Tag Archives: balsamic vinegar

Recipe: Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, and Garlic with Basil

28 Jun

This year, I planted three tomato plants, which are beginning to completely take over the vegetable garden. If that weren’t enough, a fourth rogue plant sprung from the seeds of  last year’s tomatoes is giving them a run for their money. Which means I’m soon going to be faced with a bumper crop of tomatoes and the challenge of figuring out what to do with the ones I keep. This recipe is one of my all-time favorites for tomatoes, and I often serve it at brunches as an accompaniment to cold roasted meats. It is a very flexible recipe: it can be made ahead, served warm or at room temperature–and you can play around with the ingredients depending on what you have on hand. However you tweak it, it’s hard to go wrong with tomatoes, red onions, garlic, basil, and pine nuts.

Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, and Garlic with Basil
12 servings

3 lb. roma tomatoes (other smaller types work well, too)
2 large red onions, cut in half, each half cut into eight wedges
30 cloves garlic /2 bulbs, peeled (slice large cloves in half)
2/3 c. olive oil
2 tsp. sambal oelek (or sweet chilli sauce)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. bottled pesto (or fresh, if you have it)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. shredded fresh basil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted


1. Heat oven to 400º.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place tomatoes, cut side up, in large baking dish, then nestle the onions and garlic around the tomatoes.
3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, sambal oelek, sugar, pesto, and salt. Pour over the vegetables.
4. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until tomatoes, onions, and garlic are soft.
5. Meanwhile, dry toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat (watching carefully), until they start to turn golden. Remove them from the skillet and reserve.
6. Once the tomatoes come out of the oven, add the vinegar, herbs, and pine nuts, and mix gently. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe: Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint

9 Dec

This is a free-form sort of recipe because it doesn’t have specific measurements, but that shouldn’t be cause for panic. No matter how much or how little I drizzle or sprinkle or adjust the various ingredients, I’ve never gone wrong with this dish (because short of burning them, how can anyone really go wrong with roasted carrots?).

This dish is a standard part of our Thanksgiving line up, but these carrots are a nice accompaniment to any roast meal. The hot carrots absorb the balsamic vinegar, resulting in a mellow, layered flavor that is heightened by the mint. Another plus: this dish can be served at room temperature, which means you can get it ready ahead of time and move on to more urgent tasks. For Thanksgiving, I use a 5 lb. bag of carrots. If you aren’t cooking for 12+guests, use 6 large carrots and go from there.

Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint

olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
dried mint flakes

1. Trim and peel carrots, cut each carrot in half horizontally, and then cut each half in half lengthwise. You should now have four carrot pieces. Cut each of those pieces lengthwise into thirds (or halves or quarters depending on the thickness of the carrot) — you want to end up with carrot sticks.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Put the carrot sticks in a large bowl, drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the carrots well (they should be glistening), sprinkle some salt and pepper on top, toss to mix, then spread the carrots on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 30 minutes or so, turning once, until the carrots are soft and browned around the edges. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
4. While the carrots are still on the baking sheet and still hot, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the top, sprinkle with mint flakes, mix together gently, and let rest for a few minutes. Taste a carrot and adjust the seasonings as needed (you may want more salt, pepper, or a dash more vinegar.)
5. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Note: If making the day before, let carrots cool, refrigerate them, and bring to room temperature before serving.)

Adapted from Australian Gourmet magazine.

Recipe: Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Walnuts and Balsamic Glaze

14 Sep

When it comes to beets, people either love them or hate them. I’ve been in both camps. I didn’t develop a taste for beets until I was an adult–specifically, until I had been an adult for a couple decades…. But now, I love the combination of beets and goat cheese.

I’ve eaten many delicious salads featuring those two ingredients, and wanted to see if I could come up with a version at home that was quick and easy to make. The solution, I discovered, is to have some already-cooked beets on hand. If you don’t happen to have any left over from a previous meal, you should be able to find steamed beets in your local grocery store (roughly 8 oz./4 beets per vacuum pack)–they are perfect when you need cooked beets, fast. I also wanted a quick way to glaze walnuts so that they ended up dry and crispy, not sticky or overly sweet. The key to achieving this is a trusty cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan (see directions below).

This recipe makes two servings, but it is very free-form; it can be adapted to as many people and tastes as needed–just adjust the amount of each ingredient as needed. Note: To save time, make the balsamic glaze and toast the walnuts simultaneously; once those are underway, slice the beets and cut the goat cheese.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Walnuts and Balsamic Glaze
Serves 2

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. walnut pieces
1-2 tsp. pure maple syrup
4 c. “spring mix” salad greens
2 small steamed beets, cut in half horizontally, then thinly sliced
2 oz. goat cheese, cut into small pieces


1. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let the vinegar simmer until it is reduced by half (to 1/4 c.) and has become syrupy. The best way to tell how much it has reduced is to pour the vinegar back into a heat-proof measuring cup to check. This whole process should take about 15 minutes. Pour the balsamic glaze into a bowl and let cool completely. When cool, add the olive oil, grind some black pepper over the surface to taste, and whisk to emulsify; you will need to re-whisk before serving.
2. Heat a small cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the walnut pieces to the dry skillet, and toast until fragrant. Drizzle maple syrup over the walnuts, mixing well to coat all the walnuts evenly, and keep cooking (stirring constantly) just until the walnuts begin to turn golden brown. Immediately spread the walnuts onto a plate to cool; they will end up dry and crispy after a few minutes.
3. Put about 2 c. salad greens on each of two plates. Top each with half the sliced beets, half the pieces of goat cheese, and half the walnuts. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze, then serve extra glaze on the side.