Friday, May 10, 2013

The Best Way to cook Zucchini and Carrots from Voracious Vander

I came across this recipe  for "The Best Way to Cook Zucchini and Carrots" on Pinterest one day a few months ago.  As with many recipes on Pinterest, the picture was quite inviting but would it taste good and what's more would it be the "best way?"  Sprouts had some pretty organic zucchini the other day, so I knew it was time to review this recipe. 

I gathered my ingredients and got to work.  

I started by pre-heating the oven  to 425 degrees.  The recipe doesn't give specific amounts of vegetables.  I used 6 carrots and 3 zucchinis.  I then peeled and sliced up my carrots.  I cut each carrot into quarters lengthwise into long sticks.  Next, I washed and quartered the zucchini also into sticks.  I apologize, for some reason I didn't get pictures of the zucchini cutting.  

Next I tore off a sheet of parchment paper long enough to cover my sheet pan and folded it to fit.  It didn't really want to stay down on the pan until I coated it with a light layer of olive oil, which was the next step.

I used 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a silicone basting brush to coat the parchment paper. 

The recipe also basically lets you choose your seasonings, but it give some suggestions.  I had enough vegetables to make two batches with two different seasonings.  I liked the idea of using salt  pepper, smoked paprika and crushed red peppers as the author suggests, so that was batch number one.  The recipe doesn't give definite amounts so I just gave the vegetables a good sprinkling of each seasoning element.   
Batch Number 1:  Salt, Pepper, Smoked Paprika & Crushed Chilies
For batch number two, I decided to keep it simple with a little salt and Paleo Powder

The recipe says to cook for a total of 20 minutes turning the vegetables half way through.  Once the oven was pre-heated, I placed the sheet pans in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark, I used tongs to turn the veggies.  I also used the turning as an opportunity to make sure each piece of carrot and zucchini had oil and seasoning on it by rubbing each piece around on the pan.  I set the timer for another 10 minutes.  

When that timer went off, the veggies weren't quite golden and/or browned.  So I set the timer for another 10 minutes and then another 10 minutes.  I took them out of the oven at 38 minutes total.  Here is one of the baking sheets right out of the oven.

And here are the vegetables plated for dinner.  

And a different angle.

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this recipe at your big box grocery store.  If you don't have Paleo Powder yet, you can get some here.  If you've not added smoked paprika to your spice rack, you really should give it a try.  It's one of my favorite spices lately.  My big box grocery store doesn't have smoked paprika, but the more "gourmet" and "health-food" oriented stores in my area do.  If you cant find it, there's always the internet.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  It took me about 10 minutes to peel and cut the carrots and wash and cut the zucchini.  It took an additional 5 minutes to season to prepare the sheet pans and season the vegetables.  The recommended cooking time is 20 minutes, but it took me 38 to get a nice golden brown color on the vegetables.  

Clean Up:  The parchment paper doesn't keep the baking sheets entirely clean, but there's certainly no heavy scrubbing involved once you throw away the parchment paper.  I put my baking sheets and basting brush into the dishwasher.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  This is a recipe that lives up to its "best way" name.  If you're looking for a reliable tasty no muss no fuss way to prepare zucchini and carrots, look no further than this recipe.  As anything I've made with Paleo Powder has been, that batch was wonderfully peppery.  With that said, the batch with the smoked paprika was the most heavenly thing I've tasted in a while.  First you taste the wonderful smoky salty deep flavor of the salt and paprika but then it finishes with a kick from the crushed chilies.  If you can't eat it all in one sitting, it does hold up in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  It will get a little mushy by the second day, but still quite tasty.  I can't wait to make this recipe again.