Tag Archives: onions

Friendly Friday:
Instant Pot – Virtually Instant, Really!

Spaghetti and meat made via Instant Pot by Tanya

Recently, I had a chance to visit my fellow Minnesotan friend Tanya, her spouse Justin, and their daughter Mabel in Portland. They graciously had me over for dinner, and I got to see a demo of the Instant Pot. Apparently she was so excited about it she bought a second one when it was on sale on Amazon. My friend Candace in San Francisco had previously bothered messaging me about this device as a sped up way to make radish cakes, so it seemed only right that I listen to the universe’s repeated prodding to investigate this gadget.

Tanya said I could post the video despite her self-consciousness if I did an Instant Pot post, so here we go. Check out super-mobile Mabel! I wish I could take a picture of the smell

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Friendly Friday:
Fresh Flavors from Fit Foodie Finds’ Red Coconut Curry Meatballs

When I saw fellow Minnesotan and food blogger Lee Hersch recently drop a coconut curry meatball photo on Instagram, I just had to try her recipe.

Substitutions:

  • All the chili paste I could find had fish sauce/shrimp contaminant in it, so I couldn’t have it in my house due to allergy. However, my roommate/partner/spouse brilliantly bought Korean chili paste instead, a.k.a. gochujang. Even better. Specifically, Mother-in-Law’s Gochujang, with a reassuringly hipster-y label.
  • I used half a yellow onion and one quarter of a red onion on hand. Red onions made for beautiful contrast. We had lots of onion left. I am excited to make noodles or something else with the leftover sauces.
  • Replace cilantro with fresh mint from my garden,* because I hate cilantro.

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Empanada-rama at Stephanie’s: I wish I could take a picture of this smell!

 

Empanada:

The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread … Empanadas have their origins in Galicia (Spain) and Portugal. They first appeared in Medieval Iberia during the time of the Moorish invasions. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520 mentions empanadas filled with seafood among its recipes of Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food. It is believed that empanadas and the very similar calzones are both derived from the Arabic meat-filled pies, samosas. The dish was carried to Latin America and the Philippines by Spanish colonists, where they remain very popular to this day.

Majura Primary School in Watson, Australia +portions confirmed in NY Times article +The Spruce.com*

A dish truly borne of our collective human heritage!

Proxy guest post, because my friend Stephanie says she doesn’t like writing about herself. As one who loves all dough-wrapped dishes, she hosted the empanada-rama.

This recipe for dough won out:
Thanks, Laylita! How to Make Empanada Dough for Baking Continue Reading

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Free Scallion Starts!

Do you wish you didn’t have to go to the store every time you needed green onions (a.k.a. scallions)?

Next time you chop a bunch of ’em to cook, save the bottom bits -the part with the roots- and plop them in a jar with a little bit of water in the bottom. Change the water every day or so and watch them grow! I’ve gradually moved mine into the planter boxes on my patio over time (especially in the summer months), but I hear you can also just leave them in a glass with water. Voila, now you have green onions in the future, and didn’t even need to buy any seeds. Advice: don’t leave the same water in there too long or it can start to rot.

Day 3 of scallions in a glass: look! They’re reaching for the water!

I felt inspired to share this after my friend Michelle expressed surprise at seeing me with this trick. Apparently, the internet’s covered it. However, I offer links to bonus content for other allium-related info for your entertainment. Continue Reading

Chef Kyle Wisner’s Lunch Break Demo @the Book Larder

One overcast Monday morning, I ventured over to the Book Larder, a community cookbook store on Fremont Ave of Seattle. I’ve ridden past there many a time by bike and by bus, and always meant to go. Finally, I found time and managed to sign up for classes a few days ahead.

Note: if you are scrambling for last minute gifts for people who love to eat, cooking classes may be a good option that ships instantaneously! Be mindful to check if it’s a demo, or hands-on, as that may matter depending on how much your loved one likes to cook (i.e. more hands-on for those who are into working with their hands, more demo for those who are more into eating the final product). Go ahead, click away from this post, I won’t mind.. 🙂

Chef Kyle Wisner did a delicious demo for the group on some straightforward recipes for swift home cooking, perfect for a hectic holiday season. Below are some recipes he shared, editorial commentary is my own.

Pork Roast

Ingredients:

Center-cut pork roast
Enough za’atar spices to cover surface of the roast
kosher salt to preference

Tools: oven, , baking dish, meat thermometer

Steps:

  1. Salt the roast “aggressively”, like any steak or other big cut of meat, rest the roast out to room temperature before roasting. Preheat oven to 400 (or 425F if your oven is weak sauce).
  2. Cover surface in za’atar spice.
  3. Bake roast in oven until it reaches an internal temp of 120F, approximately 18-30 minutes. It will likely still be a little pink in the middle, but the juices will disperse back and finish as you let the roast rest a while before serving.
  4. Optional: bonus points for drawing a depiction of “aggressively salting.”

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What CAN you eat off the ground?

Forest Fire Fruit: Morels!

Morels, with their buddy thyme.
Morels, with their buddy thyme.

I was lucky enough to score some wild-foraged morels from my friend Tesia, after she came back from a good weekend of collecting them. Apparently, her s.o. even maps out last year’s forest fires to track where good spots to find some morel treasure. It definitely peaked my interest, especially after a stint earlier in the year at a local community garden prepping for summer, when we found a morel poking out through the cardboard laid over a garden patch for winter. No- I didn’t eat it, my fellow volunteers warned me it was ‘a city mushroom,’ with unknown consequences. Even NPR did a segment on it.

From Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.
“Sometimes we call it ‘chasing the burns,’ ” mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.
After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters ‘Chase The Burn’

Apologies, much of the ingredients are amounts “to taste,” and I was trying to track too many things so don’t have any exact times on here. The Serious Eats article did not specify times either.

Now, a rare medium on this blog thus far: a video.*

Ingredients:
Morels from your friend, the mushroom-gatherer (or from your friend at the farmer’s market)
1/2 onion, minced (alternatives: garlic, shallots, minced)
High heat oil for pan
Butter, about 1 pat
soy sauce, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
lemon juice, 1 tsp (to taste)
chicken stock, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
optional: chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

Optional but very useful supply:

pastry brush (or in my case, an extra toothbrush from my travels, because my pastry brush is silicone and the bristles would have been too big) Continue Reading

Upo trials – Part 2!
Upo two ways, a guest post by Tricia

A guest post from my friend Tricia! Y’all get a two-fer today, enjoy!

-Y_______.

Upo, Two Ways

When I read about Yiling’s upo bounty, I was excited to take one on for myself. I love all vegetables and love to think up creative ways to cook them. Reading more about the squash, one recipe quickly came to mind. After looking further at how it was used in different recipes, I had another plan in mind – not a recipe, per se, but an approach.

Two upo’s arrived on my doorstep one evening and I was very impressed by their size and their heft.

Carrying one is akin to carrying a pumpkin, if the pumpkin was long and oblong rather than round. The rind/skin was very tough – nothing like a summer squash or cucumber. It took some muscle and a lot of patience to carve the rind off of the more tender center. Some parts of the squash were notably woodier than others with large, tough seeds. This was different from the pictures I’d seen, so decided to cut that away. I am guessing that this is because the squash were harvested late and/or had sat for a while toughening up. Regardless, even after cutting out about a third of the squash, I was left with enough for both recipes I wanted to try. Each recipe made 4 servings.

For my first attempt, I started at the butcher. B&E is my local butcher – taking over from A&J Meats, a Seattle institution. Fortunately, B&E hired the butcher who made A&J’s sausages, which were and are once again fantastic. I picked up 2 traditional bratwurst and 1 chicken garlic for a total of ~ 1 pound of meat. The butcher removed them from their casings, so it was ready for me to sauté along with a diced onion. I added to that some roasted poblano (spicy!) that I had left over from my CSA, several tablespoons of minced ginger, some rice wine, a spoonful of chili-garlic sauce, and a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes. Then the cubed squash joined the party as I let everything cook together for an hour or so. The result was delicious – like a bolognaise but with more heft from the squash and spice from the ginger, pepper, and chili. I served this with roast spaghetti squash.

For upo #2, I followed this recipe from food52: Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Grilled Cucumber, Eggplant, and Soy Dressing:

I substituted the eggplant and cucumber with the upo and some diced radishes (also from the CSA box; wasn’t sure what else to do with them). I followed the recipe, more or less, other than cooking the quinoa in stock rather than milk and stir-frying the veg rather than grilling them. I also added the miso at the end, as it’s my understanding that you get more of miso’s health benefits if it doesn’t boil. Again, terrific results: the balsamic/soy/orange/miso combo was intensely flavorful, the radishes added crunch, and the squash rounded out a healthy vegetarian meal.

Novelty Rating: 5 of 5
It was really fun trying something totally different, especially as there is very little about this on the internet. The recipes I used also had very unusual flavor combinations, which made the meals fun to eat.
Likelihood of Repeat: 5%
While it was really fun trying something new, the squash took a lot of work to cut up and it didn’t, on its own, contribute much to the flavor of the dish. I would, however, try the recipes with other vegetables, however, like eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash.
Lesson learned: This was a good reminder that really tasty sausage can make a dish very special. I’ve already gone back to B&E to try another variety for another recipe.

 

Thank you, Yiling, for giving me a fun culinary experience!

Tricia

Upo Trials – Part 1!
Sausage, onion & garlic fry.

Per last week’s comment: sadly, my stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga class was cancelled, so nothing new to report on that front. Apparently everyone else is too chicken or prudent to sign up for September classes on the water, especially during a Seahawks game. Anyway..:

So K________ grew upo, also known as calabash or bottle squash for the first time this year, from some seeds his dad gave him. He was literally getting in touch with his roots (from the Philippines). These squash almost grew to be larger than the neighborhood kids who were checking on their progress every day, and definitely caused more than one random neighbor to stop by and ask who the heck kind of squash it was.

The squash really took to the Pacific Northwest climate. The majority of these dozen squash are still currently occupying 1/3 of my kitchen counterspace. All are at least the size of my calf.
The squash really took to the Pacific Northwest climate. The majority of these dozen squash are still currently occupying 1/3 of my kitchen counterspace. All are at least the size of my calf.

K_______ was kind enough to chop one up for ease of cooking, so one night when my friend J______ generously acquired some Aidell’s pineapple & bacon smoked chicken sausage, I sauteed some onions on medium, threw in the sausage, garlic and upo, and fried it all up for dinner. Continue Reading

Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash & Carrots

April can be a dreary time of year in the Pacific Northwest, when the reason behind the existence of a cozy coffee shop on every other street corner becomes apparent. This Sunday afternoon’s anticipation of spring warmth was salved with trying out this lamb stew recipe, with a side of netflix marathon. I don’t think I’ve ever tried cooking lamb at home, but starting with it in cubed stewed form seemed a good way to start. Got a chance to break in a recently acquired dutch oven (ostensibly bought for car camping cake purposes).

Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash & Carrots
Altered a minuscule degree from: Food 52’s Lamb Stew
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pound lamb shoulder, in 1-inch cubes
Salt
1medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped carrots (added more, I lurve stewed carrots)
2 4 cloves garlic, chopped (anything with 2 cloves of garlic, is worth making with 4!)
28 ounces chopped tomatoes (I cheated with canned. In the winter they seem to have more flavor than fresh tomatoes..)
2 cups beef stock
2 sprigs thyme 2 tsp dried thyme
1 sprig rosemary 1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch)
1/2 tsp butter

Ingredients marshalled: sear meat, set aside, saute other stuff, pour on tomatoes and herbs, simmer 2 hours, add butternut squash.
Ingredients marshalled: sear meat, set aside, saute other stuff, pour on tomatoes and herbs, simmer 2 hours, add butternut squash.

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with salt, and when the oil is hot, brown half of the cubes on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove lamb to a plate with a slotted spoon and add more oil if necessary. Brown the rest of the lamb and then set aside.
2. On medium low, add butter, the onions, carrots and garlic to pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
3. Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs and the browned lamb, along with any juices that have accumulated. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to get up all the brown tasty bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. When the stew comes to a boil, cover the pot and put in the oven. Cook until the lamb is just tender, 2 to 3 hours. Optional: in the mean time, cook some brown rice, and/or butter some naan and add garlic powder and bake. It took me about 2 hours for the lamb to start falling apart.
5. Stir the butternut squash into the stew, re-cover it and return the pot to the oven until the squash is tender, another 20 to 25 minutes. Optional: serve with rice or naan.

This was a nice way to try out the new cast iron dutch oven I got. Now all I have to do is lift some weights so it isn’t so heavy any more. It was pretty difficult to put away left overs without being able to lift it with one arm. I also cheated a bit, using dried herbs, and snagging a box of pre-cut butternut squash from Whole Foods rather than sawing through my own whole squash. Looking forward to being set for a main dish for the next day or two..or three or four. Three other ways I thought of eating this in leftover form, in case you have a skewed mouth-to-portions-available situation like I did:

  • add chickpeas, roll in naan bread toasted with butter and garlic,
  • pour on top of pasta and top with parmesan cheese,
  • saute some thickly-sliced zucchini and onions and mix it in (the tomato cuts some bitterness of the zucchini),
  • freeze in single portions for a day when you have time to defrost but none to cook and want a hearty meal
  • stuff some puff pastry with the stew and bake until golden.
3-4 hours later: stew complete!
3-4 hours later: stew complete!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars.
Looks so familiar, but everything is slightly different! Orange you glad I tried it, just so I could make that pun?
Likelihood of Repeat: 70%
Mmm, nothing quite like filling your house with the smell of savory stew on a lazy Sunday. This is relatively low maintenance with darn high benefit/yield, so I definitely would like to make it again.
Lesson Learned: “2 to 3 hours” + “20-25” + prep = 3-5 hours of total process time?! Better get a full season of tv watching ready, or maybe a good book.