Sweet Onion Salvaging

Vidalias preferred, generally sweet onions are available basically all year. In fact, since childhood, my family has picked sweet onions but the bunches over yellow and purple. I don’t think they have a beef with the other colored roots. I think sweet onions offer a dynamic to any savory dish: a sugared yin to the salty yang.

With a couple of bulbs staring me down in my kitchen, I thought it time to put the veg to use. Most often, onions in our home our used in spaghetti sauces or sometimes as a taco topping for my Meatless Monday Guacamole Tacos (No recipe? I should look into this.). But instead of a fine dice and a fragrant aroma, I’ve decided to opt for something totally new. You see, other than these onion, layers of puff pastry await their call of duty.

And now the call has come; for sweet onion tarte tatin.

Bear with me, it’s my first time with this French pastry, but in my limited cooking experience, it’s all about the inside. Cutting and baking the pre-made puff shouldn’t prove a problem.

(From here, I shall be blindly reporting my experience!)

With insides in mind, I will chuck a few small cubes of butter in my (oven-proof) pan. People sometimes ask if it will make a difference using oil or butter, and while the goal of softening is the same I think butter is a far better caramelizing agent.

As the globs melt down, the onion gets controversial. From here, it depends on how one feels about them. I LOVE them, so rough, edible chunks I think are most appropriate.

Tossing them into the frying pan with a little time to mingle, a tablespoon or two of brown sugar creates a sticky and syrupy base for the tart. To cut through the sugar, white wine vinegar goes in too (red wine or Balsamic vinegar, my guess, would be equally fine, but I used it all for my balsamic reduction the other night…whoops…).

I’m removing from heat and cutting out my pastry to fit the width of the pan (should’ve measured BEFORE frying…little tip!). Crack an egg, wash the top, and pop in the oven at around 400 degrees (F) for a good 20 minutes, perhaps slightly less. In between, I will be praying for golden, crispy pastry.

.      .       .

The result? Well, as the 0nion chunks swam in a pond of syrup and then crystallized on the pastry, it actually all came out in a fairly graceful plop onto the plate! Admittedly, I think the pearl onions or shallots would have made more sense now, as still the rough onion chunks did stick to some degree, and thus a complete unfolding did not occur. No matter! Taste-wise, crispy, buttery pastry and sugary onions pair so well, making a savory dish borderline sweet! I sprinkled my with a little time just to take it home!

I would suggest a more structured recipe, much like the ones SORTEDfood offers (check out their website, https://sortedfood.com/). I really do believe that once you get the method down, you can totally make it your own!

Now, I used sweet onions around the house to creative something finer, but we want to know what other simple ingredients you can transform completely! Comment below, share your photos, and tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

In the meantime, here are some similar recipe photos of other, similar, onion tarte tatins!

                    
(courtesy http://www.recipes100.com)             (courtesy http://www.goode-food.co.uk)                  (courtesy http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com)  

Sourdough Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

A tasty-looking homemade pizza courtesy of Food Recipes (follow the link for an alternate pizza crust recipe!)

A tasty-looking homemade pizza courtesy of Food Recipes (follow the link for an alternate pizza crust recipe!)

I know, I know: pizza gets a terrible rap in America. It’s a big ol’ disk of greasy cheese and possibly a meat-like substance that your parents got when they didn’t want to cook dinner that night. Or what your high school or college got in order to lure unsuspecting students to an event. You can get good pizza, but it involves going to a restaurant somewhere and spending a bit more than you probably want because it’s a pizza for crying out loud  (this is not to say that pizza from fancy restaurants is not delicious–we just have a stigma). And don’t even get me started on the whole “artisanal” pizza thing.  

But I have seen the light.  Today, I am here today as a pizza-missionary, seeking to cure our starved pizza-culture. Believe it or not, you can make good pizza at home. I am by no means a pizza-expert–nay, merely an amateur–but I have learned this: it all starts with the crust. 

Delicious Ramen From Scratch

misoRamen

Having successfully and single-handedly dispelled the myth that college students live off of ramen, I have a confession to make: I straight up love ramen. I haven’t had any store-bought noodles for a long while because they’re really not healthy, but they’re so warm and salty it’s hard to resist.

So, naturally, I have been looking for homemade ramen recipes to replace the prepackaged stuff while still getting my noodle fix. After months of searching and many failed attempts, I have finally found it. 

Dear Eggs-Benedict Cumberbatch

Although not yet an official member, I love dressing up every year for the Academy awards; whether it be black-tie, PJ’s, or casual Sunday. On seeing a few shots of the great Benedict Cumberbatch in the audience as a nominee, I stumbled upon this picture.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Travolta’s got the crazy eyes, no doubt. But for Cumberbatch…doesn’t he deserve some credit, some recognition for this great Brit thesp?

I suppose that I felt that I could relate, and mulling it over I came up with a recipe, albeit a screwy one, that best summarizes him: the Eggs-Benedict Cumberbatch, of my own creation. Through a step-by-step take, I’ll show you just how it’s done!

Dear pizza bagel lunch,

When pizza's on a bagel...

When pizza’s on a bagel… Photo/Alma Bahman

Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at supper time.

You make me want to sing the song all day long. I risk dating myself here, but nothing is more nostalgic than you, pizza bagels. You take me back, way back. I’m a kid again, and my most important job in life is running around as fast as I can, coming up with as many new games as I can, and of course, eating pizza bagels (better known as Bagel Bites).

Dear 10 recipes for beginner cooks,

More American than apple pie. Flickr/caitlinator

More American than apple pie. Flickr/caitlinator

The other half of being an everyday gourmand is cooking. If you’re like me, cooking isn’t your strongest skill. So I found it a bit frightening as I was getting started on my food adventure.

Many of the prolific home cooks I know spent years cooking with family or friends, picking up little tips and tricks to make each dish just a little more delicious, a little more special. Already, they have a leg up. Plus, I felt pressure to invest in the specialized tools to make the food look beautiful (cupcakes, looking at you!). I sometimes crack under the desire of beautiful presentation! Next thing you know, I’ve totally talked myself out of cooking something.

Dear Cuban Black Beans…

 

You are like an old friend that returns when I am out of money and brings me delicious Cuban flavor when I am drunk off of $10 bottle of tequila from Trader Joes. A deliciously simple staple to any diet (especially those whose wallets find themselves a bit thin) Cuban black beans bring amazing diversity to an otherwise played out palate of flavors.

Props to wvmtr.org for the pictures, all of mine would convince you this was a bad recipe. It’s not though. It’s so amazing you may renounce your god and worship Cuban black beans.

Its SO easy to cook up some cuban black beans in a pinch. Its cheap and is the chameleon of food. They go with literally everything. Eggs, potato, rice, tortillas, cheese….its the Bubba Gump of black beans.

Dear Food Logo

Dear new cooking adventure,

At a certain point in time, I decided it wasn’t worth dying of thirst at a baseball game because I didn’t want to spend $4 on a bottle of water. I decided eating ramen ahead of time so I could save the $6 I would have spent on hot dogs wasn’t a life I wanted to lead. While making food the source of official splurging meant tons of fun, delicious and happy adventures, it also meant an expanding waistline and thinning wallet.

I don’t regret a single meal, but it’s time to change. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have delectable food fun and be more conscious at the same time.

And here’s my problem: I just couldn’t savor life dictated by a gluten-free, paleo, vegetable-and-protein-ridden diet. While those diets are smart, scientific and perfect for a lot of people, I think my life is too short not to eat butter. And salt. And sugar. And french fries.

So I’m compromising.

I have a cook book called The New Persian Kitchen. And I’ve gone as far as drooling over the gorgeous pictures and smiling at the memories of family dinners that they evoke but I haven’t taken the big step of trying it out. Starting this week, I’m staying in. No more eating out. And instead, you’re invited to dinner at my house. It won’t always be perfect, but it’ll be fun.

Come over and try something new, while I learn more about my roots by finally cooking the food of my heritage (a sort of Julie and Julia exploration, if you will).

Love,
A

Table with breakfast food

Dear Leisurely Thursday Breakfast,

Table with breakfast foodYou were the result of skipping the gym this morning, and I have to say, I’m glad I chose you. It was the perfect opportunity to have breakfast on my new china I found at the flea market, enjoy French press coffee and read the newspaper. Reading the newspaper is such a luxury these days, and I relish every opportunity I have to sit and appreciate it. The stars of the meal were local, soft-scrambled buttery eggs, Rehoboth Ranch uncured smoked bacon, and Empire Baking Company sourdough toast (picked up from Patina Green Home and Market). If I had it my way, I’d enjoy mornings like this every day.

Love,

N