Anyone else out there have cabin fever? I’ve got a bad case of it. Drew has about had it with the shoveling and pushing stuck cars out of a foot of packed snow. He has become the unofficial neighborhood snow expert. As I type, he’s out there in his Carhartt bibs and wool-lined Sorels helping neighbors and doling out advice on when to take a break while shoveling, where not to park, where not to drive, and how to avoid making things worse when you’re stuck. If he asks one more helplessly stuck college girl to buy a cheap bag of kitty litter to have in case of emergency I’ll die laughing.
And oh dear…even the cat and dog have about had it. There has been a hiatus on walks with the pup and the kitty is getting so bored she has taken to hiding under rugs for a little entertainment. Stepping on what you think is a rug and finding out it is a cat is about as much excitement we’ve had around here in a while. That and the almost daily “severe weather alerts” and “polar vortexes” and “snowpocalypses” and “snow emergencies.” Just so many ways to say snow, snow, and more snow. It’s been a long winter and it ain’t over yet, folks.
On days like today (and the day before that and the day before that and the day before that) I think about food. It never fails to lift my mood to turn on the oven and experiment with some warming recipes.
I have a full refrigerator drawer stuffed to the gills with root vegetables: three kinds of beets, radishes, parsnips, yellow, orange, and purple carrots, turnips, and jewel and garnet sweet potatoes. What better way to showcase their beauty and enjoy the natural sweetness of each root than to slice them thinly and bake them into these thin jewels?
This recipe is easy-peasy-pumpkin-pie but requires two things for great success: a mandoline slicer (I use a Benriner Japanese Mandoline) and keeping an eye on the oven, removing the chips as they cook to ensure none become burned. And honestly, on a day like today with the weather so cold, who could complain about having to open the oven a few extra times to check on their chips?
- 2 cups root vegetables, scrubbed (I used red beets, yellow beets, chioga beets, purple carrot, black radish, turnip, jewel sweet potatoes, and garnet yams).
- 2 tsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Rearrange two oven racks so one is on the top rung and the other is on the bottom rung of your oven. Preheat oven to 350°.
- Scrub root vegetables (leave peel) and carefully slice to 1/16 inch thick using a mandolin (I use a Benriner Japanese Mandoline--click link in blog post above to buy). In a large bowl, toss root vegetables with olive oil and a dash of salt.
- Spread root vegetables in a single layer onto two rimmed baking sheets, being sure none overlap. You can place them nearly touching each other because they will shrink and leave plenty of space as they dry.
- Cover baking sheets with either tin foil or another rimmed baking sheet if you have extra baking sheets. Bake about 20 minutes to allow vegetables to dry out somewhat. Uncover and bake 10 minutes. Check chips and remove any that look lighter and dryer than the rest—transfer to a wire rack to cool. Continue to bake any chips that are not done, checking every couple of minutes and removing as they become done.
- As chips cool on the rack they will begin to crisp further. If you notice any failing to crisp on the wire rack, toss them back in the oven for a few minutes to dry a little more before returning to the wire rack.