Cooking squash

Photo: Lynn Andriani

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Cranking Up the Heat to Roast (er, Burn) Vegetables Quickly
You know that roasting is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook potatoes, squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other cold-weather vegetables—but turning the oven temperature to 475° in an attempt to soften them in 30 minutes or less is probably just going to give you charred outsides and undercooked insides. Instead, try this trick from Michelle N. Warner, education director at Brooklyn Kitchen, which has two New York City locations. She roasts vegetables on a silicone baking mat, like the one you would typically use when baking cookies (such as a Silpat). "They're great conductors of heat," Warner says, "and they'll help vegetables caramelize quickly." Cut the food into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces, toss into a bowl with olive oil and lay on a baking sheet lined with a mat. Cook at 375°, and in less than half an hour you'll have tender vegetables with caramelized edges.