This is what happens when I get behind in blogging: we go somewhere or do something and it takes me over a week to write about it. In this particular case, I had convinced my husband to make a stop at Verrill Farm in Concord after we made a trip out to the DeCordova Museum since we had Columbus Day off. In the ten years I’ve lived in Massachusetts – and despite the number of times we’ve driven near it going back and forth to Clinton – we have never actually stopped in to check out the farm. They had rebuilt the entire place after a fire destroyed the farm last year, so since we were in the area we stopped by to see what it was like inside.
The store and bakery is cute and reminds me a little of Russo’s in Watertown, although it’s not nearly as big. There’s a whole range of fresh produce – most of it homegrown – including tomatoes, winter squash, kale, herbs, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and more.
I had already done the grocery shopping for the next few days (meaning, I didn’t know we were going to the farm) so I didn’t really “need” anything there, but I couldn’t resist their homegrown brussel sprouts. And as I started to select some, a nice man came by with a load of freshly picked stock to replenish the stash.
So what do you do with so much fresh produce in the fall? Roast ’em! For dinner that night, I made us pork chops and topped them with some sauteed onions. And on the side we had roasted brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and potatoes.
Is it weird that one of my most favorite smells is the smell of sauteeing onions?? I love how the smell fills the kitchen every time I make them. They’re so deliciously easy to do: take one large onion (usually go for the sweeter kinds, especially Vidalias when they are in season), cut it in half, then cut into thin strips. Melt 1/2 a stick of butter (I know, I didn’t say it was non/low fat!) in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes before stirring. Then stir every few minutes as needed. It should start to turn brown in color and smell good. You can turn the heat down to low and just stir once in a while until they are nicely limp and very caramelly brown in color. Serve and enjoy.
I find roasting vegetables, especially a huge tray of them like this, is the easiest and simplest way to enjoy them. Cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt and black pepper, then stick it in a 425 degree oven for 40-50 minutes (depending on how large the pieces are). You may want to stir or flip them half way through the process but it’s generally a no-brainer way of cooking them.
I started out by rubbing them with a little bit of olive oil and then seasoning them with sea salt, black pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano on both sides. Place them into a nonstick pan heated on medium heat. Let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side (just to brown them), then put a piece of foil on top of the entire pan and transfer it to a 450 degree oven. (Make sure that your pan doesn’t have any plastic parts.) I kept them in the oven for about 12 mintues since they were on the thicker side (our internal thermometer that could go inside the oven broke unfortunately). Remove from the oven and keep the foil on as you let them rest for about 8-10 minutes. This is a good time to plate everything else up and get the vino pouring.