Tag Archives: roasted garlic

Grill-roasted Beet Salad

I was never much of a beet fan. Jarred blood-red root vegetables just never did it for me. But that all changed recently when wifey decided to whip up a batch of her mom’s famous beet salad…

“Beets?…seriously?” “Why not make mashed chicken gizzards…”
“You will love this, I promise. I have been eating beets since I’m a kid…Plus, my mother says they’re good for you”
“Yea, but you also love Pastaroni, that’s not saying much”
“Oh please, you love that too now”
“Oh, one more thing – don’t freak out when you pee red, it’s just the beets”

Get yourself:

  • 1 Bunch fresh beets (~4 to a bunch)
  • 6 Cloves fresh garlic, skins on and smashed with heel of knife
  • 2T Balsamic Vinegar
  • Thinly sliced red onion, just  a bit
  • .25t Garlic powder (optional)
  • .5t Oregano
  • 2.5T Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Foil

Printable Recipe

Rinse beets under cool water and dry

Preheat grill or oven to 400F

Slice the greens off and the root ends

(someone told me you can eat the greens, go for it if you’re into that)

Place beets on a sheet of foil

Smash the cloves of garlic with heel of knife to open up the skins…

…object here is to roast the garlic and infuse the beets with some garlic goodness

Toss the cloves into the beets

Drizzle 1.5T of olive oil over beets and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Wrap it up in the foil making sure there are no holes or seams

Toss the beets on grill or in oven

Roast for ~40mins or until fork tender like a potato

When done, carefully open up pouch

Beets will be perfectly roasted and surrounded by aromatic roasted garlic

Let cool then peel off skins and slice into disks

Dress beets with the red onion, remainder of oil, balsamic, oregano, optional garlic powder, and s&p

Toss it all together and taste

Serve room temp or chill – they’re even better chilled and eaten the next day

Now, I know beets are not the most appealing looking of veggie sides, but the taste sure makes up for that

I’m a true convert

Oh, and someone else told me to add a little crumbled goat cheese to the beets…

…sounds hella good, I’ll give that a shot next time around



Mezzi Rigatoni Tossed w/ Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella

Leftover ingredients + forced creativity = awesome unexpected dinner. I had sausage from the Scarpariello frozen and fresh mozzarella + sauce leftover from pizza Friday night. Plus, I wanted to use some of the goodies that I made recently like chicken stock and roasted peppers. A little kitchen alchemy and viola a new dish is born!

Prep time: 5mins
Cook time: 15mins

Get yourself:

  • 1lb Sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1lb Mezzi Rigatoni
  • 2C Tomato sauce
  • 2C Fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1C Roasted peppers, drained, rinsed, sliced into strips
  • 2C Grape tomatoes
  • 1C Chicken broth
  • 6 Cloves roasted garlic, mashed or 3 cloves fresh minced
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1T Capers, non-salted
  • 1T Dry oregano
  • 1T Chopped parsley
  • 1t Garlic powder
  • 1t Asian Chili-Garlic sauce
  • 1t Smoked paprika
  • S&cracked pepper

Printable Recipe

Split open the casing and pull out the goodness

Mix it up so there aren’t any big chunks and give this a rough chop

Heat the oil and garlic over medium-high for ~2mins

Toss in the sausage and brown

Once you have some nice caramelization on the sausage…

Sprinkle on your smoked paprika

Toss in the whole grape tomatoes

These little guys are great; they burst in your mouth while eating

A little special effects for the dinner table

Add in the roasted peppers and capers and saute for ~1min

Your pasta should be in the water by now…

For the sauce…

Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, oregano, and s&p…

…and if you want some heat add in……some chili garlic sauce

Believe me when I tell you a little goes a LONG way

This stuff is badass; you can pick it up at Shop Rite in the ethnic food aisle

Stir it all up

Bring to a boil for ~2mins

Reduce to simmer for ~10mins

Sauce should have thickened a bit

Taste and adjust for seasoning (add in the garlic powder if you feel it needs it)

Drain pasta and add back to pot

Place over medium-low flame

Quickly toss in your fresh mozzarella, parsley, and stir it all up

Mozz will begin to melt

Keep stirring

Scoop some of that oozy, cheesy deliciousness into a bowl

It’s like a festival of goodness happening on the plate and in your mouth…

…little grape tomatoes burst sweet juice that balances out the brine and tang of the capers, as well as the saltiness of the sausage…

…creamy, silky, melty, oozy fresh mozzarella bonds everything together…

…mezzi rigatoni’s large empty cavity is like a basket that fills up with goodness…

…smoked paprika gives the dish a great smokey earthiness and the chili sauce heats it all up…

…you’re gonna have to taste it for yourself…


Roasted Peppers DIY

One thing I don’t like to do is buy food that I know I can make myself. It’s my inner evolutionary instinct for self-sufficiency, I guess. One of those foods that I rather make instead of buying is roasted bell peppers. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, but FAR tastier than their jarred counterpart. Roasting fresh bell peppers will yield a sweet, nutty, smokey flesh that can play the lead role or just be in the background of many dishes. One of my favorite ways to eat roasted peppers is with fresh mozzarella, I’m talking the real good quality stuff made fresh at a local salumeria. Just sprinkle some sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top and you have yourself an indulgent little appetizer.

Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10-15 mins

Get yourself:

  • 4-6 Red bell peppers
  • 1 Clove fresh garlic smashed
  • 1 Clove roasted garlic
  • 1t kosher salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • 4T Good quality olive oil
  • Large Ziploc freezer bag or something to let the peppers cool in
  • Mason jar, 1 pint or quart depending on how many peppers you roast

Let’s roast some peppers!

Find yourself some nice big bell peppers with thick flesh

Remove stickers, rinse, dry

Line a cookie tray with foil and place peppers side by side

Set oven rack about 5 inches under broiler and turn broiler on

Pop under the broiler

Keep oven door slightly ajar using an oven mitt

Allow skin to blister and blacken

Remove from oven and turn peppers over

Blister and blacken entire outside of pepper

When peppers are evenly blistered and blackened…

Pop them into a Ziploc freezer bag or glass bowl

Seal bag or cover bowl and allow peppers to cool for ~30mins

While peppers cool, prep your jar that you’ll be storing peppers in

Smash one clove of garlic and remove skin

Pop into jar

If you have some…add one clove roasted garlic to jar

Peel skin from flesh then remove core and seeds

Dump peppers into a bowl with juices that collected while cooling

Tear flesh into strips

Pour the strips of roasted peppers and juice into jar

Pour a few tablespoons of good quality olive oil into jar

Add s&p

Stir gently to mix everything together

There you have it…

Your very own homemade jar of the best roasted peppers…



Escarole & Beans

Escarole and beans is an Italian classic, except in my house it’s more like–‘shcarole and beans. Escarole, for those not familiar with it, is like something between romaine lettuce and Bok Choy…it’s really good, I promise.  This is the type of soup where you sop up the juices with a big ol’ chunk of crusty artisan bread and then go back for more. It’s all good though because it’s healthy, and we like healthy…sometimes.

Serves: ~6-8
Total time: ~30mins

Get yourself:

  • 2 Heads escarole
  • 2 Cans or 4 cups Cannellini beans (drained)
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic (If only using fresh, 5 cloves sliced thin)
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic (If you haven’t roasted garlic yet, now might be the time)
  • 1 Can plum tomatoes
  • 1 C Chicken broth (Pacific Organic; it has great flavor)
  • 1 C Beef broth (Same brand as chicken)
  • 1 C reserved tomato juice
  • 1 C Water
  • .5 C Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5t Kosher salt
  • 1t Black pepper
  • 1 Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .5 Box Ditalini pasta
  • Pecorino Romano for the finish

The most laborious part of this dish is cleaning the escarole. Seriously, I don’t know what it is with this stuff but it’s like it gets sprayed with dirt before it’s shipped out. Fill your sink with cold water, discard discolored and broken leaves, and toss into the water. Swoosh it all around to loosen the dirt and rinse each leaf.

Fill a big ass pot with ~2″ water, break up your escarole and toss in

Bring flame to medium heat and cover

Escarole will wilt down…

…and shrink, a lot!

Drain in a colander and if you have a spinner then spin some of the water off

Prep your garlic

Don’t you dare skimp on the garlic…

and seriously, if you haven’t roasted garlic yet, you should…

the mellow roasted garlic flavor disperses throughout the broth and makes the dish 10x better

Add the red pepper, fresh, and mashed roasted garlic to the olive oil

Saute for a couple mins over medium heat

While the garlic does its thing…

Grab those tomatoes and drain the juice off into a bowl

Crush tomatoes by hand while dodging the juice that squirts out

Toss the escarole and tomatoes into the pot and stir

Sprinkle a little of that salt and pepper on

Add in all of your broth, tomato juice, and water

Break open your beans

If you’re a bean connoisseur and prefer fresh beans, well, that’s your problem…

The canned ones are perfect and probably even preferable in this dish

Drain the bean juice

Toss ’em in

Stir it up

Add the rest of the salt and pepper

Taste, say mmmmmmm…

Bring to a simmer for ~10 mins

Add 1/2 a box of Ditalini pasta directly to the soup

Raise flame to medium and let pasta cook for ~10mins or until al dente

Taste for salt and pepper

Don’t add garlic powder, please.

There she is ladies and gentlemen…

‘Scharole and beans

Top with freshly grated Pecorino Romano and cracked black pepper

Tear off a fat chunk of Italian bread

Sit at the table in a white v-neck tee and mangia!

In the words of my girl Lidia Bastianich…

“Everyone (come) to the table, to eat”

p.s. there’s plenty of leftovers if you’re only two people…

Focaccia 2 Ways

It’s Friday night. You cooked all week and you’re probably looking for something uncomplicated to cook tonight.

[enter stage left] Focaccia

[shocked audience] But Focaccia, you are boring compared to Pepperoni pizza!

[an insulted Foccacia] How dare you say this! I am far better than a greasy slice of pizza. I have depth of flavor, I’m voluminous, I smell fantastic, and I can wear almost anything.

[pondering audience] Well, if you are so much better than why don’t we see more of you?!

[defensive Focaccia] Ah! You see, my dear peoples, you are afraid to embrace me. You say I am hard to understand, “Is he a bread or is he a pizza?!”  You misjudge me as being fickle and cumbersome. You say I’m a bit of a prima donna because I like to be gently massaged with oil then baked in a pan . My friends, these are shameful lies! Please know I am not who you have painted me as. I beg you to see past these misconceptions and accept me for the easy, versatile,  and delicious food that I am.

[confused audience] Ummm…OK, but seriously, what are you a bread or a pizza?!

[fed up focaccia] Simpleton’s!

[audience storms stage; Focaccia makes a run for it; screams heard in the distance]

Before you get started, click here for a refresher on making dough.

Apply the same dough making techniques, except use the slightly modified recipe below.

You can easily halve the recipe

Focaccia Dough
Inspired by ABin5
  • 6C AP flour
  • 2 1/4C lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4T active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3/4T Sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2T
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic mash (optional)

Here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Whip up a batch of this dough and let it proof until it doubles in size
  • Punch it down
  • Cut off 1lb portions (I made two and stored the rest of the dough in the fridge)
  • Form the dough into balls; dust with a little flour
  • Let rest in oiled pan for ~20mins

Caramelized Onion & Rosemary Focaccia

  • 1lb Dough ball
  • .5 Onion sliced into strips
  • 1T Dried Rosemary
  • 2T EVOO
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper

Brush a 9″ nonstick round pan with 1T EVOO

Plop your dough in and roll it around in the oil

Let dough rest for 20mins

Chop half an onion into strips

Add 1T of oil to frying pan, add onions, fry over medium-high heat

Toss…it’s fun

Onions are done when they turn a light golden brown

Don’t over-cook, they will caramelize in the oven

Spread the dough out to fill the pan

Use your fingers to make indentations into the dough

Top with the onions, don’t smother

Sprinkle with rosemary, sea salt, and cracked black pepper

Bake in a 375F oven for ~30mins

Dough will poof up in the oven

Focaccia is ready when it’s golden brown

Fresh Mozzarella Focaccia

  • 1lb Dough ball
  • Pizza sauce
  • 6oz Fresh mozzarella sliced
  • Salt & Pepper

Bake focaccia with a little bit of sauce in a 375F oven

Take it out when it doubles in size, ~20mins

Top with fresh mozz and a little more sauce

Pop in oven for ~5mins

Cheese should be melted

Carefully remove from pan

Let cool a little bit

After you stop staring at this pic…

Go make some and dig in!

Mangia, mangia!!

Perfect Roasted Garlic

Check out a simple DIY pictorial for roasted gah-lic here: http://wp.me/PLOJW-2R

Money in the bank!

Macaroni & Broccoli

Here’s a classic to kick things off. Pasta dressed with broccoli sautéed in olive oil perfumed with fresh & roasted garlic and simmered in a light broth with white wine and crushed red pepper. Topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and served with a crisp cold glass of Chardonnay. Off the hook! Food porn pics below.

Get about 6 cloves of garlic – 3 fresh/3 roasted and smash. No dice!

Toss the garlic in and saute in about 2T evoo and 1T butter until fresh garlic starts to brown.

Don’t burn!

Once nicely browned, remove from oil and set aside.

When cool dice ’em up and you have garlic crunchies.


Drink add 1/2 cup good quality white vino and 1 cup chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil real quick to burn off the devil. Reduce to moderate heat.

Toss in about 4 cups steamed broccoli florets and stir.

(Oh and if you haven’t done this already, boil a pot of salted H20 for your pasta)

Stir in a couple tablespoons of grated Parmesan.

Taste broth and add s&p and/or garlic powder.

Hover and inhale pure goodness.

Add about a ladle full of pasta water. Taste broth and adjust for seasoning.

(I usually add a little Parmesan, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder @ this pt.)

Go ahead and begin plating with a little broccoli on bottom.

When pasta is Al Dente add to bowl.

And top off with more broccoliciousness.

Sprinkle with garlic crunchies, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, and drizzle a little evoo.

Now go for thirds seconds!

Healthy(er) Variation:

Substitute regular pasta for whole grain or rice pasta.

Use a low sodium chicken broth

Add cubed plain chicken before you add broccoli and simmer until cooked. Then go ahead with recipe.

Take it easy with the grated cheese.

Set up an electric fence around the leftovers.