Harissa Roasted Carrots & Onions, with Lemony Yogurt and Pomegranates

The holidays were here — I feel as though, they came and I conquered! Gifts all arrived to their destination on time! When all your family is on the east cost and we live on the west cost, this is a big deal. I will admit, I made Brian do the wrapping, shipping, and card addressing this year. I needed a break as I have been responsible for all of this the past 17 years give or take. But besides that there were cookies made & decorated, pies baked, holiday parties attended, cocktails consumed, entertaining executed, and a christmas dinner devoured with leftovers to spare. We also worked our jobs and snuck in a few naps; but the holidays were here and they were crushed in a triumph. IMG_0261

Time for the new year to roll in. Time to sit back and enjoy what is left of the 2015. Time to nibble and savor. Time to reminisce at all that went right! Wrong? Made us laugh! And even want to dismiss from the mind. Recently we were reminiscing of a dessert we tried on one of our travels. The texture was weird, it was somewhat rubbery, and not very sweet. The look on Brian’s face when he tried it was priceless as he politely chewed on it. Did it make us laugh? Yes, but the taste and experience left a lot to be desired. We can forget that one.

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I do remember harissa roasted carrots and onions - this is one recipe worthy of reminiscing. The carrots and onions were coated in olive oil, dusted with harissa, roasted until tender, served over a layer of lemony thick greek yogurt, and sprinkled on top with pomegranate seeds. Paring this with some warm pita and bright green leafy salad is perfection. Time to make this to bring in the new year…it is slightly spicy, smoky, earthy, and deeply robust. Depending on the spice variety you use, the flavor can vary. Although the one that I use is a nice balance of chilies, paprikas, fennel seeds, along with a variety of other spices. The spices pair nicely with the lemony yogurt, it mellows out the spice while leaving just the right amount that is needed. The pomegranets are bright and burst with flavor amongst the sweet roasted veggies. Over all, this simple dish is one of the more perfect things I ate this year. A dish to remember, a dish...holiday worthy!

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Harissa Roasted Carrots & Onions, with Lemony Yogurt and Pomegranates (serves 4 - 6 as a side dish)

**Notes: If you are looking for a Harissa Spice, you can always order it. I personally like this blend and the company here: https://www.worldspice.com/blends/harissa

6 - 8 large carrots; peeled, trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces

1 onion; trimmed and cut into 1 inch strips

1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil

1 tbsp harissa spice

sea salt to taste

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the carrots into thick sticks, about 1/4 - 1/6 of their whole. Place the carrot sticks and onion pieces in a bowl. Mix the olive oil and harissa together and toss it with your carrots and onions until coated.

Next, on a lined baking sheet place your dressed carrots and onions. Sprinkle it to taste with sea salt, and place it in your prepared oven for about 40 minutes (or until they start to caramelize). You will rotate the pan and stir the veggies half way though roasting.

Then, in a bowl mix together your Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Sprinkle it with a couple pinches of sea salt and layer it on the bottom of your serving platter. Chill until ready to serve.

Finally, when the carrots and onions are roasted place them over the lemon yogurt mixture and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds. Serve while still warm. Scoop onto plates; being sure you get the harissa roasted veggies, pomegranates, and a bit of the yogurt. Eat and enjoy.

 

Mixed Colorful Roasted Veggies

In the past couple of days I have taken the time to reflect on what has passed, what I would like to stay, and in some cases what I would rather forget. There were new things I tried, new destinations we have gone to, new goals that had been made, and new ambitions to be put into place. I have done this for the last few few years as it all comes to a close. In some sorts it is like taking inventory of what I have valued, learned, and let go of. Mixed veggies, very colorful; and ready for the oven.

I do not feel it is uncommon to do this at the end of the year. Getting ready to take on a new one with abandonment and ambition. For some reason it always makes me think of the movie Forest Gump. There is the point in the movie when he is visiting Lieutenant Dan in New York for New Year’s Eve. There is a girl there who says, “Don’t you just love New Years? It’s like everyone gets a fresh start!”

Nicely roasted and fresh out of the oven.

With a fresh start on my horizon I thought about the moments of this past year that stand out the most. The ones I am proud of, and the moments I want to cherish forever. In retrospect it was the moments that were colorful. They made us smile, laugh, giggle, and cheer. That made me think of my dinner last night…it was very colorful: Mixed Roasted Veggies. Using up the miscellaneous veggies we had on hand resulted in an array of color and huge flavor. (We are going away for a few days and we have been trying to clean out the refrigerator.) Maybe if we eat more colorfully we will live more colorfully? It is worth a try. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all. Be happy, be safe, live it fully, and eat colorfully!

Roasted, plated, and oh so colorful!

Mixed Colorful Roasted Veggies (feeds 4)

*Note: this is more then enough as a side dish for 4, but I have on occasion made this  and have been more than enough as a mane dish for 2 with a light and simple salad to accompany it.

3 purple potatoes, cubed

2 golden beets, cubed

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

5 sun chokes or Jerusalem artichokes, cleaned and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced

olive oil

sea salt

black pepper, freshly ground

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and brush the parchment with a bit of olive oil.

Next, place all your veggies in a large bowl and drizzle about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of olive oil over it all. with your hands, toss it all together. (I like to use my hands for this because you feel if the veggies are coated fully.) Keep tossing until all your veggies seem to have an even coating of olive oil on them.

Then, distribute the tossed veggies among the two lined sheet pans. Sprinkle the veggies with your sea salt and some black pepper and place in your oven to roast.

Finally, let the veggies roast for 20 - 25 minutes. Open the oven and give the veggies a good stir and place back in the oven for about, another 20 minutes. You are looking for a bit of caramelization over the veggies and for them to be tender to a fork. Remove from the oven when done and  serve.