Chile Roasted Vegetables

Winter is like a dinner party guest who won’t go home. You know the one – he (or is Winter a she?) hangs around after everyone else has gone home, has another glass of wine, and drones on about his kid’s recent tuba recital. It’s not that you don’t like him, you just wish he’d go away. Now.

Let’s face it, we’re ready for Spring and something flashy and fresh. It doesn’t help that we’re told to ‘eat seasonally’ which right about now feels like a diet of acorns and tree bark.

CAUL SWEET COLLAGE

But it’s not all doom and gloom. It simply takes a bit of culinary ingenuity and a lot of chile to snap our taste buds out of the winter doldrums.

So this week we’re sharing two recipes: one with sweet potatoes and another with cauliflower. I can hear the collective groan before I’ve even finished typing ‘flower’. Poor cauliflower suffers from a horrible image, not helped by my grandmother who boiled it to smithereens, slopped it on my plate and lurked over me as I forced down each bite. But it’s not the vegetable’s fault. All it takes is a bit of kindness, a little thought and a really hot oven.

Roasting cauliflower and sweet potatoes– and lots of other winter and root vegetables – brings out a lovely caramelized flavor that wakens the taste buds and puts a spring – excuse the pun – in your step. Both recipes use Chile Molido which is a real work horse in the Chile Trail kitchen. Choose mild or hot and feel free to up the amount of chile.

And relax. Spring is coming. It’s official.

Roasted Cauliflower with a Chile, Honey & Citrus Dressing

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt

Dressing
Juice of one orange, approximately 5 Tbsp
5 Tbsp olive oil (or equivalent to the amount to the juice)
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 Tbsp honey
Salt
Chile pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the cauliflower onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned.

CAULIFLOWER 1.BIGCAULIFLOWER PAN.BIG

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing. Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Slice the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Mix the juice with the olive oil, chile and honey. Season with salt.

CAULIFLOWER DISH CU.BIG

Drizzle several tablespoons of the dressing over the cauliflower during the last ten minutes or so of cooking. This allows the cauliflower to absorb some of the dressing. Remove from the oven, plate and garnish with chile pepper flakes and the orange zest. Serve with the remaining dressing.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Green Tahini Sauce

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

Tahini is a sesame seed paste and is popular in Middle Eastern cooking. You’ll find it in many grocery stores or at health food shops.

1 ¼ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
Sea salt

Green tahini sauce
1 small clove garlic
½ cup parsley leaves
1 Tbsp tahini
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the sliced sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the sweet potatoes, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned. During the last ten minutes or so, toss with the chile powder, this gives the chile a slightly toasted flavor without the risk of it burning.

SWEET POTATOES PANSWEET POTATOES CU

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the sauce. In the small bowl of a food processor, mix the parsley and garlic together. Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Season with salt and place in a serving dish. Serve alongside the roasted sweet potatoes.

GREEN DIP CU
SWEET POTATOES DIP

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