Ready to Bake
I am a picky eater, everyone knows it including me. Not only that, I’m inconsistent. Many things I will only eat certain ways – mostly cooked. I don’t like unmelted butter, don’t eat too many raw vegetables, especially raw onions and never, never eat meat unless it is completely brown. (We have a running discussion at my house over what is crispy vs. burnt). I do however love melted butter and cooked onions, especially if they are really browned. I can’t explain it and have given up trying – that’s just me. These onions are simple, wonderfully soft with lots of flavor and are a great side dish – even good enough to eat alone.
Large Sweet Onion
1/2 stick butter sliced very thinly
1 teaspoon Better than Bullion or 1 bullion cube
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Large Sweet Onion
Peel the onion, core out a small hole in the middle and cut an X almost through the onion but not quite.
Cut the onion
Gently separate the onion and place a pat of butter in the center of the onion and between the “petals”.
Onions and Butter
Place a dab of the Better than Bullion throughout the petals or place the Bullion cube in the center.
Onion with Butter and Bullion
Sprinkle the garlic throughout the petals.
Onion with butter, bullion and garlic
Sprinkle with pepper and wrap in foil. Grill or bake in a 400 degree oven until very soft, about 30-45 minutes. These could have actually baked and browned a little longer for my taste, but the natives were hungry so they were done enough!
Pasta made into Ravioli
I’ve watched the little Italian ladies on TV make fresh pasta on a board by just putting down the flour, making a well for the egg, adding a little water and maybe some olive oil and gracefully mixing it up into a beautiful dough. Unfortunately my first few attempts were not nearly so successful. I ended up with either the flour dam breaking and egg all over the floor, a struggle to get the dough to form and then the pasta was either too wet or too dry and stubbornly refused to make anything resembling a proper shape either by hand or with the pasta machine. When I finally got something I could roll, apparently I didn’t do it enough and it was so thick it was like eating a wet sock. I readily admit that I love fresh pasta but I also admit that for the few cents it costs, I was willing to just buy it. Finally though, I have discovered this method that makes a great, easy to work with dough with very little effort. It works with just a rolling-pin, or a pasta machine and cooks up wonderfully. Of course, the use of the food processor is probably cheating, but that along with using the semolina flour makes all the difference in the texture.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 cup fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme or whatever combination you prefer, this time I used lemon basil)
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons water (approx. add just enough to make the dough form a ball)
Add herbs to the food processor
Pulse several times until the herbs are finely chopped
Add the flour, salt and eggs
Pulse until well mixed
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, it shouldn't take long to become smooth and elastic since the food processor has done most of the work
Kneaded and ready to rest
Wrapped in plastic to rest - at least 10 minutes 30 is better
After the pasta has rested, you can roll it out with a rolling-pin or run it through a pasta machine and make whatever shapes you want.
Quinoa with Fresh Asparagus and Tomatoes
In my not so successful quest to be more healthy (since the very next day I made mac & cheese with bacon), I decided to try making Quinoa since I’ve read about its benefits so much lately. Here is a great article. While treated like a grain, it is actually a seed from the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant related to beets, spinach, Swiss chard, and lamb’s quarters and is gluten-free for those who want or need to avoid that. It is cooked similarly to rice (and even better because it doesn’t stick to the pan) and can be used to replace grains or pasta in many recipes. It is high in complete protein, calcium and iron and has all 8 essential amino acids. Although I used chicken broth, and parmesan cheese you could easily use water or vegetable broth and leave out the cheese if you prefer vegetarian or vegan.
It was good, and I will definitely make it again. I thought it was interesting, especially the little “tails” that when cooked have a little crunch (you can see them in the picture). It kind of reminded me of the way corn pops, but the little parts are not nearly as hard as a popped corn shell, barely crunchy. It is basically pretty bland alone, so you need to add lots of flavor. This is really quick to make, less than 1/2 hour and you can serve it hot or cold as a salad.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
2 cups quinoa
3 cups chicken broth, water or vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 lb grape tomatoes
1 lb asparagus spears cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic minced (I like a lot so you can cut that down if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons fresh basil (or 1 T dried)
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1 T dried)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
First rinse the quinoa well using a very fine strainer or cheesecloth. Although some brands are pre-rinsed, this is important not to skip as otherwise you could end up with a bitter taste.
Add the quinoa and broth to a large saucepan over medium heat up to a simmer, then lower the heat and maintain the simmer for about 15 minutes.
Asparagus and Grape Tomatoes
In a large skillet, add the olive oil and sauté over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, just until the asparagus is cooked but still crisp and most of the tomatoes are still intact. If the tomatoes start to break apart it is done. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. When the quinoa is cooked, add it to the vegetables, along with the basil and oregano and the shredded parmesan.