Archive for July, 2008

A Light Bulb Moment

July 16, 2008

Every so often, I have a light bulb moment in the kitchen. A moment where I go, “Aha! That’s how that works!” or “My cooking has just changed for the better!” Starting to use fresh herbs was a definite light bulb – I feel like the quality of my food changed noticeably. When Randy and I moved back from London in the summer of 2004, I had to give away all of my dried spices and herbs. The U.S. is really stringent about what they allow into the country and any kind of food – even canned goods – was a no go.

When we arrived back in Seattle, I had to start from scratch with my collection and it took me a a while to put it all together again. Since it was summer time, I started to really think about buying fresh as much as possible, and there were tons of delicious herbs at all the farmer’s markets. Previously, I had always taken the lazy approach and if a recipe suggested you could use either fresh or dried, I had copped out and used dried. But once I tasted my food with fresh herbs, there was no going back. Now I am lucky enough to have thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, oregano, and chives all growing in my garden. I am out there at least once a day picking something for a recipe.

After tasting today’s pasta salad, I am going to have to plant some basil. You see, as much as I love pasta – and I really love pasta – I have never been a huge fan of pasta salad. It seems no matter what wonderful ingredients are in there, it always tastes the same. So no matter how much love and affection I give a pasta salad, no matter how much I adore all the vegetables and cheese in it it, it tastes no different than the tri-color rotelle slop in the cheap grocery store. It is so unfair that something that just screams summer and is a great thing to feed a crowd, just hasn’t done it for me.

Until today when I had my light bulb moment. Vinegar. All of those salads, those I have made, those I have bought, those I have had in delis, they all taste of vinegar. That is what makes them all taste the same. That is the pesky flavor that overwhelms all others! Don’t get me wrong; I like vinegar, just not, apparently, in pasta salad. As I was tweaking the recipe for tonight’s Orzo and Broccoli Salad I noticed that it had no vinegar. I was about to add some but, fortunately, tasted it first. Bing! The light bulb went on. This is what I have always wanted to taste. The starch of the pasta, the richness of the olive oil, the salt of the cheese – all clear as a bell without that acid aftertaste. It was sublime. This is officially my go-to pasta salad from now on.

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit Magazine although I made quite a few changes. One of the things I did was add sun-dried tomatoes because I felt like it needed the color and that wonderful sharp flavor that they add. Let’s talk about sun-dried tomatoes. I never buy the kind that are packed in oil. The formerly (pre-babies) weight-conscious me just can’t go there. Plus what do you do with all that oil? The kind that you have to reconstitute with water – those are flavorless. Once in a while, I find a special kind that are not packed in oil, but are ready to use; they don’t have to be reconstitued. They are supple enough to cut easily and have great flavor. I most recently found them in Metropolitan Market but have also found them in the produce section of QFC (Kroger’s). If you find some and aren’t sure if they are the right kind, just give them a bend through the package. If they feel brittle, move on. If they feel supple, stock up because they last indefinitely in the pantry.

Finally, let’s talk about pine nuts. Like many nuts, pine nuts really hit their stride only once they have been toasted. But they go from being toasted to burnt toast in about 4 seconds. I can’t tell you how many times I have thrown away dark dark brown pine nuts. So here is my easy way of getting them perfect. Put them on the baking tray of a toaster oven heated to 350 degrees. Set your timer for 5 minutes (if you don’t set your timer, you will forget about them, trust me.) After five minutes, give them a shake, then set the timer for one more minute. Turn off the oven and if they look perfect, pull them out. If they still look a little pale, let them sit in the turned off toaster oven until they look golden brown.

Orzo with Broccoli, Feta, and Olives
Adapted from
Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves 8

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta. If you are unable to find it, any small shape will do.

1 lb. orzo
2 lbs. broccoli, cut into small florets

1/4 cup olive oil

6 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

12 sun-dried tomato halves, thinly sliced cross-wise

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

1 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to an ice water bath. Swish around with your hand until the water feels cool and then drain well. Add to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add the orzo to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Taste to make sure. Drain well and add the olive oil; stir well.

While the pasta cools, add the sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, red pepper flakes, and cheese to the broccoli. Check to make sure that the orzo isn’t sticking together. If it is, sprinkle with more olive oil. Add the orzo and basil to the bowl along with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

The Weekend, Part Two: Family

July 14, 2008

I am one of the few people I know who actually grew up in Seattle. I can’t legally call myself a “native” because I wasn’t born here and the people who were born here, well, they would try to get me in trouble for calling myself a native. So I’m an almost-native. Aside from a few friends who went to high school with me, everyone else I know is from somewhere else. Seattle is a great place to live and somewhere around the late 80’s or early 90’s, people started to figure that out and move here. I went to college in Connecticut and for my first few years, I got asked the following questions on a regular basis:

  • “Seattle, is that in Oregon?” (This would be pronounced “ore-gone” which, in case you are reading from the East Coast, is not how you say it – it’s “ore-gun”.)
  • “Seattle, doesn’t it snow there a lot?” (No, it doesn’t.)
  • “Seattle, doesn’t it rain there a lot?” (Yes, it does.)
  • “Seattle, do you go to LA a lot?” (This would be like asking someone from Maine if they go to Florida a lot.)
  • “Seattle, isn’t that right by Alaska?” (Well, there is this thing called Canada in the way.)

And so on and so on. However, by my senior year it became, “Seattle, I’m moving there!” And boy did people move here! The city totally changed in the four years I was away at college. Finally people started to appreciate all that our beautiful city had to offer and to understand why so many of us stayed. My parents and one of my brothers live about a half hour away and the other brother is moving back at the end of the month.

Randy’s family is all on the East coast and no, they haven’t asked me any of those ridiculous questions (except for the one about the rain.) His immediate family is spread out between Atlanta, Richmond, and Houston. The extended family is all in Baltimore (with a few strays in Texas.) I love this big family – they are the most welcoming and fun group of people you could hope for when marrying into a family. The Baltimore clan all live within a few miles of each other and they are always gathering to eat, drink, and have a “hootenanny”. Many of them are musical so after a few beers, the guitars come out and everyone who wants one, gets a turn.

The very first time I met this clan was when Randy and I were dating. I play the guitar and sing which gave me an almost immediate stamp of approval. But I was nervous. Imagine meeting your boyfriend’s large family, trying to keep everyone’s names straight, trying desperately to make a good impression, trying not to drink too much wine, oh! and then someone hands you a guitar and expects you to sing. Well, I did it and they were all lovely about it. At every Hootenanny since, Randy’s Uncle Mike gently coerces me into singing one of the 10 songs I remember from my college coffee house days, and I always make myself a mental promise that I will take playing up again when I get home. Sigh.

Uncle Mike and his lovely new wife Kathy were in town for a brief moment this weekend on their way to a cruise to Alaska (see? It’s far enough away that you have to cruise there.) I would have loved to spend the day with them but we had our supper club waiting for us on Bainbridge Island. I thought of just getting some bagels for us to eat and then thought better of it. I decided to make one of my favorite easy and delicious dishes – a Leek Frittata. For some reason, I also thought it was time to make Cinnamon Rolls. This was actually my first attempt at cinnamon rolls and, because I was short on time, I made the quick kind – no yeast. The frosting was good but the rest was just kind of, eh. I wouldn’t make them again. The leek frittata on the other hand, is something I have made countless times. I’ve literally made it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and everyone always likes it. It is a great thing to serve for company because it can be made ahead of time, it’s quick, and it looks pretty. And it tastes great too!

And just because we didn’t have enough going on this weekend, my family came over for dinner on Sunday night. My brother Alex is married to a great woman named Amy and they have two adorable kids. Each of their kids are one year older than each of ours – so they are so cute together and play really nicely. Even though they live close, we don’t see enough of them, so we decided to really make an effort to get together every other week.

I decided to grill salmon for dinner – or have Randy grill salmon. Amy, my mom, and I are all vegetarians, but the men are all carnivores. Randy is fond of saying that he never really ate much meat until he married me – his vegetarian wife. Whenever we would go out for dinner as a family, he would order fish and my dad and brothers would order steak or lamb or pork. Eventually, he wondered why he wasn’t doing that too and now he fully embraces his inner carnivore.

Grilling salmon made it a little easier on me since all I had to do was make side dishes. I made a Farro Salad that I really like with broccoli rabe and grapes.

I also made a new one for me – Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta Cheese.
This one was a real keeper because it starred one of very favorite things – English peas. They are still in abundance at the markets and sweeter than ever. I must have eaten half the bag on the way home. And look at those radishes! Purple! I also used pea shoots in this salad which is what the leafy things are. These are part of the vine that English peas grow on and they taste just like peas but with a totally different texture. You can also find those all over the farmer’s markets. Two recipes today since I promised Kathy the Frittata one!

Leek Frittata
Adapted from
Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures
Serves 4

If you are new to this site or new to leeks, I give some info about them here.

3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

6 eggs
1/4 cup low fat milk

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick spray.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs in large bowl. Beat in the milk, cheese and then a pinch each of salt and pepper, then stir in the leeks. Pour the mixture into the pie plate.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or just until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overcook.

Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta Cheese
Food and Wine
4-6 Servings

I am mostly printing the recipe in it’s original form although I made a couple of changes. In the dressing I used ground cumin instead of toasting and grinding cumin seeds. I also used mint instead of dill and I loved how subtle the flavor was. I love dill as much as the next person, and it is great with peas, but so is mint so feel free to use either. The recipe says you can use frozen peas but really, for this one, I wouldn’t bother making it with frozen. After cooking my peas, I put them in an ice bath (which is just a bowl of water with a bunch of ice cubes.) They kept their brilliant green color and didn’t get all wrinkley so I would recommend taking that step.

2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. honey

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp. chopped dill

4 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 4 pounds English peas)

1 bunch radishes, trimmed, halved, thinly sliced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 oz.)

3 cups pea tendrils, coarsely chopped (optional)

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Cool, grind finely in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Whisk lime juice, honey, and cumin in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil, stir in dill. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Cook peas in pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water, then drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Add radishes, feta, and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. If using pea tendrils, sprinkle over top.

The Weekend, Part One: Friends

July 13, 2008

The Subtitle of this post is “The Vegetarian goes to a Steakhouse”.

This weekend is a crazy one for us. Lots of time with friends and family and LOTS of food, so I decided to break it down into a “friends” post and a “family” post. Tomorrow’s post will have photos and a recipe or two.

Friday night we went to El Gaucho with Deb and Jeff, our wonderful neighbors and friends, and the builders of our house. We have shared many a happy hour together; summer ones out on the deck while the older kids chase each other around the yard, and winter ones where it is dark by 4:30pm and we are wondering how to survive until the kids go to bed. During one of these happy hours we somehow got on the topic of eating dinner at El Gaucho and the fact that Jeff had never eaten there. Jeff is – how do I put this? – a meat and potatoes guy, emphasis on the meat. I often bring them food and he is always lovely about it, but I’m sure as soon as I am out the door he asks his veg-friendly wife, “What the hell is this crap?” So I found it funny that I have been to the Palace of Meat and he hadn’t.

We hatched a plan to go for the July birthdays (Jeff and me) and had a great meal and a lot of fun with them. You may be wondering – why on earth would someone who has been a vegetarian for 22 years want to go to a place that is basically a celebration of meat? Actually, there are several reasons. I’m a sucker for a baked potato and they have a great one. I know exactly what I am going to get (side dishes) so there is none of the expectation that is almost always dashed when I go to other restaurants. The service there is impeccable. And it is so swanky. I always feel like I am in some other city or some other time when I go there. And they have Bananas Foster of which I don’t eat the bananas or the ice cream, but would drink the caramel sauce out of a wine glass if I could get away with it.

We were out pretty late but I managed to get up and go for a run the next morning before some family came over (more about that tomorrow). We were a little rushed because we needed to catch a ferry to go to Bainbridge Island for a get-together with our supper club.

This club started soon after my older son was born. Because that whole period of my life is a little foggy (sleep deprivation, anyone?), I don’t remember why that suddenly seemed like a good idea. Whatever my thinking was, I was certainly inspired when it came to asking the couples I did. I picked an old friend, a medium friend, and a new friend couple. Jen and Tom (I’ve known Jen since middle school), John and Lauren (I’ve known them for 12 years), and Lauren and Travis who Randy and I met at the Lamaze class we did together. All are people who love food and wine, and all are people who I sensed would really hit it off.

We hosted the first dinner in February of 2005 and have been getting together on a regular basis ever since. We have eaten a lot of great food, drank a lot of great wine, shared some wonderful late nights at Jen’s parents’ incomparable compound on Whidbey Island, and celebrated the births of four of our children together. The group has gelled wonderfully – having a supper club night is one of my very favorite things to do in all the world.

Saturday, Jen and Tom bravely opened their home to all of us with our children. Now, they have four of their own, so not much phases them, and their home and incredible yard is so idyllic and safe, you just relax as soon as you get out of our car. With a baby on her hip, Jen proceeded to put together delicious snacks and an early dinner for us, only to have us rush off and leave them with a huge mess so we could catch our ferry back to the city. Sorry guys!

I offered to bring dessert since it seemed crazy to me that she was going to cook for eight adults and ten children – thankfully she took me up on it. I went against my intuition (which is all-chocolate-all-the-time, except in summer when maybe a fruit pie is acceptable) and made a Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake from the Sunday Dinners at Lucques cookbook. Deb at Smitten Kitchen raved about this cake and also noted that she covered the cake in a chocolate ganache, so I figured I would go for it.

Truthfully, I didn’t like it. But I don’t really like nuts, especially in my desserts, so I guess it’s not surprising that I really just wanted to lick the ganache off the top and do away with the cake. But Lauren F., who is a big fan of my desserts, said it was in her “top five” – wow! I’ll have to file that away. Randy politely ate his piece and half mine but I know him and I know he didn’t like it. Maybe he is not a nut guys either. Because I didn’t love it, I am not going to post the recipe but if you are a hazelnut lover, check it out here.

Why Dana Treat?

July 9, 2008

I like to think I learned how to bake from my mom. Or, at least I learned some of the basics from her. Some of my earliest memories in the kitchen are baking with my mom. She has recently had a “baking disaster” (her words) each time she has tried to make a dessert for some special occasion, but she really is the one who got me started on my path as a baker and as a cook. My mom is very exacting and precise and VERY neat, so it makes sense that she would take well to baking.

The two lessons from my mom I remember most vividly are how to level flour with a table knife (I have recently switched to using my finger in my eternal quest for reducing the number of dishes I do in a day), and to make sure to gather all the ingredients for a recipe before you start. Maybe because I never really cooked with my mom (only baked), I only do this very helpful gathering step when I bake. I read the recipe very carefully (as she does), pull everything out of the pantry and refrigerator that I will need, and retrieve all the measuring spoons and cups so I will have everything right at my fingertips.

When I cook, I am a lot less organized. I don’t grab all the things I will need from the fridge or the vegetable basket, I don’t pull out all the knives and measuring devices I will need, I don’t pull out bowls in which to put the various vegetables I will be chopping and adding at different times. I’m not sure why this is and everytime I am knee deep in something and realize that I have to rinse my hands,
yet again, to dig down in the vegetable bin for the forgotten scallions, I wonder why I don’t just get everything out in advance.

I love to cook and to bake about equally although they do feel very different to me. I always approach a baking recipe with a certain amount of trepidation – even if it is something relatively simple. Maybe that is why, when a recipe turns out, I get an incredible sense of satisfaction that I don’t always get when, say, the pasta sauce turns out great. Is it because baking feels like magic? You mix stuff together, put it in the oven, and poof! something delicious (and sometimes even beautiful) comes out.

When my older son was just over a year old, a friend asked a group of us where to get a good birthday cake. I thought about it and realized that apart from Macrina Bakery, there wasn’t a single place that I could recommend. As I was kind of itching for something to do besides being a stay-at-home-mom, I thought that perhaps that could be my niche – baking for friends’ birthdays, dinner parties, or just because. I had the idea that every time I brought a dessert to someone, I would include a “treat” as just a little extra. A couple of cookies or chocolate truffles – just to thank them and to make my dessert that much more memorable.

A few months after that baking fantasy started, I had lunch with my friend Stephanie. She told me that they had just started employing a personal chef to cook for them a couple of times a week. Stephanie and her husband Mark love to eat and they love good food. She herself likes to cook and is quite good at it, but she was finding that with her work and travel schedule, cooking was becoming too much of a chore. She was thrilled with the new service for the convenience but she wasn’t thrilled with the food. It was too much like her mom used to make and the dishes were too heavy. Without thinking too carefully, I said, “I’ll cook for you.” Without missing beat, she asked, “You will?” And that is how I became a personal chef.

We started slowly – I had (at the time) a 17 month old and both she and Mark (but especially Mark) LOVED their meat. I cooked for them once a week and was so excited about it, I would lay awake at night thinking of menus for them. Soon after our start, they decided to fire the other chef and have me cook for them twice a week. Soon after that, they referred another couple to me who wanted me to cook for them three times a week, so Stephanie and Mark signed on for three days too. I kept up this schedule until shortly before I had my second son and, after a 6 month maternity leave, I went back to twice a week. This month, it will be a year that I have been back.

From the very beginning, I wanted to incorporate baking into the meals for them. I took my own idea of bringing them a “treat” as a thank you for their business and to help make the meals more memorable. Thus, Dana Treat was born. I bring them a treat every Tuesday and it has allowed me to make some delicious things. Tonight’s cookies are from Martha Stewart’s Cookies and they prompted Randy to say, “I don’t care if she is a felon – these are amazing!”

For some reason, whenever I make cookies, I never end up with the same yield as the recipe says. I almost always end up with less. So when I read that this recipe should yield 3 dozen sandwich cookies with only 1 3/4 cup of flour, I scoffed and then doubled the recipe. When I read to use a 1 inch ice cream scoop to measure out the cookies, I scoffed and used my 2 inch. People, listen to Martha. Unless you want 10 million cookies, don’t double it, and the 1 inch ice cream scoop makes just the right size. My one quibble is that the filling took longer than the 1/2 hour she says to set up – give yourself at least an hour and even then it will be soft – but no one will care.

Before the recipe, let’s talk about vanilla beans. Yes, they are expensive, but their flavor is incomparable. If you have a vanilla lover in your life, these cookies totally plain will make them very happy – all because of the vanilla bean. I have been very disappointed by those that I have ordered through the mail and have always been happy with the ones from Whole Foods. You want your vanilla bean to be supple and moist, not craggy and dried out and the beans at Whole Foods fit the bill. You find them in the bulk spice section and they are a fraction of the cost of the prepackaged ones in the baking aisle of any grocery store. To get those precious seeds out, use a paring knife to cut down the length of the bean, but don’t cut all the way through. Open it like a book, then take the back of your knife and run it all the way down the bean. The seeds will stick to the back of your knife. You can then put the pod in to your sugar container for the most wonderful smelling vanilla sugar.

Raspberry Cream Sandwiches
Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

For the cookies:
1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved

For the filling:
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

2 tsp. sugar

7 1/2 oz. best quality white chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make cookies: Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. ut butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds; reserve bean for another use. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.

2. Using a 1 inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through until golden and just set, 8-10 minutes. Let cool on wire wracks.

3. Make filling: Puree raspberries and sugar in a food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to extract juice; discard seeds.

4. Melt white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a slow, steady stream. Add reserved raspberry mixture; slowly whisking until pale, about 3 minutes. Refrigerate 3o minutes (or longer).

5. Assemble cookies: Spread 1 tablespoon filling onto the bottom of one cookie; sandwich with another. Repeat. Cookies can be refrigerated between layers of parchment in airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

A Surefire Hit – White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

July 6, 2008

Full confession. I actually made this dish on Thursday for my clients. I knew I wanted to post and also knew I wasn’t going to be cooking much this holiday weekend – well, except for this…

…but I wasn’t super thrilled with how the above turned out, so I figured I would tell you about a dish that is a surefire hit. Imagine your kitchen smelling like roasting tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It is intoxicating. Now imagine bringing a dish to a party that everyone (even people you don’t know) asks you about and everyone tells you is delicious. This too can be you!! I have made this wonderful bean dish many times and it is always well received. The tomato/onion mixture would also be great over pasta, or spooned on to crostini. You will want to lick the baking pan. Seriously.

So, yes, you do need to heat your oven to 500 degrees, so if it is a boiling hot day, this may not be the right recipe. However, you could roast the veggies early in the day and just let them sit out at room temp for 8 hours or so. They may get more wrinkled looking, but their taste will actually improve.

I originally got the idea for this recipe from Gourmet magazine but I have made significant changes to it based on ideas from the comments on Epicurious and also just from having made it so many times. The recipe calls for cipolline (pronounced chip-o-leenee) onions which are out-of-control delicious but not always easy to find. Apparently their season starts in the fall, so I was not able to find them this time – even at Whole Foods. You can most definitely substitute pearl onions and even (in an extreme pinch) frozen pearl onions.

If you are using fresh (and not frozen) onions, the best way to get the peels off is to put them in boiling water for about a minute. Drain them, allow them to cool, and the skins will come right off. If you are using frozen, allow them to thaw otherwise they will give off too much water and steam rather than roast.

White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes
Loosely adapted from
Gourmet Magazine
Serves 6

2 lbs. large tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
1 lb. cherry tomatoes (mixed colors if possible)

1 lb. cipolline onions, peeled and halved if large

1 head garlic, cloves separated, left unpeeled

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp. good balsamic vinegar

2 15 oz. cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Toss tomato halves, cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves with salt, sugar, and oil and spead out on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes cut side up. Roast vegetables, uncovered, until the onions are browned, large tomatoes are very tender with brown patches, and cherry tomatoes are falling apart, 35-50 minutes. Pull out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and toss to combine well. Allow to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin.

Put beans onto a platter. Scoop tomatoes, onions and garlic over beans. Pour the accumlated juices over the platter. Scatter with basil leaves.

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