Saturday, March 31, 2012

Onions Continued

Skillet Onion Bread
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions -- halved, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 bay leaf
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp.  cream of tartar
1 tsp.  salt
2 tbsp.  caraway seeds
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Additional all purpose flour
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté until onions are deep golden, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Discard bay leaf. Puree onions in processor.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt into large bowl. Stir in caraway seeds. Make well in center of flour mixture. Whisk buttermilk and yogurt in small bowl. Add buttermilk mixture and pureed onions to flour mixture; stir until dough begins to come together. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently until dough is almost smooth, about 2 minutes.

Shape dough into 6-inch-diameter by 2 1/2-inch-high round. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Using sharp knife, cut deep cross in top center of dough round, cutting through to bottom of dough round without cutting through outer edges. Dust top of dough lightly with additional flour.

Bake bread until light brown and crusty on outside and loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 55 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.  Makes 1 loaf
Onion Toast

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons, softened, for brushing the bread
3 onions, sliced
3 to 4 anchovy halves, chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette of bread
1/3 cup pitted Nicoise olives
Extra-virgin olive oil
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, chopped anchovies, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are sweet and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, holding the knife parallel to the cutting board, shave off the rounded top and bottom of the baguette with a serrated knife so that it lies flat. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise to make 2 long slices of bread. Brush both sides of each with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. When the onions are cooked, put the bread slices on a baking sheet and spread with the onions. Garnish with olives and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until the bread is crispy, about 15 minutes. Shower with Parmigiano. Cut into pieces and serve hot.  Makes great appetizer.  

Onion and Garlic Bread
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, yellow skinned, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme or poultry seasoning
3 grinds black pepper
1 loaf crusty French bread, split lengthwise
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
Melt butter in a small pan over moderate heat. Add onions and garlic and season with sugar, thyme and pepper. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden in color and translucent.

Place the split bread on a baking sheet and broil until light golden. Spread half the onions and garlic on each half of bread in a thin layer. Sprinkle each side of loaf with half of the cheese and return to broiler for 30 seconds, or until cheese is bubbly.  Makes 4
Creamed Onions
1 1/2 to 2 pounds small white onions, peeled, or mixture of small white and purple onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Place onions in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and enough water to cover. Bring onions to a boil; cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid; set onions and cooking liquid aside. In the same saucepan, melt butter; blend in flour. Gradually add half-and-half or milk; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Stir in Cajun seasoning and paprika. Taste and add salt and pepper. Add some of the reserved liquid to thin the sauce, if too thick. Add onions to the sauce; heat through and serve.  Serves 4 to 6.

Onion Pie

3 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onions
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (9-inch) pre-baked deep-dish pie shell
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until lightly browned. Put the pie pan on a sheet pan. Line the bottom of pie crust with the onions. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and the flour together to combine. Add the milk, sour cream and salt. Mix well and pour over the onions. Garnish with the bacon and bake until firm in the center, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

 Onion Muffins

1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg, oil and milk; add self-rising flour, rolled oats, and the sugar. Stir batter just until mixture is blended. Gently fold in the onion, shredded cheese, and pecans; spoon the mixture into 36 small buttered and floured 1/8-cup muffin cups (gem, or miniature muffin tins). Bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400° oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Turn the muffins out onto racks and serve them warm or at room temperature.
Makes 36 miniature muffins.

Onion Jam

2 pounds sweet onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup dry red wine
Dash salt

Peel onions; cut in half lengthwise then slice thinly.
Melt butter in a large skillet or saucepan; add sliced onions and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until tender and translucent. Stir frequently.
Combine the remaining ingredients; add to the sliced onions and stir to blend. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until syrupy. The syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
Keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. Freeze in small amounts for later use.
You can  make a big batch of this jam and freeze it in small plastic containers.
Onion Pudding
This pudding can be made with any sweet onions.  Serve this with pork or beef, along with potatoes and a tossed salad.
3 cups chopped  sweet (can use Vidalia) onions, about 3 large onions
1/2 tsp. dried leaf thyme
1 tsp dried parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Dash crumbled rosemary
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp.  flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup plain soft bread crumbs, divided
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Dash ground nutmeg, optional
Fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Heat oven to 350° F. Beat egg whites in a cold medium  metal or glass bowl (Not plastic. Eggs do not get stiff if you use plastic.) until stiff peaks form; set aside. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl; set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the chopped onions, thyme, 1 teaspoon parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, and rosemary. Add about 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue boiling until onions are tender; drain well.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the drained onions and 1/2 cup of the soft bread crumbs. Quickly stir in the slightly beaten egg yolks; add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, if desired. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites until well incorporated. Turn into prepared casserole. Toss remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs with the melted butter and fresh chopped parsley, if using. Sprinkle over the onion mixture. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves 6.

Grilled Whole Onion

1 large whole sweet onion for each person
Large bowl of cold water
Hot pepper sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Put the unpeeled onions into the bowl of water and place a plate on top so they will stay submerged. Soak for 30 minutes. This will help prevent burning on the grill. Drain well and place the onions on a hot grill. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the onions, or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Turn and rotate onions several times while cooking. The onion will slip out of the outer charred skin easily. Serve with butter, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper.

Grilled Sweet Onions

4  sweet onions
4  tbsp. butter
4  slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown sugar

Peel onions, removing a thin slice from the top and bottom of each. Make 4 cuts down through onion without cutting through (about 3/4 of the way). You'll have 8 wedges with each bottom still intact. Carefully cut out centers of onion to about 1 inch. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in the center of each onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cross 2 half strips of bacon over each onion and top with a sprinkling of brown sugar. Wrap each onion in foil and grill, covered, over low coals or off to the side (indirect) over medium or hot coals. Very large onions will take about an hour, small to medium about 30 minutes.  Serves 4.

Onion Roll Up

Whipped cream cheese
8 slices deli ham
16 thin green onions

Spread cream cheese over deli ham.  Cut the deli ham in half.  Place one cleaned and cut green onion with white part on each ham slice and have remaining green portion outside of the ham.  Roll up tightly.   This is a variation of the sweet pickle appetizer I make.  I like to serve both at family get togethers.  They are always gone before the meal begins.  

My Story

As a child I hated onions and anything that had them in it.  I have learned to appreciate the flavor more as I have aged but I still hate raw onion.  I usually grate the onion on the smallest grate on a grater when a recipe calls for raw onion like potato salad or I use onion powder in my cooking.  With this in mind most of my family already knows the story of me, my brother Dion, and the onions, but I’ll put it in writing.  We used to get together every Christmas at a lodge and have a two day food feast staying over night and eating 3 huge meals as a family.  Dion usually took the biggest meal which was the Sunday noon meal and would fix his potatoes and onions and his pulled pork and onions.  I volunteered to assist him with the meal one year thinking that he took on more than anyone else financially.  He asked me to bring onions and I said I would do the potatoes that year.  I brought two onions because I don’t use a lot of onion in my cooking.  He wanted a huge bag of onions and was very upset with me.  He went to the store and bought a bag. That is the difference in men vs. women in cooking.  Sorry Dion. Lesson you can’t please everyone.  I don’t love onions but I like the flavor of them. 

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