Thursday, August 13, 2009

Roasted Red Onion with Green Beans

Trying to use up all those beans in your garden? Here's a flavorful alternative to boil and butter beans that may be served warm or cold.
At my Nonna's summer table this dish was served in her biggest serving bowl with plenty of pecorino.

Uncle Gus's Roasted Red Onion & Romano Beans

2 1/2 lbs medium red onions (about 5)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBLS balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup water
2 lbs romano green beans or any green bean in your garden-trim & cut into 2-inch pieces
8 thinly sliced pieces of prociutto
rosemary, thyme, summer savory, basil and oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse, peel and trim root ends of onions..leaving onions whole. Then quarter onions lengthwise making generous 1/2 inch slices.
Oil a 13 x 9 sheet pan. Put onions in pan, then drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, tossing to coat them. Lay prociutto slices over onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs seasonings.

Roast uncovered about 30 minutes, turning over once mid cooking and baste. Remove prociutto, set aside on paper toweling, cool and roughly crumble (like bacon). Add water to the pan and continue to roast the onions another 15 minutes. When onions are tender transfer to a large bowl along with pan juices.

While the onions are roasting, cook beans in a boiling pot of salted water uncovered until just crisp-tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain beans in a colander, then add to onions, sprinkle with prociutto pieces and toss well. Season with a bit of salt and ground pepper and serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

After a long hot market day we headed for the garden to pick pick pick. It’s astounding how quickly everything is growing. I’d been munching most of the day, as it was Salsa Saturday, so I was sampling and loving every bite.

When suppertime rolled around all I wanted was a simple salad of fresh picked greens with a light basil dressing.

For dessert I had planned to make lemoncello sorbet to christen my new ice cream maker. But then the doorbell rang, and in came my elder neighbors carrying four pounds of just picked blueberries! Now I just love blueberries, although I prefer our wild blueberries with their tangy bite to them, but these were awfully good looking high bush berries..just too darn fat and juicy to put into the freezer… unless of course I changed plans and make blueberry ice cream instead. We have a wonderful old fashioned ice cream shoppe nearby, The Scoop Deck that offers seventy some odd flavors of iced desserts..and where scores of people line up on steamy nights like we've been having to select their favorites. My fave? Their wild blueberry is absolutely the best, so I was hoping to get remotely close in flavor as the one I enjoy most. After searching through my new machine’s manual, my cookbooks, and the internet I decided on this.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp extract of vanilla
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water

Warm sugar in 1/2 cup water in a medium sauce pan over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
When sugar is dissolved, add the berries, extract, coriander, lemon juice and salt.
Cook over low-medium heat until the berries begin to burst open, stirring occasionally. Once they burst, remove from heat and mash lightly. Allow to cool down and then chill in refrigerator an hour.
Whip cream with milk in a blender. Transfer into ice cream maker. Add blueberry mixture to the cream mixture and follow manufacturer's directions.

The machine was a breeze to use and my first ice cream turned out really great.. with a nice creamy consistency until I froze the leftover quart, when it became hard ice cream scoopable, but very flavorful. This week our fresh peaches will come to market and I’m anxious to try those as well. Our neighbors were thrilled with the fresh homemade ice cream we delivered over to them and said if I keep it up, I might just give the Scoop Deck a run for their money. :-) Stay cool!