roasted baby vegetables

Well, I’m sorry to say… Sadie’s been a bit at it again. In the mix with all of her wonderful Sadie things, there are constant demands, and there is foot stomping, and there are more demands. I just don’t know how to help that girl out these days.
Last night, after being whisked away from a coming tantrum by a few aunties (thank you Molly, thank you Lissa!) to see some free modern dance in the woods, she returned, and without so much pausing to say hello, it all began again. You see, during her absence, we ran Rosie down to the ice cream shop, just honestly for a mellow treat for Rosie sans the demanding one, and Rosie just couldn’t keep in the information. So, then it was hysterics on the lack of ice cream followed by an angry critique of what was for dinner.
What is this! stomp stomp frown frown.
Roasted baby vegetables, from the garden!
“Mom. That is mean and unnatural. These vegetables should be growing until their big. You are hurting mother nature with this dinner.”
You see what I’m up against here?

If you find just the right farmer at the farmers market, you might walk away with a little basket of baby vegetables. Maybe little beets, or miniature carrots, or tiny cippolini onions. But honestly, this is reason number 456 to grown these things in your very own yard. Because the truth is, Sadie is right. Like other things that are tastier when they are young (oh, Sadie at 3!), baby vegetables should keep growing so that you can harvest them correctly and have lots of food and preserve them for the winter and all that. But tiny? They are worth the guilt of ending their short lives. I could (and I have been known to) empty my garden before anything is grown–I am that susceptible to the siren call of the baby onion.
And if I were really on top of it, I would have thinned everything beautifully, and I would have writing about baby vegetables earlier in the summer, when you’re supposed to have them, and when thinning benefits those that stay to mature to adulthood.
But my garden is a wreck (I plead abdominal surgery), and when finally my friend Molly whisked me out to the garden yesterday before whisking Sadie away a bit later, I finally faced the jungle of thistle and grass and radicchio that I have going out there. And because of the sheer quantity of weeds (more work today!), every time I yanked an offending plant, there was often a perfect little baby veg hanging on to those weedy roots for dear life.
Hurray! Dinner! Although not, as you would imagine, for the big girl, who abstained for humanitarian reasons. And not for the little either, as she was filled with ice cream. And I call myself a mother. Ah well. More work to do. What would I do with my time if I wasn’t so so imperfect?

Roasted Baby Vegetables

Combine any number of baby carrots, onions, beets, new potatoes, and peeled garlic cloves. Anything that is bigger than quite little should be cut down to match the size of the smaller vegetables. Toss with a glug of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until especially the beets and potatoes are tender.


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