1. SESAME ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper for spiciness
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with the vegetable oil, chili powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring gently every 5-10 minutes.
Increase the heat to 400 degrees and roast for another 5-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are turning golden brown. Continue to stir the sweet potato pieces as needed to prevent over-browning. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
On a separate platter or directly on the baking sheet, drizzle the sweet potatoes with the sesame oil and tahini. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add a handful of cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
2. ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH RAISINS AND PINE NUTS
1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets (about 4 cups total)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing once, or until browned and tender.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts carefully in a medium, dry skillet over medium heat. Keep an eye on them- they are easy to burn! Once they begin to turn fragrant and have a light brown color, add the raisins, olive oil, and lemon juice to the skillet. Cook for about one more minute on very low heat, or until raisins have softened and plumped a bit.
Turn off heat and stir in the parsley and lemon zest.
Toss the roasted cauliflower with the pine nut and raisin mixture. Serve immediately when it’s warm, or allow to cool to room temperature so the flavors marry a bit. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
3. BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI
4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
4. BROCCOLI TOTS
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into equal sized florets (around 3-4 cups)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot Vermont Sharp White Cheddar)
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Pour 1 inch of water into a saucepan; bring to a boil. Place the broccoli into the boiling water, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the broccoli for 5-6 minutes, or until it can easily be pierced by a fork. Drain the broccoli and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Lay the broccoli out onto paper towels and cover with more paper towels, Press down firmly on the broccoli to absorb as much moisture as you can. Another method is to put the broccoli in the center of a dish towel and ring out the water as seen here. Finely chop the broccoli.
4. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together until well mixed. Fill each muffin cup in a mini muffin tin to the top, pushing down on the filling with your spoon so it's nice and compacted.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes in preheated oven. The top will be starting to golden. To easily remove from the pan (without scratching it to death), run a plastic knife around the edges of each tot and they should come out easier.
If they seem to be falling apart when you take them out of the pan you can (1) put them back into the oven to cook for a few minutes longer so they are a bit crisper or (2) let them sit in the pan for a few minutes to let the insides firm up a bit before removing them from the pan. You have to be ginger with them if they're sticking a little to the pan!
The sharp cheddar can be substituted with whatever cheese you have on hand.