Sweet and creamy herbed baked onions

words by Gina Weathersby
photography and styling by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

Have I ever mentioned that my ‘other’ profession is that of a stylist? Not a food stylist (although i do style the food I cook up for my blog posts) but one of a make up stylist, make up artist or mua. It’s my job to make sure all ‘on camera talent’ look and feel their best. Sometimes it’s fashion based, sometimes it’s just dusting and straightening, sometimes it’s wildly artistic. Always fun and always different. One recent job was for one of our regional restaurants, Frisch’s Big Boy, and their new campaign of sourcing fresh, natural ingredients for their menu. Our first day of shooting was on a farm an hour outside of the city…before daybreak. As the first hints of the sun were starting, members of the crew, as did I, stood and looked out at the horizon waiting for the first glimpse of the sun. It finally came. clear, bright and beautiful. an amazing way to start our day.

One wonderful aspect of what I do are the people i am lucky enough to meet and spend some time with. On this job, it was Frisch’s Director of Culinary, Greg Crisanti. A gentle, generous, and passionate man of food and family. We had time to chat about both and I look forward to meeting up again soon and continuing those conversations.

Our shot list was a fun one; Greg in the fields with cows behind him, Greg in the perfectly dusty barn with bags of grains, and Greg in the vegetable patch with fresh plump tomatoes and fresh, just out of the ground, sweet onions. I admit, as soon as I saw the freshly plucked onions (and the shot was done) I quickly ‘borrowed’ one and went off to shoot a few iphone frames. Happiness.  As I returned the onion to the farmer’s wife, she quickly offered it back to me along with a couple more freshly picked ‘props’ from the set. Overjoyed.

The shoot went smooth; smooth enough for me to be slightly preoccupied with thoughts of how to prepare these jewels. Once home, I turned to my new cookbook chef obsession, Nigel Slater. He did not disappoint. Simple, roasted whole onions. 5 hours out of the earth, olive oil, thyme, kosher salt, flower pepper, a 400 degree oven, finished off with a touch of sauteed mushrooms and creme…sweet, creamy layer after layer. Perfection. I hope you make it to your favorite farmer’s market, pick out some big, plump, beautiful onions, bring them home and make this treat for your family, or just for yourself.

 

sweet and creamy herbed baked onions
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Recipe type: vegetable
Author: adapted from nigel slater
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 4
sweet layers of tender baked onions atop mushrooms and creme
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. your choice of mushrooms (I used pre-sliced baby Portabellas)
  • 4 medium to large onions, kept whole
  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 ½ T butter
  • 1 ½ T plus 3 T olive oil
  • 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme plus some for serving
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • kosher salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. wash and place the onions (skin left on) in a deep pot of gently boiling water. (the water should cover the onions) Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until tender and the layers come apart if pulled. They will be soft in the middle.
  3. when the onions are soft, drain them and place them in a shallow baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  4. gently open each onion and drizzle with 3 T of olive oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper. add half the sprigs of thyme over all the onions.
  5. bake for about 20-30 minutes or until onions start to caramelize and get nice and brown in color.
  6. while the onions are in the baking, wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and set aside.
  7. place a large sauté pan on med/high heat and add butter and 1 ½ T olive oil. heat till frothy.
  8. add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  9. add the mushrooms and the rest of the thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook on med/low heat, for about 15 minutes.
  10. add the cream and just warm through. let sit in the pan and keep warm.
  11. to serve, ladle some of the mushroom mixture into a bowl, carefully add an onion, add a touch more mushroom mixture over the onion, add a bit more fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

Rose ~ The perfect summer wine {guest blogger}

written by Amy Neyer
photography and styling by Gina Weathersby

Sweet {peas} & Sweet memories

story by Gina Weathersby
photography ©Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

As it frequently happens, I spy a single ingredient at the market and am completely inspired. Fresh english peas ~ still in their pods. I scooped up handful after handful until I thought I had enough for a few dishes of whatever I would come up with, or a recipe I would find. As Gabriella and I sat down to start shelling the peas, a flood of memories came upon me. Just as a certain fragrance can transport you somewhere immediately, so did this simple act. Memories of my yiayia were vivid in my mind. Memories of us, and of her and my mom, sitting at the table in our kitchen or at the table in the garden, opening the pods and letting the contents fall onto her apron right on her lap. No need for a fancy bowl, her apron held them all safely. I, however, was given an ordinary bowl. We shelled, we talked, and we tasted. I also remember photos of her from Greece sitting with her friends doing the same thing, only they were all perched upon little wooden chairs around the stoops of someone’s blue front door in the twisty, cobblestone streets of their little village. I can still see her old but nimble hands and her smiles. I can hear our chatter, the gossip, and her stories. I love those memories. I loved those hands and i loved her thick as coke bottle glasses that made her eyes seem as big as an owls. Neither my yiayia or my mom kept written recipes. These things were passed down naturally by showing, by doing, and by tasting. Even so, I thought it wise to write them down as I didn’t trust my memory (smart decision).  I have a little stained and splattered yellow notebook that holds all my favorite greek recipes from our family. It is my most cherished cookbook. I don’t have to look in it too often, as most of the recipes are etched in my memory (for now), but i feel safe that they are there all the same. My yiayia never made any of the recipes that I prepared below, but she shared with me that the biggest moments and memories are in the smallest of moments and from the simplest of activities…that are done together.

Recipes:

A salad of beans, peas, and pecorino and minted pea puree
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s book ‘Tender’

A salad of beans, peas, and pecorino
*Nigel’s recipe calls for fava beans as well,  I only had peas this day
the amounts below made 2 normal bowl sized salads

fresh shelled peas-i used a handful for each bowl-dropped in lightly salted boiling water for about 4-5 minutes (until tender), drained and set aside
ciabatta or your favorite baguette-four slices (one per salad and one per person to munch on), brushed with olive oil, broiled till brown and crispy, rubbed with garlic-two pieces are topped with pecorino and a drizzle of your salad dressing-two pieces are torn and added to the salad
salad greens-your choice, i used mache
fresh mint leaves-about 5-6 big leaves torn-half mixed into the greens
pecorino cheese-shaved
dressing-use your favorite home made dressing-mine was a mixture of shallots, herbs, olive oil, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, salt/pepper, a squeeze of honey and leftover bits of orange marmalade-a la ilene ross

Minted pee puree (for the bruschetta)
enough for 6 bruschetta

fresh shelled peas-about 2 cups
5 healthy sprigs of fresh mint plus extra leaves for garnish

olive oil-2-3 tablespoons
salt and pepper to taste
pecorino shavings
ciabatta or your favorite baguette-six slices
dressing-same recipe as above

boil the peas and the mint in lightly salted and peppered water until tender, about 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside
puree in a food processor with the oil until desired smoothness-i left mine a bit on the chunkier side
brushed the bread with olive oil and broil till brown and crispy, rub with garlic
layer bread with minted pea puree, pecorino shavings, a drizzle of dressing and a leaf of fresh mint

Minted pee puree and salmon patties
serves 2

the salmon patties were from whole foods-you can certainly make your own
using the recipes above-layer the minted pea puree, salmon patties, garnish with mache, peas, pecorino, tears of small mint leaves and drizzled with the dressing
for the puree on the salmon cake, add a bit of creme to the puree

Finishing flourishes {and so grateful too}

Written by Gina Weathersby
Photography by Gina Weathersby

Did you notice anything different about the logo in the Summer Issue, or for that fact, did you notice the hand drawn illustrations gracing some of the pages?
I have the unbelievable good fortune to know some of the most amazing graphic designers/artists in town. Lisa Ballard is one of them and is one the most talented graphic illustrators anywhere. You may recognize her name and you will certainly recognize her work locally. She is responsible for all the gorgeous, whimsical, colorful, playful designs for Peggy Shannon’s Queen City Cookies website, packaging and marketing materials. For 513{eats}, not only did she have some time to contribute her talents to this past issue, but to give our logo (which I designed, well, tried to design) the added flourish that it so begged for. I am a girly girl, I love swirls, curls, fancy fonts, scallops, flourishes, etc. However, I could not find that something to add to the logo that satisfied that feel without it looking too girly. Enter Lisa. She knew immediately and not only suggested the more decorative brackets, but designed and sent them right over for me to use. It was the absolute perfect addition. It did not stop there. We went through the magazine page by page and she gave me her design opinions and suggestions, one of them being hand drawn illustrations to accompany some of the stories. Ooooh, I was so loving her suggestions, but had no idea how to ‘do’ this. Not to worry, she created those as well and sent them over. How wonderful is that!
Ihave been so fortunate during these past 6 months of laying out and designing this magazine (of which I am not a graphic designer nor a publisher) to be able to pick up the phone and call a handful of artists/graphic designers who have been so willing to help me, a photographer, learn a big, bad new program, learn some basic rules of font selections and pairings (i’m still breaking them), layouts and basically help me navigate through new waters.  Alan Brown of Photonics Graphics ~ my technology savior/indesign guru and dear friend, who I was able to call at any time for help, who always answered his phone and has more patience than God. Rachael Ward an amazing artist (and a new bride) who has years of experience in graphic design and book design, also openly offered up design suggestions and helped my learning curve not be so painful, as did Steve Zeigelmeyer, photographer, art director, producer, indesign powerhouse. Early on, artist and designer, Margo Madison of Margo Madison Creative, introduced me to the world of glyphs ~ life has never been the same ~ endless flourishes, I was in heaven! To these artist, friends and colleagues, I am so thankful.
In this last issue, I likened  this journey to ‘going down a rabbit hole.’ What an unbelievable adventure so far. None of it could have been possible without the combined talents of so many people. I want to say thank you to all of you and that I am truly humbled.

A celebratory clafouti

written by Gina Weathersby
photography and styling by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

After two plus months of prepping, propping, styling, shooting, editing….you would think that once the Summer Issue was finally launched, the very last thing on my mind would be to photograph anything ~ let alone…more food.
Funny how it’s never the way you think it will be. I came upon this pretty little recipe and decided what a perfect way to celebrate a break and serve up my own family a little sweetness. Once i started, it was just too tempting to not make an image here and there. I didn’t shoot many, just enough to satisfy that visual itch.
As for the recipe, I have (already) completely forgotten where I came upon it. Anyone who knows me well is not surprised by this in the least. I’ll have to leave you to your own devices to come upon your own.


I do remember that the custard included soaking almonds in the milk to add that distinctive nutty undertone.

Just found a clafouti recipe to match. It comes from the British grocery chain Waitrose; I found it on their site, and modified it a bit for American baking. Enjoy! Try a clafouti with all types of seasonal fruits as well, and let us know how yours turns out! {Ilene}

Ingredients

4 eggs
150g/5 oz. golden caster sugar (or light brown sugar)
1 tbsp plain flour, sifted
2 tbsp ground almonds
142ml/5 oz. Double Cream (heavy whipping cream)
200g/7 oz. pack fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F, Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes or until the mixture is pale and thick enough to leave a trail. Lightly whisk in the flour and almonds.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold it into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into 4 x 250ml shallow ovenproof dishes, or one large dish 1.5 liter dish, and gently scatter over the raspberries – they will mostly sink beneath the surface, but this is fine.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or 25-30 minutes if using one large dish, until set and golden – make sure the centers are firm. Serve warm with scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream.

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