Tag Archives: Onion

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Are you swimming in vegetables yet?  If you belong to a CSA and/or make a hobby out of frequenting your local farmer’s market, I imagine you are feeling a little like we are.  Sometimes I fear that I won’t be able to use all my vegetables fast enough before the next batch arrives.  It certainly doesn’t help that I approach buying vegetables like I do buying shoes.  I know that I have a bunch of stuff at home that I should eat but I just can’t resist a ripe melon or a basket of technicolor cherry tomatoes.

Zucchini and Eggplant

Zucchini and Eggplant

That is where Ratatouille comes in.  This recipe is one of the best ways to use up all those veggies you have in the fridge (psst, you can even use the ones that are slightly past their peak of freshness).  The vegetables are cooked with olive oil, aromatic herbs, and a splash of vinegar and somehow, this transforms a dish that is mostly zucchini and eggplant into something that is silky, rich, and deeply satisfying.

Onions and Peppers

Onions and Peppers

If you have lots of veggies, you can easily double this recipe (which is what I did) and make enough to feed an army.  It keeps well in the fridge and reheats nicely for leftover.

Tomatoes and Herbs

Tomatoes and Herbs

Ratatouille

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

1 lb zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes

1 large onion, sliced

1 small bell pepper, cut into 1″ squares (we threw some left over hot pepper in there too… feel free to do the same if you like a little heat)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 4-inch sprig of rosemary

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup basil

2 tbls red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

Using a large skillet that has a cover, saute the eggplant and zucchini over high heat in 1/4 cup olive oil until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the eggplant and zucchini and set aside.  Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the two tablespoons of olive oil and the onions. Cook until the onions are slightly softened.  Add in the bell pepper and garlic and continue to cook until just tender, another 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in the tomatoes, the garlic, rosemary, and bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and let it ride for 5 minutes.  Add back in the previously cooked eggplant and zucchini.  This time, let it all cook over low heat until it’s really tender, about 20 minutes.  To finish, stir in the fresh basil and red wine vinegar.

To Serve:

Ratatouille makes a delicious main dish, a side dish, or light lunch.  It can be served warm or room temperature.  Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Sauteed Spinach with Dill and Onions

I went to Verrill Farm the other day and had a tough time containing myself at the sight of all the locally grown veggies.  Spinach! Peas! Asparagus!  It is funny to think how far I have come.  Looking back, I can’t ever remember feeling anything more than “meh” about a vegetable.  Other than tomatoes, I never really cared much for vegetables.  I could never understand why anyone would choose a vegetable dish when there were meat dishes available.  Marc never seemed to care all that much about eating veggies either.

The players

Fast forward to Summer, 2008 and our first CSA.  As we got a new delivery each week, I started to get it.  When I had my first eggplant that summer, it was a revelation.  I alway thought I disliked eggplants.  It turns out, I disliked the old, bitter ones that are typically sold in the grocery store.  Eating small, ripe eggplants that were just picked made me think about vegetables in a whole new way.  These days, we work hard to eat as seasonally as possible.  That means going without certain veggies (corn, tomatoes, chard, *sniffle*) for much of the year.  However, it also means that when those veggies come back into season, it is like a new world of eating is opened up.

Imagine the heavenly smell of garlic and onions

This spinach dish is one of those revelations.  It is simple to prepare and not much to look at.  But boy, do the flavors hit you in a completely unexpected way.  The idea of putting spinach and dill together was a little strange to me, but don’t let it stop you because it is a dynamite combination.  Fresh dill is a must for this recipe… the dried stuff won’t work.

Almost ready!

Sautéed Spinach with Dill and Onion

Recipe from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffery

Ingredients:

10 oz fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

For the yogurt sauce:

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 garlic clove, mashed to pulp

a dash of paprika

a dash of salt

To Make:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the spinach to the pot and bring to a boil again.  Allow to boil vigorously for two to three minutes.  Drain the spinach into a colander.  This part can be done ahead of time and the spinach allowed to cool.  If cooking right away, run water over the spinach to cool it down.  When you are ready to cook, squeeze out all the moisture by pressing small amounts of spinach in your hands.  Make sure you get as much water out as you can.  Finely chop the drained spinach.

Put the oil and butter in a medium frying pan and set over medium heat.  When the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about six minutes.  Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown.  Add the spinach, dill, water, and salt and stir until combined.  Simmer gently, uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, garlic, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.

To Serve:

Serve spinach hot with a dollop of yogurt sauce in top.  Sprinkle with extra paprika to garnish.  Serves 2 as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

 

Breakfast pizza recipes can be found all over the internet.  They have a sort of siren song.  There is something about taking one of our favorite foods, pizza, and making it a breakfast food that feels fun and just a little rebellious.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are completely delicious.  Cheese, bacon or sausage, and a chewy crust, all topped with an egg that is baked until it is just set… sounds like breakfast nirvana to me. 

Mmm, butter

 

You can imagine how intrigued we were when we came across a breakfast pizza recipe with a bit of a twist.  Instead of using a traditional pizza dough as the base, this recipe called for a biscuit dough to serve as the crust.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical.  I was afraid that the biscuit would be too heavy or that the top of the pizza would be cooked before the biscuit crust was properly browned and crisp. 

Waiting crusts

 

Thankfully, Marc was not afraid and convinced me to try it.  Not only were my fears about the biscuit crust unfounded, it was actually one of the most delicious breakfast pizzas I have ever had.  The crust was superb.  Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.  The flavor of the biscuit complemented the cheese, sausage, and of course, the egg.  I encourage you to put aside your skepticism and make these pizzas for breakfast this weekend.  You will be very glad you did. 

Who's hungry?

 

Breakfast Pizza 

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook 

Ingredients: 

For the crust 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

1 stick (8 tbls) cold butter, cut into small pieces 

1/2 cup plus 2 tbls milk 

For the toppings 

1 tbls butter 

1 medium onion, sliced into half moons 

1/2 pound bulk sausage, bacon, or ham 

1 to 1 1/2 cups finely grated cheese (a blend of cheddar and monterey or colby jack works nicely but feel free to use whatever you have on hand) 

4 large eggs 

To Make: 

Put your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees.  Butter two baking sheets. 

Cook your sausage or bacon until cooked through.  If using bacon, coarsely chop into small pieces.  Set aside. 

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Blend in the butter with your fingers or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the milk and stir just until the mixture forms a dough.  Gather the dough into a ball and gently knead it six times on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Pat each portion into a round that is between 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Using your fingers, create a rim around the edge of each crust.  

Top each crust with onion, meat, and cheese.  Make a little well in the cheese and carefully crack an egg into the middle of each pizza. 

Bake pizzas, switching positions of the sheets half way through, until the yolks are almost set, about 12-15 minutes.  If you want firmer yolks, feel free to add another minute or two to the cooking time. 

To Serve: 

Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Your family will thank you.  Serves 4.

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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Meat, Recipes

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe

 

Sloppy Joes… the name brings back memories of cans of Manwich served on fluffy while hamburger buns.  It is comfort food at its finest.  We have been looking for a good sloppy joe recipe for a while now.  Having jumped off the processed food train a while back, Manwich was no longer on the table for us.  So in the name of research, we have made multiple batches of the slop, tweaking recipes this way and that.  Unfortuntately, none of them have measured up to what we were looking for.  Namely, beef that is flavorful, not to dry but not too saucy, and most importantly, more interesting than hamburger flavored ketchup. 

(starting in top left, going clockwise) The Ingredients, The Blender, The Veggies, and Sloppy Joe himself

 

This recipe has everything we have been looking for.  The sauce is complex, tomato-y with depth from Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and molasses, and rich with onions, garlic, and pepper.  Hot sauce adds a little spice, feel free to add more if you like it hot, or take it out entirely if you want a mild Joe.  So the next time you get a hankering for a reminder of childhood, ditch the can and try these Sloppy Joes instead. 

Sloppy Joes 

Recipe followed almost exactly from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

 1 1/2 tbls olive oil 

1 medium onion, chopped 

1 celery rib, chopped 

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 lb ground beef 

1 – 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes 

1/4 cup ketchup 

1 tbls molasses 

1 tbls cider vinegar 

1 tbls Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp hot sauce 

To Make: 

Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, red bell pepper, and garlic.  Stir occasionally and cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Add in the ground beef, breaking up the large lumps with a wooden spoon and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, combine the can of tomatoes (with juice), ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a blender.  Puree until smooth. 

Add the tomato mixture to the ground beef mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, leave it uncovered and let to cook until the thickened, about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

To Serve: 

You can serve these on a bun, ala traditional Sloppy Joes.  Or, you can divert from tradition and serve the meat over hot buttermilk biscuits.  Serves 4.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Do you live in the Northeastern US?  Are you tired of the rain?  Tired of being wet and cold?  There is still enough time to make one last hot soup before the onset of spring.  Lately, we all needed something that would warm us up a bit more.  This soup does just that.  It combines the classic flavors of roasted garlic, roasted potatoes, and cheese in a comfy and tasty soup. 

The Garlic, Onions and Potatoes - Before

 The idea behind the soup was to cross several classic potatoes sides, namely, French Fries, garlic mashed potatoes and a baked potato and serve it up in a soup form.  The essence of the French Fries come from oven roasting the potatoes.  The roasted garlic brings in flavors reminiscent of garlic mashed potatoes.  The baked potato served as our muse for the final garnish toppings.  Feel free to add some bacon here.  It would be delicious.   We, unfortunately, were out.

The Garlic, Onions, and Potatoes - After

 Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

 Ingredients:

 2 heads of garlic

 2 lbs baking potatoes

 2 medium onions

 3 tbls olive oil

 1 tbls dijon mustard

1 tbls dried oregano

1 tbls water

2 tbls butter

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk or half-and-half

2-3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped for garnish

4 oz colby jack cheese, shredded

2 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)

salt and peppper to taste

To Make:

First, roast the garlic.  Remove  the cloves from two heads of garlic, but leave the paper-like-peel on the cloves.  Scatter the unpeeled cloves on a baking sheet with a rim.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt.  Place in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes.  The cloves are ready when they are tender to the touch.  When cool enough to handle, take off the peels and set the garlic cloves aside.

 Meanwhile, roast the potatoes.  Scrub the potatoes well under running water.  Cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes.  Toss the cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the cubes on a baking sheet.  Roast in a 425 oven for 45 minutes, flipping them all between 20 and 25 minutes.

 While the potatoes are roasting, caramelize the onions.  In a 10″ skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Peel and cut the onions in half.  Cut slices from each half.  Add the onions to the melted butter, season with salt and pepper.  Cook low and slow for at least one hour (I let these go almost 3 hours).  If the onions look like they are drying out too much, turn down the heat and add some liquid (a tablespoon or two) to plump up the onions a little bit.  Liquids such as a dry white wine, dry sherry, or dry vermouth bring a nice flavor to onions.  If you’re opposed to alcohol, use some chicken stock or water.

 To Make Soup

 In a stock pot, bring the stock to a simmer, add in the roasted garlic, the caramelized onions and most of the roasted potatoes (reserve about 1 cup of the roasted potatoes).  Return the soup to a simmer and let the ingredients warm through, about 10-20 minutes.  Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.  If you don’t have a stick blender, working in the small batches, add to a blender and blend until smooth.  Return the soup to low heat and add the half-and-half, stir and heat through. 

 To Serve:

Ladle the soup into soup bowls.  Garnish each bowl with some of the reserved roasted potatoes, the chopped green onion, and shredded cheese.  

 This soup may seem like a lot of work, but much of it can be made in advance.  The garlic and potatoes can be roasted and the onions can be caramelized and set aside in the fridge.  Simply add them to the stock and heat through.  Serves 4 as a hearty first course.

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Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Soup, Vegetarian

Potato and Onion Quiche

Potato and Onion Quiche

Alex, I’ll take “Stereotypical Myths – Fact or Fiction” for $200.

A:  Real men don’t eat quiche

Q:  What is fiction?

Roasted potatoes and onions

Of course it’s fiction.  Real man absolutely eat quiche.  As a kid, I never liked eggs.  However, put a piece of my mother’s bacon, onion, and tomato quiche in front of me and I’d be stuffing it in as quick as possible so I could get to the last piece before my father could.  Today, I serve quiche to my three old and bill it as “egg pie”.  Thing One hears “pie” and will devour it, regardless of the ingredients involved.

Ready to bake

One of the best thing about quiche is that you can unleash your creativity and the sky is the limit for what you can include.  The most important rule to keep in mind is that less is more.  Pick two or three good quality ingredients and let the taste shine through.  My wife and I have made a lot of quiches in our lives but this one is one of the most delectable we have tried.  The usage of creme fraiche and sour cream instead of cream or milk adds a wonderful tangy richness to the quiche while still keeping the egg light and tender.  This base works well for any combination of ingredients.  For this recipe, we were inspired by the Spanish tortilla (a potato and egg dish traditionally served as tapas) and put roasted potatoes and onions in the quiche base.  Because of the richness of the quiche, you don’t really even need to add cheese, though it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Freshly baked

Potato and Onion Quiche

Ingredients:

Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup lard

12 tbls butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)

ice cold water

Quiche Filling

1 small potato

2 medium onions

3 eggs

8 oz (weight) creme fraiche

6 oz (weight) sour cream

2 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded

To Make:

Crust

This recipe makes a top and bottom pie crust.  The quiche only uses half the dough so feel free to freeze half for a later date, or cut the ingredients in half and make one crust.

Whisk flour and sugar together in a bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces.  Add the butter and lard to the flour sugar mixture.  Using a pastry blender, cut the lard and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs.  Slowly, drizzle in the ice water a few tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together into a large ball.  If you are making a full recipe, cut the dough in half.  Form each half into a thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Quiche

Combine the potato and onions with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.  Roast in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes, stirring them around every so often.  Set aside.  The crust and vegetables can be done up to a day ahead.  If making ahead, refrigerate the potatoes and onions.  Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before adding to the quiche.

When you are ready to bake the quiche, roll out your pastry dough in a round large enough to fill a deep dish 9″ pie plate.  Place the dough in the pie plate and scatter the onions and potatoes over the crust.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the sour cream and creme fresh.

Roll out your pastry dough to fill a 9″ pie plate.  Place the dough in the pie plate.  Add in the roasted potatoes and onions.  Add the shredded cheese.  Added the egg, creme fresh, and sour cream mixture.  Bake 40 minutes at 350F, until the center is barely set.

To Serve:

Serve immediately (hot) or later (room temp) or the next day (cold from the fridge).  This makes a great brunch, lunch, or dinner option.  Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Recipes, Vegetarian

Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto

I have a confession, I am addicted to making risotto in my pressure cooker.  Since discovering the wonder of making perfect risotto in minutes using this amazing device, I make it all the time.  Lunch on a Saturday, let’s have risotto.  Dinner on Tuesday, sure risotto would be a tasty side. 

Fresh spinach

Now I realize this is the third risotto recipe I have posted (if you are hungry, check out apple cheddar risotto and mushroom risotto) but it is too delicious to keep to myself.  This recipe uses fresh mushrooms cooked down until they are brown and meaty and fresh spinach to add lovely color and flavor.  Chicken stock spiked with vermouth adds unusual flavor notes to the rice.  Finally, stirring in some shredded swiss cheese adds a nice bite to the creamy dish.

Browned mushrooms

If you wanted, you could adapt this recipe for stove top cooking.  Just heat the liquid and add it, a ladle at a time, to the rice and stir constantly until it is absorbed.  Repeat until the rice is creamy.

Toasting the rice

Spinach Risotto

Ingredients:

2 tbls butter, divided

5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbls olive oil

8 oz fresh spinach, washed and tough stems trimmed off

1 cup aborio rice

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry vermouth

3 oz swiss cheese

To Make:

In a medium skillet heat 1 tbls olive oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the well drained spinach and sautee until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Remove the spinach to a colander and let drain while the risotto is cooking.

In your pressure cooker (or whatever pot you will be using to make the risotto), melt 1 tbls butter over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until browned and the mushrooms have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.  Cook the rice, stirring until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and vermouth, put the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to pressure.  Cook for 8 minutes.  Release the pressure and stir in cheese, spinach, and remaining tbls butter until smooth and creamy.

To Serve:

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish.

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Filed under Dinner, Mushrooms, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetables