Suzi's Blog

Spring and Summer Roasted Vegetables


This recipe evolved naturally at Cooking by the Book. Suzen holds hands-on cooking classes for corporations, and private parties, several times a week. With dozens of people enjoying our kitchen, she orders food by the crate. Towards the end of the week, the refrigerator begins to burst with leftovers. Some are used in stock making, but it’s a shame not to take more direct advantage of the wonderful flavors just sitting there, ready to be used.

So, one of our star chefs, David Domenion created this recipe. It’s robust, meaning you can mix and match vegetables, increasing the amounts, adding others, taking some away. This recipe, for example, does not talk about green beans or peas, but you are welcome to add them to the mix.

This recipe scales up with ease, so it’s a perfect side dish for a weekend bash where you need volume for that herd of people circling the tables and the barbecue.

Those guests will all appreciate the sharp, edgy tang to this recipe. You can keep it a secret or tell them the truth: the dressing is a cleverly balanced combination of roasted garlic, mustard, balsamic vinegar, agave, and citrus zest and juice. It may be hard to pick out the individual flavor components here. It is not hard at all to relish this dish and ask for seconds.

As I said, the recipe scales.

Spring and Summer Roasted Vegetables

Yield: 10 servings


  • 1 head garlic
  • About ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch, about 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 cups of diced vegetables, mixed: zucchini, cauliflower, squash, potatoes
  • 2 medium red onions cut into chunks
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange or 2 lemons, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced


Pre heat oven to 425° F.

Cut the top off the head of garlic. Place it on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle it with 1 teaspoon olive oil, wrap it up and put it in the pre-heating oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until soft.

Toss the asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and spread out on a sheet pan. Do the same with the vegetables and onions. Put them into the oven to roast. About 15 minutes for the asparagus or until they are crisp tender. About 30 to 40 minutes for the vegetables and onion or until they are lightly charred around the edges. Just keep monitoring progress and remove pieces as they reach the doneness you desire.

Put all the removed components into a large bowl as they come out of the oven. Keep the bowl covered with aluminum foil to retain heat. And, you may want to keep the bowl in an oven at low heat to maintain the temperature at the “warm to the mouth” level.

While all the vegetables are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the mustard, balsamic and salt to taste. Add the agave and orange or lemon zest and juice, if using. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and mash it or chop it finely and add it to the dressing. Whisk this together and drizzle in ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour half the vinaigrette over the vegetables, add the scallions and toss them. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more dressing if needed. Serve while still warm or at room temperature.

Source: Chef David Domenion at Cooking by the Book

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for1/25th second at ISO‑3200


Mothers’ Day Cocktail: Mexico 70


Mothers’ Day is tomorrow. When you bring her breakfast in bed, or serve her brunch, or offer that dinner you and the kids made, well, what is she going to drink? Something different. Something special. She deserves no less.

She deserves a Mexico 70.

I look forward each year to the publication of the Food & Wine Cocktail books. The 2012 edition has just been published and there, on the cover, are two sensational cocktails. That’s a classic Margarita on the left with agave leaves. And on the right, with the lime slice, is the Mexico 70. This year’s version, Cocktails 2012, includes the reinvention of over 40 classic cocktails. The Mexico 70 first appeared in 1970 when Mexico hosted the World Cup. Mexico did not win the cup, but drinkers everywhere can sample this wonder born that year.

The flavor here is deep and earthy. There is the natural heat and smoke of tequila, the powerful sweetness of agave, and the tingle of sparkling wine. That’s pleasure on many fronts, and surely Mom is entitled to that. [Dad, too!]

Mexico 70

Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 1 ounce blanco tequila
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • 3 ounces chilled dry sparkling wine
  • 1 lime wheel or lime twist, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice and agave nectar and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish the drink with the lime wheel or twist.

Source: Food and Wine Cocktails 2012