09 September 2013

Eats: simple roasted zucchini with garlic

I’ve noticed a shift in the way I cook over the last few years. (It helps, of course, that I’ve been documenting exactly what and how I’m cooking here on the blog.) There’s two big differences that I spot: one, more fresh veggies. And two, a whole lot more of “keeping it simple”. Which can be summed up thusly: less casseroles.

I know exactly why I posted a lot of casserole-type dishes two years ago: I didn’t know how to cook things separately. So, I’d glom the meat and bread into one dish, like here and here. Or I’d cover the veggies with sauce and pasta, like here and here. That way I didn’t have to know how to cook things separately – I could throw it all in a dish and pat myself on the back for serving a meal that had most of the major food groups in one gloppy bowl.

Lately, though, casseroles have seemed like so much effort. Ironic, because casseroles were supposed to save time, owing to the fact that I could throw everything in a single dish. But casseroles require extra sauces or ingredients that just feel totally unencessary, now that I know how to quickly cook chicken breasts or pork chops all by themselves, and how to serve a tasty vegetable or two on the side. Why put in the extra work to make a sauce, why bother to get the extra ingredients? Let’s simplify.

Roasted zucchini. Those are simple. And delicious with grilled cheese.

You might have spied the roasted zucchini in the background of my lasagna grilled cheese a few weeks ago. Yes, I might have missed the window on this year’s zucchini harvest, and for that, I apologize. But the logic holds true for all sorts of veggies – broccoli, asparagus, potatoes. Roast away!

For our two-person-family purposes, I used two small storebought zucchini. If you still have some monster zucchini from your garden, congratulations! Also they should work too!

Shown with iPod for scale. An iPod 5, mind you, the taller kind. Still more useful than my hand.

Then dice ‘em up. Actual size isn’t as important as keeping the pieces uniform, so they cook evenly.

Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. As much or as little as you like!

Spread out on the baking sheet... see how easy-peasy this is?

And pop them in a 375-degree oven for ten to fifteen minutes, tossing once partway through. I used our convection toaster oven, as I can’t be bothered to use the real oven when it’s triple-digit temperatures outdoors.

When they’re done, they’ll be a touch shriveled and honestly not much to look at...

But they taste FANTASTIC. Don’t let the shriveled-y appearance fool you. These are juicy and packed with flavor.

To be honest, I hadn’t straight-up roasted zucchini like this before, but it worked so well with every other vegetable I’d tried that I figured it was worth a shot. And this is now by far my favorite way to eat zucchini! I had always been kinda on the fence about it, but this roasting method puts it permanently in my regular rotation, especially during summer harvest time.

So yes, roasting zucchini is super basic. No shame in keeping it super basic! Especially when basic tastes this good.

No sauces, no pasta, no casseroles. Still totally delicious!

I hope you’re in a roasting-vegetables sort of mood, dear readers! It’s an excellent way to use up all the inexpensive produce nowadays, and the method can’t be beat for veggies year-round. Enjoy!

As for what else we’re eating this week...

Sunday: Pepperoni, olive, goat cheese focaccia pizza (clearly, a way to use up random ingredients and clear out the fridge)

Monday: A new Thai peanut pasta recipe. Wish me luck!

Tuesday: Taco salad

Wednesday: Salsa chicken with rice and avocado – a new regular-rotation recipe that I’ll share very soon!

Thursday: This new lemony chicken salad, another new regular-rotation recipe I have yet to share! Promise I will soon!

Friday: Southwest chicken soup

Saturday: Date night

Hope you have a great week ahead, dear readers! Happy eating!