minimises the risk of cutting yourself. Which of course is helpful in this situation:) Like all artists who lose themselves in their creative process, so too we housewives and mothers everywhere can lose ourselves in our kitchens. As I sliced through the shiny purple skin of the aubergine, I saw the tiny seeds nestled in the creamy flesh. I observed the droplets of liquid forming on the flesh as I cut into firm, green zucchini. The pretty white and purple pattern that that onion rings made as they piled up on my chopping board. I looked. Really looked. I was present. It felt good. No stress. No noise. Just me and my vegetables.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I wish a little bit of the same craziness on all of you.
Back to the vegetables. I make trays of roasted vegetables and then use them up over at least two, sometimes three meals. They are fantastic with meat or chicken. They stand on their own as a topping for bruschetta. I always make more than enough so that I can keep some back for the next day when they taste even better. They make an excellent pasta sauce. Heat them up gently, keep them as is, or add a dollop of ricotta or mascarpone cheese and stir it through your ready cooked pasta. Delicious! They work just as well, stirred through cooked couscous or millet with lots of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and some chickpeas. An instant stand alone supper or a great side dish with your favourite roast.
You can chop them however you want. Either long strips or in cubes. I used aubergine, zucchini, red onion, red pepper, baby tomatoes and freshly chopped rosemary. I have made it with onion, zucchini, mushrooms, pumpkin and baby asparagus and it tasted heavenly. Experiment with different combinations.
How to prepare the vegetables:
Wash and dry your selected vegetables. Here I used 1 large red onion, 2 large red peppers, 2 medium to large aubergines, about 6 medium sized zucchini, a punnet of baby tomatoes and finely chopped fresh rosemary.
I do not peel aubergines, because I like the purple colour coming through.
Slice the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and place them all mixed up on a baking sheet. Do not overcrowd them or they will steam and go soggy. Use 2 trays if need be. Drizzle with olive oil and a grinding of salt and pepper. Mix well to coat the vegetables in the oil. Do not add too much oil at this stage. Pop them into a hot oven. Turn them over using a spatula from time to time. When they have started catching little golden specks and are soft but not falling apart, add the tomatoes. As soon as the tomatoes begin splitting their skins remove the vegetables from the oven and allow the to cool. Pile them onto your serving plate with another good drizzle of olive oil. Adding a little splash of balsamic vinegar really adds extra zing too. Check the seasoning and add a handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. Enjoy!
On a completely different note I would like to thank Dani of See Dani Bake for nominating My Mezzaluna for it’s very first award, The Liebster Blog award. Liebster is the German word meaning dearest or beloved. The award is awarded to up -and- coming blogs which currently have less than 200 followers. Thank you Dani for enjoying my blog enough to vote for it. I am so happy that there are people like Dani out there who read and enjoy my ramblings, however I must also say that I am equally pleased I took the decision some time ago not to compare myself to other blogs with a much larger following otherwise I might have been too depressed to accept this lovely recognition.
In order to keep sending out good vibes to other blogs like mine, I would in turn like to share this award with 5 other wonderful bloggers that deserve recognition. Check them out please:
1. Lottie Loves
4. Eat Aussie