As much as possible, I try to practice simplicity in my cooking. I love cooking, playing with recipes, herbs, spices, sauces and the like but sometimes they can complicate things, confuse the palate and mask the wonderful flavors that nature gives us. Two veggie dish I recently made prove this better than ever.

This roasted carrot dish turned out amazing, even my veggie hating husband loved it. A long, hot roast brings out the natural sweetness. I found the recipe in the Barefoot Contessa cookbook (I LOVE Ina Garten, I find most of her recipes to be simple and delicious). Seriously, though, you don’t need a recipe. DON’T MEASURE! Don’t do it! For those that have a hard time without exact instructions and hand holding, you just have to let go. Slice some carrots at a sharp diagonal into 1-2 inch chunks, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (toss it all together right on the baking sheet, no need to dirty another dish) and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. When the carrots have beautiful caramel brown spots, they’re done. Toss with some parsley (fresh is best, but dried is fine too), and enjoy!

I had some lack luster cherry tomatoes from my Aerogarden. That thing just is not meant for tomatoes, it grew great herbs, but the tomatoes were a major letdown. They never really seemed “ripe” in flavor even though they had the right color and texture. As a quick side dish I tossed the tomatoes and some broccoli in some olive oil, salt and pepper and threw them in the grill basket and grilled for about 12 minutes. You could roast them in the oven, too. When they were done I tossed them with a touch of lemon juice and topped with parmesan cheese. The once flavorless tomatoes cooked up really nice and sweet and complemented the broccoli perfectly.

Let go of the recipes, put down the seasoning salt, and stop burying your vegetables in ranch dressing or mounds of cheddar cheese. Let your veggies shine on their own.


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