sunday potluck

Late one night last August, my roommate Noura and I found ourselves in a rut. It was only the second week of medical school, but we were already feeling the drain of the go-to-school-then-go-home-and-study-then-go-to-bed-and-do-it-all-over-again routine. No one said med school would be a walk in the park, but we found ourselves craving something more than lecture and lab to look forward to each week. We decided we needed to institute something that would bring our classmates together and away from the books on a regular basis. Although we had only known each other for mere days, it was apparent that a love for good food was a common bond that tied much of our class together. Hence, Sunday Potluck was born.

 Nearly every Sunday night throughout the school year, we gathered in classmates’ apartments to enjoy what was unfailingly my best meal of the week. We’d load our plates with fresh salads, hearty stews, and homemade breads, each dish teaching us a little more about its cook’s personality, culture, and family. Although Sunday night usually marks the ominous transition to the busy week ahead, it quickly became my favorite time of the week.

With the start of a new school year comes a new year of potlucks. This Sunday, Noura and I hosted a fall-themed dinner, and our classmates delivered warm soups, thick bean stews, and glistening tarts to our home. I made a mountain of balsamic roasted vegetables, a recipe that was passed on to me by my Aunt Karen. It was the perfect dish to tackle on a Sunday, when spending nearly an hour chopping vegetables served as a great time to catch up with friends on the phone, and when having a container full of leftover caramelized butternut squash, apples, carrots, and parsnips provides the perfect slow-cooked base for quickly made weeknight dinners.
As potlucks continue this year, I look forward to sharing my weekly creations not only with my classmates, but also with all my wonderful family and friends here on sugarcured.
Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables
Courtesy of my Aunt Karen
Note: This recipe makes a lot of vegetables (serves 15-20), so scale up or down accordingly. You can also use any root vegetables that strike your fancy. I’ve swapped sweet potatoes for butternut squash before, and it was still great!Vegetables:
1 large butternut squash
3 large carrots
3 large parsnips
2 large red onions
6 Granny Smith apples

3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp each thyme and rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
Salt and ground pepperPreheat oven to 500. In a large bowl, combine all of the vegetables. In a small separate bowl, combine marinade ingredients, except salt and pepper. Mix marinade into vegetables and let sit for up to 2 hours. Arrange vegetables on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

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