Friday, February 15, 2008

Roasted Vegetables

I know I'm starting out with something easy, but it's so delicious! I can't help it. And it just looks beautiful. How could you possibly go wrong with simple, healthy, and elegant?

The terms "roasting" and "baking" both refer to the process of surrounding food with dry, heated air in a closed environment. Heat is transferred to the food's surface by convection; the food is then penetrated by conduction. Convection is the transfer of heat by movement of a liquid or gas. Conduction is the transfer of heat resulting from direct contact.

The point is, once the materials being heated by hot air have begun heating on the surface, the heat transfers through the material to heat the stuff underneath the surface. And in the meantime, the surface (in the case of roasting vegetables) dehydrates and then the food browns from caramelization, completing the cooking process.

Roasting is used to bring out the natural sweetness and to enhance the flavor of many types of vegetables. Roasting works best with vegetables that can withstand high heats without turning into mush.

The ingredients:
1-2 roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 yellow squash (cut into 3/4 in thick rounds)
2 zucchini (cut into 3/4 in thick rounds)
1 large eggplant (cut into 1 1/2 in cubes)
1 red onion (cut into large pieces)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large roasting pan, evenly spread the diced tomatoes. Toss the fresh vegetables and garlic in olive oil and salt. Spread out the vegetables evenly over the diced tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake/roast for 30 minutes, stopping halfway to toss the vegetables. Uncover after 30 minutes and roast for another 10 minutes.

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