Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Change of Season

Fall is here! Well, almost. The calendar says we've got a few weeks to go, but the change is already in the air. The mornings are crisp and a little overcast now, and the dew hangs on the plants heavier than just a few weeks ago. The days are getting shorter and it's cooler in the evenings. Some nights I need a blanket as I relax on the sofa after dinner.

This is my favorite time of year. The best part is not only the cooler weather which I love so much more than the heat of summer, but the colors are amazing: gold, red, orange, brown. And the food! Ah, the food - something else to look forward to.

As I plan my menu now, the impending season conjures up thoughts of roasting vegetables and meats, incorporating seasonal fall foods like squashes and pumpkins, baking with apples, cranberries and walnuts, and using warming spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. I start to think about hearty soups and stews that provide warmth and comfort. It's a great time of year.

Last night, to kick off fall (albeit early), I made Balsamic Roasted Onions and Potatoes. Truly heaven. I can't tell you how I wished I would have found this a long time ago. So incredibly good. The potatoes are joined with red onions, instead of yellow or white ones, for a touch of sweetness, then coated in butter, and sprinkled with chopped fresh rosemary from the garden and a few garlic cloves. The "secret" ingredient is balsamic vinegar, which I would have never thought to add. It is reduced so that the consistency is more like syrup, then the whole lot is roasted in the oven until the onions and potatoes are crisp and carmelized. Fantastic. I couldn't get enough of 'em. Here's the recipe.

Balsamic Roasted Onions and Potatoes

3 1/2 lbs. medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. butter
a bunch of fresh rosemary,  leaves picked and chopped fine
a lot of garlic, as many cloves as you like, peeled, left whole, or if large, sliced in half
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups cheap balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 8 minutes, then drain. Pour into an ovenproof pan a bit of olive oil and add the butter, rosemary and garlic.  Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf of your oven and cook for about 50 minutes until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy, tossing the onions and potatoes halfway through.

Serve with any roasted meat or chicken, or alongside other roasted veggies. Serves 6.

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