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Roasted Winter Vegetables Two Ways: Soup or Barley

January 3, 2011

We have some exciting news in our house: we have a new light in the kitchen! I know, most statements that start out that way end with words like hired, engaged, or pregnant. However, in our house this news is just as exciting. Three months ago, our kitchen light broke, and I have been cooking in the dark since. We made three to four trips to lighting stores and tried to install two different lights, but our tricky New Deal townhouse decided to give us a challenge. After checking in with the brilliant people at Dominion Lighting, pun totally intended, we were able to install a new light today. New Year, New Lights.

The funny thing about a new light is that it inspires you to do a million different things. I wanted to COOK! I wanted to ORGANIZE the kitchen! And well, I needed to CLEAN the kitchen! New lights spotlight all the nooks and corners your were avoiding for three months. So, while AAM taught Serafina about the Redskins in our den, I cooked, organized, and cleaned. After five years of living in our house, I have learned a new light, or angle, on a room can help you simplify and reorganize. We are in the continual process of downsizing. Adding unused (impulse purchases from half a decade ago) kitchen supplies to the donation pile, I was able to stick with our rule: one item in, one item out. If we buy something new, we must donate or put in storage an item we haven’t used for several years. Because Serafina received a few toys for Christmas, we need to say good-bye to our old life of spontaneous Target kitchen purchases. This is how people in small spaces stay sane. (For the past two years, I have become obsessed with the minimalist movement. I could never do what these people do, but I am fascinated by them and I often reflect on their goals. I wish I could commit myself fully, but that is for another post.)

For my first meal with lights, I decided to chop up my fresh winter root vegetables and cook them two ways. Half the batch went on top of the stove and were simmered for a soup to enjoy this week. The other half of the vegetable batch roasted in the oven and served with barley for dinner.

Two Meals (plus food for Serafina) from the Same Ingredients= Good Use of Time.

Winter Vegetables Two Ways (Vegan)

  • 2 rutabagas
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small ones)
  • 3 medium white potatoes
  • 3 long carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1-2  tb kosher salt
  • 2 tb ground pepper
  • 4 cups of veggie broth, divided
  • 1 tb cinnamon
  • 1 tb oregano
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups of veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Peel and dice the rutabagas, butternut squash, sweet potato, potatoes, carrots and onions. Be sure you peel these veggies well, as the squash and sweet potato have two outer layers.
  3. Toss the veggies with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Be thorough and see that it is evenly distributed.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Barley

  1. Take half the batch and pour into an aluminum pan lined with foil. Toss in cinnamon. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the barley in 3 cups of veggie broth.
  3. Serve the winter vegetables mixed with the barley, and sprinkle walnuts on top.

Roasted Winter Vegetables Soup

  1. Take the remaining vegetables, and stir in oregano. Then simmer in 1 cup of veggie broth for 30 minutes.
  2. When the veggies are soft, transfer them with the cooking liquid to your food processor. Puree in the processor, while slowly adding veggie broth, which for me was about 1 cup.
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