I live on the edge of Gouda. Literally on the edge. Right next to my house lies a huge park that marks the end of Gouda. I adore walking around there with my boy, seeing all the golden en red autumn leaves twirling around, my munchkin tossing them high up in the air, small leaves ending up in his fuzzy blond hair, his cheeks all flushed and his eyes sparkling blue. I just don’t need much to be utterly happy. Neither does he at this age :)
Those falling leaves also tell me it’s time for roasted vegetables, lots and lots of them. ‘Tis the season! Roasting them is by far my favorite cooking method. Hardly any work because you just toss everything in a tray and let the oven do the work for you. So many vegetables you can put together and perfect with a handful of fragrant herbs. Roasting them just really brings out the flavor and natural sweetness. It gives them that little extra something.
Not to mention it looks pretty rustic, which always scores points with me.
2 large carrots
2 sweet potatoes
2 large potatoes
5 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp oil
When you say Gouda (no, it’s not pronounced ‘goo-da’, it’s more like ‘how-dah’), most people will immediately think of cheese. Understandably. Less known, but still a big part of Gouda are our delicious syrup waffles (stroopwafels) and candles.
Then there’s our beautiful town hall, where I got married (after a fantastic wedding ceremony in the Dominican Republic) and the old majestic houses dating back to the 1600’s. It’s really all that -I still feel like a little girl standing in the middle of a fairytale when I look around our market square during the holiday season- but it’s so much more than that. Let me show you a very small part of my world, a little Gouda through my eyes. The other side.
Anyway, back to what it’s really all about here! The food!
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
The happy lot. Look at them lying there all innocent and pretty, totally clueless and unaware of what lies ahead of them.
My vegetable peeler and santoku knife! Peel the parsnips, cut them in quarters and remove the woody core.
Also peel and coarsely chop the carrots. Try and keep everything similarly sized.
Peel and cut the potatoes. Initially I went for 2 sweet potatoes, but they were rather large so I opted for just one in stead. C’mon now, I’m a woman, changing my mind (even last minute) is my prerogative!!
My first purchase -along with a fancy le creuset- will be an actual roasting tray. Can’t believe I don’t own one, I should be ashamed … but I’m not. My cast iron oven dish works just fine, besides, I kind of like to choose the path less traveled! :)
Transfer everything to an oven dish or roasting tray.
Peel the shallots, cut them in half and randomly place them between the other vegetables. It’s slowly becoming a real colorful picture, isn’t it?
Now pour roughly 4 tbsp oil in there as well. Notice I’m not using measuring spoons? Here’s a tip: if you pour oil straight out of the bottle, count the seconds out loud – 1 second stands for roughly one teaspoon, 3 seconds for a tablespoon. My main man Jamie taught me this!
Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt and black pepper on top. Don’t skimp now!
Now randomly toss some garlic cloves in there. Leave the skin on – the garlic will roast inside the skin and once the vegetables are done, you can squeeze the sweet roasted garlic all over the vegetables. It’s heaven.
Also put quite a few thyme sprigs in there as well. Strip two sprigs, sprinkle them all over and then go for whole sprigs here and there rather than stripping them all. It’ll be much easier to remove them after roasting this way. You’ll have the flavor without the charred thyme.
Pop them in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes (depending on the size of your vegetables, size really does matter:). Flip them over after 25 minutes. Check for readiness.
Now I’m sure I don’t have to mention how fabulous these are when served with the Honey Thyme Chops I made recently? Do I?