I walked a bunch of food magazines in the store yesterday and had to laugh. In what must be their California based test kitchens, they're busy cooking with asparagus, peas, bunches of herbs and other warm weather fantasies. In reality - Vermont and probably much of the northern United States - especially after the winter we've had, those foods are at least a month away. By the time they are here, the magazines will probably already be on to tomatoes.
Let's focus on what's actually available. The maple sugaring season is just about over (if it's not already) and that means we have plenty of freshly processed maple syrup. Meanwhile, root vegetables are still lingering about and longing for some creativity. If we borrow some in season citrus from the south, we have plenty of possibilities.
If you've roasted root vegetables before, you already know and love the sweet crispy caramelization that happens in the cooking process. Adding maple syrup to the mix might sound a little unnecessary. Yet when you combine it with the bright tartness of roasted oranges, it makes for the perfect balance and for a perfectly timed dish.
I wasn't really paying attention to what kind of beets I grabbed the other day, but when I sliced into them I was happy to find they were the beautifully striped Chioggia. I didn't bother to peel them. I chopped them up, drizzled with some oil and maple syrup, and put on a tray and into a 425F preheated oven. After 25 minutes I added in two peeled, seeded and chopped oranges and roasted for another 20 minutes.
You could eat the beets and oranges as is, for a side dish. Or place over greens with a maple balsamic dressing, top with cheese and seeds and have yourself a light and realistic spring dinner.