Caramelized Onion Tart “Tatin”




For best results, bake this in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Let it cool slightly before flipping the pan over and easing out the tatin. Serve as a first course or as a main course with salad and cheese for a vegetarian meal. Adrienne made this in a class at Brookside Gardens in May 2016.

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1.5# boiler onions, peeled and slice in half around the middle
2 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 C crumbled goat cheese
1 (8 oz.) sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 400°. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof pan, melt butter with olive oil. Place onion cut-side down in hot fat and cook until onions are soft and turning brown, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and balsamic, stir to incorporate. Add to onions and let sizzle until they caramelize, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and let the pan and onions cool about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the onions. Roll out the pastry dough gently and press over the cheese. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling bubbles up around the edge. Set aside for a few minutes, then invert on a plate and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Syrup and Creamy Goat Cheese

grilledpeaches2A summertime “must” —  sweet and tangy, elegant as a side dish or a perfect end to a meal. We’ve also seen this garnished with nuts — pecans or almonds. Or even glazed almonds. A shortcut comes in the form of Wegman’s Balsamic Glaze, which you can use in place of making your own — though the scent of the reduction will fill your house and get your appetite going. The recipe was demoed by Danielle at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015.

4 peaches (firm are best)
¼ C lemon juice
1 T dark brown sugar
1 C balsamic vinegar
2 oz. soft goat cheese
Fresh chopped mint or basil, for garnish (optional)
Light the grill or preheat an indoor tabletop grill.

Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit and set aside. Mix together the lemon juice and brown sugar. Add the peach halves and coat well with the lemon-sugar mixture.

Put the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat once the vinegar boils, and let simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grill the peaches: place marinated peaches, skin side down, on the grill in indirect heat (if using outdoor grill). Cook about 2 minutes, until grill marks form. Turn over and do the same for the other side. Transfer to a serving platter, skin side up. Place a dollop of goat cheese inside the groove of each peach half. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar and serve immediately. Garnish with mint or basil. Serves 8.

Burnished Chicken with Parsnips and Sweet Potatoess


At the end of a full day of work putting the garden to bed — pulling out the spent tomato plants, bringing in the last of the peppers and eggplant, clearing, weeding, pruning, then clearing some more and mulching — this was a great meal to sit down to.   Especially since the parsnips were part of what came in from the garden.  Make-ahead tip: Marinate the chicken in the morning and stick it in the refrigerator; prep your veggies. At dinner time, all you have to do is put them all on a baking sheet and in about 40 minutes it’ll be ready.  Oh, and don’t forget that green salad – what goes well with this is a mix of arugula (still going strong in the jardin) and shredded radicchio with a wine vinegar-olive oil dressing. The chicken dish will make four hearty appetites very happy. Adapted from our buddies at Fine Cooking. Read More

Caprese Gratin




So you know how in the middle of winter suddenly one day you just HAVE to have a slice of summer tomato? And nothing else will do?  The hothouse tomatoes I picked up yesterday can’t compare to those from the garden, but for the purposes of what I was after, it was a starting point. Cooking them – especially roasting or baking – will sweeten them up and deepen their flavor, making them more like the summer version. Adding flavors that evoke the fresh-tomato experience – basil, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic – underscores the illusion. The bread crumbs transform the dish into comfort food. This recipe is so good, you almost believe you are eating the real thing.  It’s kind of a food hologram.  And it does the trick – for now.                                 — Adrienne Read More