There was a mist covering Los Angeles this past weekend, and it does feel like winter. Living in the West, people assume that the seasons just blend together without any noticeable changes but that isn’t so, the changes are just less dramatic. The flower beds are not quite as full, some of the trees lose their leaves, and the jewel-toned winter vegetables in the markets are completely in sync with the holiday season. The reds and purples of fingerlings, the rust colored yams, the beautiful deep green of the acorn squashes that at once bring to mind acorns and the forest beds where they fall. My favorite are the turban squashes, each one so different that they look as if an artist painted these unusual gourds by hand, some splattered with yellow and green, others like our winters, less showy but no less beautiful.
Roasted Winter Vegetables
What makes this dish so beautiful are the skins. Do not bother peeling the squashes, just roast them for a long time in small wedges and they will soften.
Assorted Fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise (purples and reds)
Yams, peeled and cut in large chunks
Turnips, peeled and cut in large chunks
1 large red onion, cut in wedges
2/3 cup olive oil
10 peeled cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
2 Tb. maple syrup
2 Tb white balsamic vinegar
Carefully cut all the squash into small wedges, leaving the skin on. Toss in a large bowl with 1/3 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and roast on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven at 425 degrees till skin is easily pierced. Toss occasionally so all the squash cooks evenly. Roast for about one hour.
Take remaining vegetables and red onion, and toss in a bowl with 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Place on cookie sheet at the same temperature for about 30 minutes or until done.
Combine both sheets of vegetables and adjust seasoning.