Something happens when you roast or grill vegetables. Even though we don’t think of vegetables as being sweet, they do have sugars and when roasted, these sugars caramelize and take them from delicious to divine. It’s easy to do, fairly quick, and can provide a myriad of tastes to eat alone or add to other dishes.

This is my go-to when I have dribs and drabs of vegetables coming in from the garden. It seems every time I go out to the garden, I come in with a basket of small zucchini, an eggplant, a pepper or two. This a great way to use them together.

It’s also prime time to dry fresh herbs for winter use. If you have a dehydrator, crank it up. Otherwise you can easily dry herbs in paper bags or in the oven. Create your own herb blends or use the recipe below to get you started.

ROASTED SUMMER VEGETABLES

Cut vegetables in 1-inch chunks or slices. Use zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, sweet and chili peppers, small red or gold potatoes, eggplant, peeled garlic cloves and onions. To serve two generously, you will need about 4 cups altogether.

Toss with a generous sprinkling of herb mix (see recipe for Mediterranean mix at right) or whatever seasoning sounds good and salt to taste.

Mix with a good fruity olive oil until lightly coated. Spread in a single layer in a broiler or jelly roll pan and roast at 375 degrees until the vegetables are tender — usually about 30 minutes. If you wish to grill them, put in a grilling basket and heat the grill to 375 degrees or medium heat for charcoal. Grill, tossing the vegetables around until tender.

Serve sprinkled with feta cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

This makes a great side dish to any protein, or a main dish when tossed with warm cooked pasta and freshly grated parmesan or Asiago cheese. Leftovers are delicious on top of sliced crusty bread or made into a panini.

MEDITERRANEAN HERB MIX

FOR VEGETABLES, FISH OR CHICKEN

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 cup sea or kosher salt

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon crushed red chilis

Mix and store in glass jar in dark cabinet. To use as a marinade, add a tablespoon to 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar of choice. Or, sprinkle on vegetables for roasting or chicken thighs, fish filets or portabella mushrooms for grilling.

Kate Jerome has written about gardens for the Kenosha News for many years. She is a garden to kitchen consultant, and is starting a new column. Find our more about her at kjerome.com. She can be contacted at katejerome2020@gmail.com.

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