Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm wearing jeans at last & eating Fall veggies

As I write this I'm listening to weather reports about how Hurricane Sandy & other events are about to combine & become FRANKENSTORM along the east coast of the US. My kids, family & friends live along that coast. Abby, my daughter, lives in Manhattan and may be safely above flood level in her 15th floor apartment. By coincidence, my Brooklyn son Rob is out of harm's way because he's on a shoot in Transylvania, Romania for the Discovery Channel. He only has to worry about vampires & rivers of blood...YIKES!! To the people I love in "the zone", stay safely inside, take a relaxing bubble bath, open the other bubbly and "toast" the idiots who refuse to acknowledge the reality of  GLOBAL WEATHER CHANGES.

Here in bucolic Bradenton, where once again we've been blessed with a quiet Hurricane season, I'm embracing the beginning of our new growing season by eating young vegetables from the farm. Yesterday at  Geraldson's Sunday Farmer's Market, Ryan brought out a bushel of bright crisp yellow zucchini (that's right, have a look) and it made me smile. 

Geraldson Farm's fabulous Yellow available

Last year I tried them for the first time and loved the sweet gentle taste. I'm planning to enjoy lightly breaded "coins", pan fred quickly in olive oil then dipped in garlic aioli (garlicky mayonaise). To do that I had to roast a few heads of raw garlic, so I decided to roast some other veggies at the same time.

A roasted head of garlic, ready to have its yumminess squeezed out

Prepare each head of garlic by cutting off the pointy top to expose the individual cloves within. Put each head on a small piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with two grinds of course black pepper and a dollop of olive oil. Crunch the foil to seal the head within. Place a few heads on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven.

Split zucchini, eggplant slices, sweet potato & cauliflower florets

I sliced baby zucchini in half lengthwise; peeled eggplant & cut thick slices; broke cauliflower florets into small chunks; peeled sweet potatoes & cut them into uniform chunks. Most "hard" vegetables can be roasted in this manner. Place a non-stick liner (like Silpat, parchment or aluminum foil) on a cookie sheet(s), then place veggie pieces on it without touching (which may prevent browning). Sprinkle a little salt, pepper & olive oil over sweet potatoes with brown sugar. To roast beets, wash them, leave a little of top stem on and trim the root off. Rub each with a little olive oil then seal them together in a foil pouch. I baked the garlic & beets on the same cookie sheet. 

Baked veggies:  zucchini, eggplant, beets, cauliflower & sweet potatoes

Slide cookie sheets with veggies & garlic into a 375• F oven and bake for 30-60 minutes until done. Each item takes a different amount of time to cook through, depending on size & thickness. Use a thin skewer or sharp knife to pierce the surface & assure the flesh inside is soft, while the outside is browned. Remove the cooked ones and leave the others to cook longer until done. Once cooked, let foil wrapped beets & garlic cool to the touch.

Separate the garlic cloves, squeezing the nutty gentle flavored contents of each clove into a small bowl. You can freeze it as is, or add some olive oil & mix to make the paste more liquid (like in the little bowls below). This wonderful garlic flavor can be added to soup, stew, salad dressing, mayo for aioli or any recipe where you want a warm undertone of garlic without the bite of fresh.

Puree of roasted garlic can be frozen, well wrapped, in small amounts

The beets, once cool enough to handle, need to be peeled while still warm. The skins will just slip off, but red beets can stain your hands, so this is a good time to use thin disposable gloves. Once peeled, cut them any way you want to use cold in salads, warm with butter, as the base for Harvard Beets, etc.

After barely an hour I was surrounded by a delightful array. Roasted veggies can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and put atop a salad, pizza, wrap or panini, or eaten as a "side". Roasted garlic is something I always keep on hand, or in the freezer, because it adds that depth of flavor to things, including pasta sauce. Have fun.

THIS WEEK I'M BAKING BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS using organic bananas from Geraldson's. I love these muffins because they are moist, incredibly flavorful, deliciously filling and make me feel sinful (ok, I guess it's the amount of chocolate chips I put in).  Sorry, no picture, because they were devoured before I could wash the crumbs off my hands & use the camera.

I'm also baking my  BREAKFAST MUFFINSwhich join stone-ground corn, crisp bacon, sharp Cheddar & sauteed scallions into a hand-held breakfast for just $2. Wrapped to freeze if you can't each a dozen at a sitting.

When I think of my fellow New Yorkers, who will be riding out this storm, I want to honor them in the best way I know

They're tough outside but gentle inside; smart & cool yet warm & tender; embrace the differences each culture brings to the, mix yet are proud to admit: 


To me, the taste of New York City is RUGELACH

My homemade Rugelach embraces the essence of my Brooklyn childhood

It crosses all divides and produces smiles; so that's what I'm bringing to this celebration of surviving the storm that would tear us apart. I'M BAKING RUGELACH...that Jewish favorite, filled with my homemade jam, nuts & raisins. 

Say a prayer, but just in case, eat some rugelach  8oz/$6

You can order anything from my menu listed at the side of this blog posting by Wed at 5pm via email or calling me at (941)746-6647. Or visit me at Geraldson's Sunday Farmer's Market from 10-2 in NW Bradenton.

You can also see the menu at Orders can be picked up at my TreeHouse home in the Village of the Arts on Friday & Saturday or Geraldson's Farm on Sunday.
See directions & info at

This weekend is the Village of the Arts ArtWalk, where we're celebrating Dia de los Muertos -- Festival of the Skeletons on Fri & Sat  See for details.

Hugs & warm blankets to those in harm's way,
Bonni & Twinkie (who is willing to share dog cookies)

Bonni Bakes
in the Village of the Arts
932 12th Street West
Bradenton, FL  34204

(941) 746-6647

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