Posts Tagged ‘shallots’

Choosing the Right Onion

September 13, 2013

Isn’t it funny to see a post here about onions, written by someone who absolutely detests them? What’s next, a post about sprouts?( I think I would rather eat an onion than a sprout but I digress…) Onions are a necessity in cooking, and love ‘em or not, I use them frequently.  While many people think an onion is an onion, I beg to differ. There are fine nuances in different types of onions, and using the right one will greatly enhance your dishes.

Onions

Yellow onions are the most common. They are also the most versatile, and work well in soups and stews, roasted meats and poultry. Although these onions are astringent, they also have a high sugar content which is released during cooking. Brown them up and they get a sweet. caramelized quality that even I enjoy.

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Personally, I like to use shallots when appropriate. They are small and clove-like, and have a milder taste than some onions. They work well in sautes, vinaigrettes, and with lighter dishes such as eggs (think quiche for example) or vegetables. The flavor is more subtle, and their diminutive size prevents onion overload.

White onions are often used in Mexican cooking. They have a strong, sharp flavor and very little sweetness. Due to their high water content, they remain crisp in salsas and stir-fries.

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Sweet onions, such as Vidalia, have very thick layers making them chief contenders for great onion rings. Try them in French Onion Soup, or gratins. Bonus: the high sugar content and low sulphur content makes them more palatable and cuts down on the stinky after effects of onion eating.

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Last but not least, my nemesis, the red onion. Long touted as the ultimate garnish for a burger, these are best for eating raw. They are sharp and pack a punch, but are a little less strong than a white onion. I have been known to surgically remove each spec of them hiding in my food before consuming it. Since I have to say something nice, I will admit that these stinkers are awfully pretty when added to salads and sandwiches. Soaking them in ice water before serving takes a bit of the edge off, by reducing the sulphur content.

Next time a recipe calls for an onion, use these guidelines to choose the type of onion that best suits your dish and your palate.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week:What to do With Beet Greens

May 30, 2013

A stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket today yielded rainbow baby fingerling potatoes, some asparagus and a huge bundle of beets with the teeniest, tiniest little beets settled at the bottom of an enormous bunch of leaves.

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Determined to use them, I washed and dried the leaves to await their fate.

It seemed like they could be used as one would use kale; massaged in a salad or sautéed lightly in olive oil. That assumption was correct, and our roasted beets were the perfect accompaniment.

Roasted Beets on a Bed of Sautéed Beet Greens:

Remove the beets from the leaves, and cut off the ends. Scrub them well, as it not necessary to peel them before roasting. (Especially these little tiny ones!)

Sprinkle with olive oil, and roast covered in a 400-degree oven for about 40-60 minutes until they are tender, depending on how large the beets are.

Set aside.

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Wash and dry the beet greens, discarding the thick stems. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add a chopped shallot, and a diced clove of garlic and stir. Sauté the beet greens for a few minutes until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the greens on a plate. Top with the roasted beets and drizzle with a little aged balsamic vinegar.

We also sprinkled a few toasted walnut pieces and some goat cheese over the beets to make it a heartier dish.  Enjoy!

Photos: indigo jones

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Unrecipe of the Week: Socca Pizza

March 25, 2013
The finished product

The finished product

I have already posted our recipe for Socca, a chickpea flour flatbread that is gluten free, high in protein and delicious. Tonight, I was looking for something low in carbs, crispy and full of vegetables. After a little thinking, I decided to use the Socca as a pizza crust, and top it with a hearty blend of tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms. The result was a beautiful flatbread, brimming with flavor and surprisingly filling. As with any unrecipe, top it with whatever you are craving. Consider adding goat cheese, parmesan or a little shredded mozzarella. Toss on some finely sliced pepperoni or bacon if you are a meat lover. Use zucchini instead of artichokes, or even both. The possibilities are endless!

For the crust:

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Whisk together 1 cup of garbanzo flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or up to a few hours.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 12″ skillet with olive oil. Add a chopped shallot, and place in the hot oven until sizzling. You can also add the herbs of your choice at this stage.

Pour the batter over the shallots, and bake until the flatbread is crisp and brown, about 40 minutes. The flatbread will easily lift out of the pan when it is fully baked.

For the topping:

The topping

The topping

Saute 1 clove of garlic and about 6-8 sliced mushrooms until brown. Add a few chopped artichoke hearts ( canned or frozen) and lightly saute them. Season with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Add 2 chopped plum tomatoes (or some crushed canned tomatoes) and cook until the tomatoes start to soften. If the mixture gets too dry, drizzle in a little more olive oil.

When the crust is done, spread the the mixture over it, leaving a rim all around. Sprinkle with chopped arugula, and enjoy!

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cleaned Up Tacos

July 25, 2012

My family loves tacos. I don’t. I am not a meat eater, and Mexican spices have never been a favorite flavor of mine. The texture of refried beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole dripping down my chin don’t hold any appeal for me either.  I won’t talk about calories here, but seriously, this isn’t usually the diet plate.

I created this super clean, simple version of a taco, which is the way I would want to eat it, IF I wanted to eat it! You can even substitute the beef for mushrooms, and have a great vegetarian version.
They seem to love them, and this unrecipe even sneaks a few vegetables into B’s diet, which is a win all the way!

 

Cleaned Up Tacos:

 

Beef Filling:

Dice 2 garlic cloves and one small shallot.

Spray a large pan with cooking spray, and sauté the garlic and shallot with 1 pound of ground beef (I buy grass fed, organic beef with the lowest available fat content, which is a much healthier alternative to basic grocery store ground chuck).

Season it with a large dollop of ground cumin, some cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Add a little Tabasco sauce if you like it hot. Cook until brown.

Sprinkle the meat mixture with a little cornstarch (a tablespoon or so) and stir to coat. Add a little water (about 1/3 cup), and return it to the stove, mixing it well to be sure that no clumps form. This should form a thick sauce.

Toppings:
Shredded lettuce: Be creative: I used arugula

Chopped avocado

Chopped tomatoes: I used assorted baby heirloom tomatoes cut up

Shredded Jack cheese

If you really love the classic fillings, feel free to add all the goopy accouterments you like. I won’t judge!

 

Assembling:

Heat a whole-wheat tortilla on the gas flame of the stove for just a couple of seconds per side.

Add the meat filling. Top with vegetables and cheese. Fold in the sides, and roll it up.

Eat and enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week

June 29, 2012

I am always looking for new and interesting salads. This blend of frisee and endive is enhanced with fresh oranges,tossed in a honey shallot vinaigrette, and  finished with a dusting of crushed hazelnuts.

Endive and Frisee Salad with Oranges and Hazelnuts

For the salad:

Belgium Endive, sliced thin

Frisee leaves, torn into small pieces

Orange sections, cut in half

For Dressing:

Whisk together  1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 or 2 tablespoons of chopped shallots, 1 tablespoon of honey  and !/3 cup olive oil.

Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

For the topping:

Roast hazelnuts in a hot oven for about 7-10 minutes, until they are browned. Allow to cool slightly.

Rub the nuts between your hands to remove the skin. Chop in the food processor or place in a bag and roll over then with a rolling pin until well crushed.

To assemble:
Toss the lettuce with the dressing, and pile on individual plates. Place orange slices around the edge of the salad decoratively.

Sprinkle with toasted and chopped hazelnuts, and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week

May 14, 2012

My friend Amanda suggested that this recipe for Socca, a Middle Eastern flatbread, would be the perfect “unrecipe” for us. We just tried it, and we think she’s right!

This is adapted from Mark Bittman, who is the ultimate unrecipe chef.

Socca

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine 1 cup garbanzo flour*, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 ½ cups of water in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and cover with a towel until it is the consistency of a thick pancake batter. (This shouldn’t take much longer than it takes to heat the oven, but can be left standing for several hours.)

Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a 12” skillet.  Add 1 shallot, finely chopped and some fresh chopped rosemary, spreading it evenly in the pan.

Put it into the hot oven, until the oil smokes and the shallots start to sizzle (a few minutes). Add the batter and return the pan to the oven for about 40 minutes, until the batter has browned and the edges become crisp.

At this point, it should be easily  release from the pan. Cut it into wedges, and enjoy!

*Garbanzo flour, or chickpea flour, can be purchased at Whole Foods Market, or any health food store or Middle Eastern food market. It is gluten free.

Unrecipe of the Week

March 21, 2010

I love beets! They are delicious, and rich in vitamin C and potassium.

This colorful salad has strong flavors and rich textures that make it the perfect starter to any meal.

Roasted Beet Salad with Feta and Corn

For the dressing:

Mix together 1 finely chopped shallot, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of honey. Whisk in 1/3 cup of olive oil.

For the beets:

Peel and quarter about 6 beets. Toss the beets with just enough dressing to coat them. Reserve the rest for the salad. Sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and cover tightly with another piece of foil.

Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Uncover the beets, and continue roasting for another 25 minutes.

Mix together arugula, endive and radicchio in a salad bowl. Add crumbled feta cheese and about 1 cup of corn. Toss with the dressing and place the beets on top of the salad.
Enjoy!!!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

August 4, 2009

Nectarine PitFresh fruit is a perfect foil to simple grilled chicken. We love this unique combination of ripe nectarines, cilantro and avocado, to create a salsa that adds a sweet and tangy touch to a dinnertime staple.

Nectarine Salsa with Avocado and Cilantro:

Cut a nectarine into small pieces

Dice ½ an avocado into similar sized chunks

Mince one shallot and sauté in a little olive oil

Add a little orange juice (about ¼ cup) and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan and boil until slightly reduced and allow it to cool a bit before mixing it with the fruit

Toss in a handful of finely chopped cilantro and serve

Enjoy!

photo: Spencer Jones / Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

July 29, 2009

2117900178 HorizontalI love simple side dishes that pack lots of fresh seasonal flavors. This easy rice dish is enhanced with shallots, corn and the zing of fresh, aromatic mint.

Rice with Corn, Shallots and Mint:

Cook brown rice according to package instructions

Sauté corn kernels (OK, big confession: I use frozen corn here. It’s still healthy and way easier than cutting the kernels off the cob!!!) and a few shallots, sliced very thin in butter until the corn is cooked. This should only take a few minutes at medium heat.

Mix corn, shallots and rice together in a large serving bowl.

Mix in chopped mint leaves.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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