Baking

You could, if you wished, cook carrots by placing them in a pot of boiling water, placing the pot in a hot oven, and cooking until tender.This is not a different cooking technique, however. It's plain old simmering.You'd just be using the heat of the oven rather than the rangetop to simmer the water.

When we talk about baking vegetables, we usually mean one of two things:

1. Cooking starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, winter squash, and sweet potatoes, and other moist, dense-textured vegetables such as tomatoes, beets, eggplant, onions, and turnips, from the raw to the finished state. Starch vegetables are baked because the dry heat produces a desirable texture. Baked potatoes, for example, do not have the same texture as boiled or steamed potatoes.

In some areas, it is fashionable to refer to such baked vegetables as roasted. In theory, any vegetable with enough moisture can be baked like potatoes, but the drying effects of the oven and the long cooking time make it undesirable for most small vegetables, such as peas and green beans.

2. Finishing certain vegetable combinations, sometimes known as casseroles. The vegetables in these items are usually parcooked by simmering or steaming before they are baked.

Vegetable casseroles are baked for either of two reasons:

• The slow, all-around heat allows the product to cook undisturbed. The agitation and stirring of range-top cooking is not always desirable. Baked beans could be finished on top of the range, but they would be mushier and more broken. Custard-based timbales would be pourable, not firmly set.

• The dry heat produces desirable effects, such as browning and caramelizing of sugars. For example, you could put a pan of candied sweet potatoes in a steamer, but the moist heat would not allow a glaze to form.

Procedure for Baking Vegetables

Collect all equipment and food products. Prepare vegetables as required. Place in appropriate pan and set in preheated oven. Bake to desired doneness.

Baked Acorn Squash

Portions: 24

Portion size: 1/i squash

U.S.

Metric

Ingredients

12

12

Acorn squash, small

as needed

as needed

Butter, melted

5 oz

150 g

Brown sugar

212 tsp

12 mL

Salt

2 fl oz

60 mL

Sherry (optional)

Per serving:

Calories, 130; Protein, 2 g; Fat, 2 g (13% cal.); Cholesterol, 5 mg; Carbohydrates, 28 g; Fiber, 3 g; Sodium, 270 mg.

Per serving:

Calories, 130; Protein, 2 g; Fat, 2 g (13% cal.); Cholesterol, 5 mg; Carbohydrates, 28 g; Fiber, 3 g; Sodium, 270 mg.

Baked Acorn Squash

1. Wash and cut squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. (If using large squash, cut into portion sizes.)

2. Brush cut surfaces and cavity with melted butter. Place close together cut side down on baking sheet. (This helps squash cook faster without drying by retaining steam.)

3. Bake at 350°F(175°C) until almost tender, about 30-40 minutes.

4. Turn the squash cut side up and brush again with butter. Sprinkle the cavities with sugar and salt. Add a few drops of sherry to each if desired.

5. Bake 10-15 minutes more, until surface is glazed.

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