It’s asparagus season at the farmer’s market, one of my favorite times of the year – it basically means I can pick up something like 2 lbs of real good asparagus for cheap, and use ALL THE ASPARAGUS. I decided to do something different than my two mainstay asparagus recipes this time, and while I was figuring out what I wanted to do, I came across this recipe, and realized I already had the blue cheese and balsamic caramel in my fridge. As such, the decision was pretty quickly made what to do with this. 

This is a flavor combination I’ve never tried before and might not have thought of, but trust me when I say that if it tastes even a quarter as good as it smelled when I was putting it together, you’ll be in for a real treat. 

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Caramel and Blue Cheese
Depends on amt asparagus used; 2 lbs lasted appx six lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe balsamic caramel (I had some leftover from making the steaks a while ago)
  • desired amount of asparagus (I had 2 lbs on hand)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • .5 c crumbled blue cheese (I just sliced mine off a block I had and it crumbled pretty easy)

Preheat your oven to 400. Lay some foil down on a large baking tray, and spread your asparagus out in a single layer (or as close to it as you can get), tossing with olive oil and sea salt. Roast your asparagus between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much you have (the above result was 2 lbs after 25 minutes). 

Take your roasted asparagus, drizzle with the balsamic caramel, and sprinkle with the blue cheese, and then enjoy!

This was a great dish to see out what is hopefully the last of the cold winter ugh. The local farmer’s market has a good winter potato mix (which is how I got this lovely roasting potato mix), and the miso I already had in my fridge, so this was pretty cheap and simple to put together.  

Plus, the coating is a pretty good blend of flavors. I ended up doubling the quantities for the coating because I had more potatoes than planned, and I liked the coverage that I got more. If you end up having closer to the original quantity, then I would recommend halving the quantities for the miso, sesame oil, and brown sugar.

Miso Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 lb roasting potatoes, quartered (mine was a bit closer to 2 lbs, original recipe recommends small new potatoes)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 6 T white miso
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 4 T sesame oil
  • (optional: chopped parsley and sesame seeds for garnish)

Preheat your oven to 400. Mix together your garlic cloves, ginger, white miso, brown sugar, and sesame oil with a whisk in a large bowl, and add your mushrooms and potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat them. Transfer your potatoes to a large skillet or baking dish (I used the latter) and roast for a half hour, stirring at least once (If you have closer to 2 lbs of potatoes, throw it in for closer to an hour). Add parsley and sesame seeds if you so choose, but otherwise, enjoy, and spite the cold!

Looking for a new way to try your vegetables? Just add beer and bacon!  Seriously. I found the green beans for a buck a pound on special last week, and it turns out Ale Asylum (a local brewer) just put out a new stout, so this was perfect timing in several senses. 

Stout Glazed Green Beans and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 lbs green beans (note to self: reduce to 1 lb for the future, 2 lb was way too much)
  • .5 c stout (I used Ale Asylum’s Big Slick stout)
  • pinch smoked paprika, salt, and pepper

Cook your bacon in a pan to desired doneness. Remove, let cool, and chop. 

Add your green beans to the pan, and sear until slightly browned. Then, pour your stout in, drink the rest of the bottle, and cook until the beer reduces into a glaze (about ten minutes or so). Sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and chopped bacon, and toss in a serving dish to combine!

This salad is the perfect dose of summer. I’ve always had a thing for roasted tomatoes, and being able to do it with heirlooms is even better. And fried halloumi? Oh man, it’s like feta but even better.  …And really, thinking about this more, this could also be a great grilled cheese. 

The best thing I can recommend for this herb wise is to use whatever you have either in your garden, or whatever’s cheapest at the farmer’s market that week. I used oregano, basil, and mint from my garden.

Roasted Tomato and Halloumi Salad
Lasts 3 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
  • 1 block halloumi cheese
  • 1/3 c fresh herbs of choice (I used oregano, basil, and mint)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Place your tomato slices on the sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Roast for twenty minutes, until wrinkly (see pic 2). 

Place a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and heat over medium high heat. Slice your block of halloumi into about six even slices, and add to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about three to five minutes). 

Combine the roasted tomatoes and halloumi, toss with the herbs, and enjoy the mouthgasm.

This update bought to you from my father’s kitchen!  I cooked our dinner yesterday (roast beef, mediterranean baked feta, and maple dijon asparagus), and the only new recipe I bought out for this was these potatoes.  They’re absolutely fantastic, and pretty quick and simple to make – just be careful, though, as these have hella salt in them.  

New York Salt Potatoes
Serves 4 or so

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs unpeeled baby/new red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 qts water
  • 1.5 c salt (kosher or fine sea salt, I used half of each)
  • 6 T butter, cut into 1 T pieces
  • Herbs (I went with oregano, parlsey, and thyme, all dried)
  • Pepper

Fill a pot with 2 qts of water, and stir in your cup and a half of salt.  Stir to dissolve some of the salt (don’t worry, the rest settles to the bottom), add your potatoes, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender (appx 20 minutes).  Drain the potatoes and let them dry for a bit, to crystallize the salt. Return to the burner and melt the butter and sprinkle the herbs over the potatoes, tossing to coat.  

Eat them immediately.  What are you waiting for?  EAT THEM.

I probably should’ve started this recipe earlier in the evening, as I finally finished up around 10 PM last night, but that’s what happens when your cooking plans get pushed back due to phone shenanigans and ensuing panic.  

Either way, the end result is absolutely worth it – slow roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, reduced balsamic, and torn basil combine perfectly in this. Just be aware that those tomatoes are gonna be roasting for about 3 hours.

Slow Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
Lasts 3-4 lunches as side

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (I got two pints over two weeks’ time and took a cup out of each for use in the Mediterranean baked feta)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t coriander
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (but not peeled)
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil

Half your cherry tomatoes, and then combine with your unpeeled garlic cloves, coriander, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl, and toss. While you’re prepping this, preheat your oven to 225 (200 in my case) and line a baking sheet with foil.  Once tossed, arrange the mix on the baking sheet, and roast for three hours, until the tomatoes are wrinkled at the edges. 

About a half hour from the tomatoes being done, put your balsamic vinegar in a pot and simmer, reducing by about half until it’s thick and syrupy (see pic 2 for what that looks like).  This will take about a half hour so it’ll time perfectly with the tomatoes finishing. Apparently you don’t need to use all of the balsamic to top the salad (I did, whoops).

As soon as your tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven. Tear your mozzarella and basil, and layer them in as you add scoops of the tomatoes.  Peel the garlic and add it in too, roasted garlic is fantastic and I will fight you if you say otherwise.  Then add your balsamic and toss to coat.

I tried this recipe almost immediately after Deb posted it on the Smitten Kitchen last year, and ever since then, it’s been a mainstay.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a grill on you – the oven works perfectly for this. And man, the simple perfection of warm, melty cheese and roasted tomatoes and olives cannot be overstated.  

Mediterranean Baked Feta
Lasts 4 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • .33 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (forgot this this time, whoops)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 block feta (you want a good sized block, this was closer to 16 oz, at minimum you want 8 to 10 oz)

Half your tomatoes, chop your olives, and then mix everything except your feta block in a small bowl, tossing so that the olive oil coats everything.

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375). Put your block of feta in a baking dish, and then pour the tomato-olive-oregano mix over the feta.  Cover your dish, and cook for fifteen minutes – your cheese will get soft and warm, but not quite melty.  

Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all right away (though you will be tempted to) – this reheats easily, especially in the oven.

Continuing the afternoon’s theme of using the oven for maximum deliciosity (yes, it’s a word), I give you these sexy things.  The smell while they were roasting is absolutely indescribable.  The combination of the juices, the herbs, the garlic, the oils and vinegars, and the inherent sexiness of roasted tomatoes and mushrooms pretty much make the perfect storm of awesome in this side.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms with Goat Cheese
Makes 4 side servings

Ingredients   

  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms
  • ½ lb grape (or cherry) tomatoes
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dash sea salt and black pepper
  • pinch herb of choice (I used dried oregano)
  • 3 oz goat cheese (I used garlic herb goat cheese)

Combine everything except your goat cheese in your baking dish, and heat your oven to 400 (mine’s at 375, you know the deal by now). Arrange in one layer and bake for 25 mins. You’ll know it’s done when you see juices in teh bottom of the pan, and the tomatoes will be a little wilted.  Turn off the heat, and remove the pan, and top with the goat cheese (put it on in shreds).  Put back in the oven, and let sit for five more minutes to melt the cheese.

You can eat it by itself, on top of bread, basically, any which way you want.  ^^

So, the other weekend, I was able to get my hands on the sexiness that is $3/pound trimmed asparagus at the farmer’s market – and baby, this is the good stuff. I was away this weekend, and hadn’t gotten to cook it prior to that (boo), so I wanted to get this prepared tonight while it was still fresh.  At first I was wondering what I was gonna make, and then I realized I had everything for what is my mainstay asparagus recipe – maple dijon asparagus.  One of my most highly recommended recipes, and simple enough to do while you’re making another dish (today’s other post).

Maple Dijon Asparagus
Lasts three to four lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T grainy mustard
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (original recommends grated, whoops)
  • dash salt and pepper and dill weed

Preheat the oven to 400 (or 375 if yours runs hot like mine), and clean and prep your asparagus (unless you’re buying it pre-trimmed like mine, then just clean).  Lay the asparagus out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast in the oven between 10 to 30 mins, depending on the thickness of your asparagus (the results above were gotten at ~25 minutes at 375).

Meanwhile, while this is going on, and so long as you’re not working on something else, make the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustards, salt and pepper and dill, and grated garlic in a small bowl.  As soon as you remove the asparagus from the oven and put it in your container, pour the vinaigrette over the asparagus, close the container, and toss to coat.

And then, enjoy the sexiness of roasted asparagus with mustard maple dressing.