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Fall Harvest Mosaic
Right Food for the Season - Late Fall
Written by Jon Ross-Wiley   

Are you a patient home cook?  Do you perseverate over perfect plating? Are you highly adept at cubing vegetables to 1-inch uniformity?  If these questions resonate with you then you will love this preparation. If these questions frighten you, fear not and sit tight. The following recipe is very straightforward, and will deliver a delicious fall side dish or appetizer with a range of plating options from the most basic to the most precise. At its heart, this is a roasted fall vegetable dish, so use what looks best at the market.  My last trip presented me with red beets, yellow turnips, and butternut squash. I happened upon some fresh rosemary as well.  It was actually the rosemary that started the roasted vegetables wheels turning. When I got back to the kitchen, I laid out my vegetables on the cutting board, sharpened my knife, and got ready to spend some time with these ingredients.  As I looked at my red, orange, and yellow ingredients, I recognized that I had a nice color palette from which to work, so I decided to create a mosaic.

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This preparation/plating is definitely a crowd pleaser and, being the presentation zealot that I am, I actually enjoyed obsessing over each cube as it came off the knife. You can have a lot of fun with this dish because it is very simple and therefore opens the door to many creative options.  Feeling more sweet than savory? Excuse the rosemary from the table, and invite in cumin, cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla.  Looking for some acid? Introduce some lemon or orange zest...we'll allow you to go further afield to find oranges and lemons in November.  You can't lose with this dish.

Fall Harvest Mosaic (serves 8-10 as an appetizer, 4-5 as a side dish)

Ingredients

3 large beets

1 butternut squash

1 yellow turnip 

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Kosher salt (to taste)

Black pepper (to taste) 

3 tablespoons olive oil 

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cube all of the vegetables. If you intend to plate in mosaics, cut uniform, 1-inch cubes.  Remove the leaves from one sprig of the rosemary and finely mince.  Place cubed vegetables in a roasting pan and sprinkle with minced rosemary and salt and pepper.  For the mosaic preparation, place the vegetables in two separate sections in your roasting pan.  One section will have your beets in foil as the beet juice will bleed onto your other vegetables otherwise and compromise the three distinct colors.  Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and roast for 40-45 minutes, turning over occasionally.  

Mosaic Plating

•Directly from the roasting pan, select the cubes of similar size and plate in a pattern of your choice.  I chose a 3 by 6 rectangle. Mince one or two beet cubes, stir into a tablespoon of olive oil, and drizzle on the dish.

Other options

•Place roasted vegetables in a large bowl, stir, and garnish with fresh rosemary.  This preparation is easy and quite beautiful.

•Achieve a tri-color presentation by skewering on toothpicks.

 

 

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