This may not be a surprise to anyone else, but I am amazed at how much adjusting I am having to do to my work schedule. I am lucky that I come home with my boys after picking them up from school. However at that point all I want to do is touch base with my children about their day and then plop down on the couch checking e-mail, food blogs and facebook and this blog. However while I do have time to check in with my children, and even the time to start Sebastian on his homework, (or as is sometimes the case argue with him about it), I need to start dinner almost right away. It feels like our bedtime routine starts when we come home, if I don't start dinner soon enough our routine is off.
Mostly I am loving where we are right now as a family. With both boys in school and my new job everyone has something to share at dinner. Somehow it makes it more cohesive, or maybe that is the reduction in the whining recently over the food I'm offering, as the boys are learning to try more. Julian's application of classroom rules and expectations at the dinner table is often hysterical. One night he sat across from me as I told a story with his hand raised for his turn to speak. However he did not sit there silently, "I'm being an active listener by raising my hand and waiting to speak... are you done yet?"
Happily I am still loving my job. I am just having a hard time with fitting everything in. It is a good thing I value cooking! With a busy schedule it is even more important to have a game plan in the kitchen, especially when faced with a pile of vegetables to deal with. However that sounds like planning and my cooking is more often based on whim then planning. This is one of the successes I had recently when heading into the kitchen with the inkling of an idea but not much of a plan.
This dish is inspired by the carrots I had last week at an Americorps conference at the Stoweflake resort. The food was surprisingly good, and most of us where getting seconds. However that may also be because an Americorps position is supposed to pay a rate below the poverty level. So folks may have been calorie loading. The local food movement made its way to the labels at the buffet, however the meaning seemed to be a little lost. So for breakfast, in October, in Vermont, the strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon were labeled, "Seasonal Fruit." Sure, somewhere, just not here. However the maple glazed carrots are perfectly seasonal here right now, and will be all winter. I added parsnips and turnips to mine as I got both this past week at my CSA. I also added a fresh bay laurel leaf and some thyme to help balance the sweetness of the maple syrup and the vegetables. Everyone enjoyed my rendition, although I will admit the boys did not eat the turnips.
Maple Glazed Root Vegetables with Thyme
Inspired by Maple Glazed Carrots at The Stoweflake, cooking technique adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms Honey Glazed Carrots
6 cups root vegetables peeled and sliced into similar sized pieces. (I used carrots, parsnips and turnips. Potatoes, kohlrabi and beets would all be good. If using beets cook them separately to avoid making a pink mess of the other vegetables.)
2 Tbsp butter or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 - 5 Tbsp maple syrup, preferably Grade B (I used 2 Tbsp but I felt it could have used more)
3/4 cup water
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 fresh bay laurel leaf (optional)
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and add all the other ingredients. Put the lid on and shake the pan to coat all the vegetables in the liquid. Simmer over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes, until the vegetables are just becoming tender. Take the lid off the pan, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, often until the vegetables are all coated in a glaze. Taste and adjust the seasoning, remove the thyme stems and serve.