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Chelsea Green Blog

Joan’s Roasted What’s-In-The-Garden

Food writer Alexandra Zissu shared this fun “non-recipe” recently. Since we’re approaching the food-oriented winter holidays, and you’re likely to have some root vegetables in the yet-unfrozen ground, we thought we’d share it afresh.

Joan Gussow is the author of This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader and last year’s Growing Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables. She’s long been a vocal and visible advocate for local foods and growing your own vegetables. Even Michael Pollan (quite possibly the Oprah of sustainable eating) famously quipped, “Once in a while, when I have an original thought, I look around and realize Joan said it first.”

We feel the same way, Michael.

Joan Gussow’s Roasted What’s-In-The-Garden This isn’t really a recipe–which makes it the perfect recipe. It’s seasonal and doesn’t call for anything that isn’t growing in the same region (Gussow’s yard!) at the same time. Plus it gives wonderful insight into the mind-set of a deeply green thinker. “I tend to make things that are related to what I have. I save recipes when they come along, but I don’t make as much use of cookbooks as I might. They have an assortment of things I might not have. If I were thinking about dinner during the day, I am thinking of the fridge: What’s in it should I use up? What’s in the garden I should use up? I’m aware of what I have at a given time. I had my first Burbank russets this year that were big. I love to dig potatoes. It’s a pleasure, like finding gold in the earth–a wonderful bucketful of potatoes comes out of the ground. I rolled them in oil and stuck them in the hot oven. Then I thought, I’m not going to waste that oven heat.” She remembered that a friend had done a potato-and-green-beans thing, and called her to find out how to proceed. She wound up roasting potatoes, green beans, and Jimmy Nardello peppers on separate sheets in the oven for about a half hour. “It wasn’t a meal,” she says. “It was potatoes and green beans and peppers on a plate. And it was delicious.”


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