Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roasted Onions

The slightly sweet, caramelized flavor of roasted onion is delicious in lots of recipes...soups and stews, mixed vegetable dishes, casseroles, egg bakes, on pizza, etc. Here's how...

optional: herbs

I used red onion (relatively sweet and it adds nice color) and balsamic vinegar, but any kind of onion and vinegar can be substituted. While roasting, the acid in the vinegar cooks out, leaving just the sweet, tangy flavors.

Preheat oven to 400°. Halve the onion, root to stem. Do NOT remove the skin. Remove the center-most layer or two of the onion -- the 'core' -- to form a small, shallow bowl in each onion half. Place onions, cut side up, in a baking dish. Fill onion centers with a teaspoon (more or less) of vinegar. It's okay if the vinegar overflows over the tops of the onions. Top with herbs if desired. [Herbs can also be pre-soaked in the vinegar so their flavor is infused into the vinegar, and therefore the onions, as they roast.] Bake 45 minutes.

Let cool. Remove skins; cut off stems. Quarter or slice as directed for use in recipes, or to serve as a side or garnish.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Raspberry-Peach Lavender Jam

2 tsp dried lavender
1 lb peaches (about 5)
3 oz (½ pint) raspberries
1½ C sugar
3 Tbls lemon juice

Directions (Jam making tips)
Peel and pit peaches; chop into 1" pieces. Rinse raspberries and gently pat dry.

Pour ¼ C boiling water over lavender buds in a small bowl and let steep 10 minutes. Strain out lavender buds and discard; set aside scented water.

Combine peaches, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice over medium-high heat in a 4-quart pan, stirring frequently until liquid has consistency of thick maple syrup (12-15 minutes). Stir in lavender water. Boil another two minutes (or until desired consistency is achieved - it will thicken considerably as it cools), stirring often.

Remove from heat. Jam can be preserved in sterilized, air tight jars, or...
Let cool 15 minutes; cover and chill at last 2 hours before serving. Jam will keep, refrigerated, up to 4 weeks.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Meatballs with Sweet & Sour Sauce

1 lb ground beef *
½ C bread crumbs
1 egg 
¼ C pineapple juice (or broth)
2 Tbls minced onion
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

Sauce Ingredients:
½ C brown sugar 
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls corn starch
 1 15-oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits
½ green pepper, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350°. Thoroughly combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, pineapple juice, minced onion and Worcestershire. Season with salt & pepper. Roll into 1-1½" balls. Bake 20-25 minutes.While meatballs bake...

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce. Stir in corn starch. Place over medium heat and bring to boil. Remove from heat; stir in pineapple and green pepper.

Pour sauce over baked meatballs; bake an additional 15 minutes. ...or... place in slow-cooker/crock-pot on low heat to hot-hold for hours.
* These are  also delicious with ground turkey.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chocolate Ice Cream

1½  ounces unsweetened cocoa powder (approx ½ C)
3 C half-and-half
1 C heavy cream
8 egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Place cocoa powder and 1 cup half-and-half in saucepan over medium heat; whisk to combine. Add remaining half-and-half and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add sugar; whisk to combine. Temper cream mixture into eggs and sugar by gradually adding about 1/3 of the cream mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan; place over low heat.

Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly and reaches 175° F. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator; when cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40° F or below.

Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions (approx 25-35 minutes). Serve immediately, or freeze in airtight container for firmer consistency.

I stirred in some chunks of homemade toffee during the last minute or two in the ice cream maker. Other add-ins -- nuts, fruit, marshmallows, candy chunks, cookie crumbs -- could also be delicious!