Tag Archives: onions

Summer Day

Double Onion & Chickpea Tagine

Sweet Onion & Chickpea Tagine

Finally home and (mostly) recovered from the jet lag – just in time for another challenge from r/52weeksofcooking.  This week onions are the secret ingredients, which are something I use in most of my recipes in one form or another.  For awhile I debated doing a French Onion Soup Sandwich before remembering a tagine recipe in one of my cookbooks that called for onions cooked two ways.  After some vegetarian doctoring to the recipe, swapping chickpeas for the lamb and doubling the spinach, it wound up being a rather simple dish filled with every day ingredients making it perfect for crazy summer nights.  While I cooked mine in a tagine it could also be prepared in a wok or a deep saucepan, either way make sure the dish has a tight fitting lid.

Summer Day

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout, divided
  • 1 onion, diced and divided
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 can chickpeas or 3 cups presoaked fresh chickpeas, well washed
  • 1/2 lb carrots, cut into 2 in pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a tagine over medium heat and add half of the Ras El Hanout spice mixture along with half of the onion. Cook for 15 minutes or until the onion starts to caramelize, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  2. Add the chickpeas, carrots, spinach, and water along with remaining spice and onion. Bring to a quick boil, then cover and turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding more liquid if needed halfway. Dish is ready when carrots are tender but not soft. Serve over couscous and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/05/summer-day.html

I topped mine with some So Delicious Greek Yogurt (yes I’m an addict – but that’s okay) along with a sprig of fresh cilantro while Joe went for regular sour cream and fresh mint.  I also made up some garlic couscous to help soak up all the juices, can’t let anything go to waste!

 

 

Gotta Get Out

Stuffed Shells Casserole

Stuffed Shell Casserole

I’ll admit it, sometimes I don’t want to cook or at least don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.  For example I’m a huge fan of stuffed shells but they take much longer than I’m willing to spend on the average work night.  So I decided to cut a few corners and make a stuffed shell casserole with all of the flavor and half the prep time.  To further speed up the process I used some frozen pomodoro sauce, leftover form a large batch I made in my slowcooker.  I swear one of the best things about my slow cooker is the ability to prepare huge batches of sauce (and other yummies!) and saving them for the future.  I simply placed the frozen sauce in the fridge before I left for work and then zapped it a bit to finish the process, adding a few more leaves of basil to make sure it had the right taste.

Stuffed Shell Casserole

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, well washed and torn
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lb precooked small shells
  • 2 cups favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. While oven preheats heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the spices and toss in the oil for 30 seconds before adding the onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until soft then remove from heat and pour in to a large bowl.
  3. Add the spinach and ricotta cheese to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Add half of the pasta, then top with a third of the mushroom and ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of sauce and then repeat the layering finishing with the cheese mixture before topping with the remaining sauce. Finish with the shredded cheeses and then bake, covered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover and then bake for a final 10-15 minutes, until cheese on top is brown and bubbling. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/04/gotta-get-out.html

The photo might not be the best, but it’s delicious and quick and easy – which is all that matters after a long day at work.  I served this up with some oregano bread but would be just fine on it’s own.

Make Way

Thai Basil Eggplant

and

Grand Ma’s Tofu

Thai Basil Eggplant & Grand Ma's Tofu

There is just something about Chinese food around the holidays, it just feels right!  This week I had the added encouragement of /52weeks Take Out at Home theme.  I debated about trying a thincrust pizza but forgetting to add water to the bread machine took care of that idea, so on to Chinese Food!  Joe and I get Chinese food about once a month and our favorite place no longer ask us what we want, they hear my name and they know we are calling for eggplant and tofu.  I had wanted to try making both of these recipes for awhile but every recipe I found online featured either pork or fish sauce and I wasn’t sure how our place does it without either of those.  So I started experimenting with sauces, testing them out on soba noodles until I found the “right” combination.  The hardest part was finding a chili paste for the tofu that didn’t include shrimp paste or fish sauce, but after a very long trip to the Asian grocery store I was able to locate one that was safe!

Thai Basil Eggplant

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1.5 lbs Thai eggplant, roll cut
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Thai green chilies, diced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 Thai basil, well rinsed and loosely chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook for 5-7minutes, then add the onion. Cook for another 5minutes then add the garlic and green chilies and cook for another 5 minutes. The eggplant should be starting to brown while the onion should be turning golden.
  2. Add the soy sauce, water, and vinegar. Stir well then add the Thai basil. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve hot over rice or rice noodles.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2012/12/make-way.html

Grand Ma's Eggplant

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced
  • 16 oz tofu, well pressed & cubed
  • 2 Thai Chilies
  • 4 spring onions, chopped (all whites and some tops)
  • 2 tbsp chili bean paste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or saute pan, then add the mushrooms and cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook until brown on each side, about 5 minutes each. Add the onion tops and green chilies and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile mix together the onion whites, bean paste, vegetable stock, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Pour the sauce over the tofu, and bring to a quick boil before turning heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce has reduced by half. Serve over rice or rice noodles and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2012/12/make-way.html

The best part about these dishes is that the sauces are so versatile, could easily switch things up and do a Thai Basil Tofu or a Grand Ma’s Eggplant.  Each of these dishes would also make a great topping for some rice noodles, or just as they are.

Look at Me

French Onion Soup

We survived Sandy!  Unfortunately so did the annoying holly tree in our front yard, apparently my totally authentic tree removal dance wasn’t very effective.  On a positive note we did keep power throughout the Frankenstorm so we were able to have a mini-Harry Potter marathon which will hopefully continue tonight/tomorrow.  Before the storm hit I went on a baking rampage, figuring if we were going to be stuck in a cold house without power we would need certain supplies.  So with that thought in mind I made a double batch of cookies and some Sourdough Bread, first time  using our starter Gunther.  I had made sourdough bread once before using a kit which resulted in bread that was far from sour.  I decided to take advantage of being stuck at home last week for less than pleasant reasons, and finally make a sourdough starter.  Gunther isn’t very fancy, no buttermilk or cream was used in his creation, but he has survived an entire week and produced his first loaf of bread so we are off to a promising start.

With the creation of the sourdough I wound up with two loaves of bread and decided I needed a recipe that would take care of a few slices.  I also needed a recipe that would keep me off my feet, since the medication I was on at the time made me a little wonky.  Enter: French Onion Soup.  The original plan was for me to start the soup and then hubby would take over, but the potent (and delicious) Spanish Onions caused him to retreat from the kitchen area.  Luckily French Onion Soup requires lots of sitting between steps so everything turned out perfectly!

French Onion Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

1 hour, 10 minutes

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large Spanish Onions, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 slices bread (optional)
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded & divided (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the spices, stir well and cook for 30 seconds before adding the onions and garlic. Cook for 20-25minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Once caramelized, add the vegetable stock then turn heat to high. Once the soup has come to a boil, cover and turn heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Optional: Meanwhile melt the cheese on the toast until the cheese is brown and bubbling. Serve over the soup and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2012/10/look-at-me.html

In order to keep it vegan friendly, I used the last of my oregano bread and left the sourdough for another day.  Another option for toasting the bread would be broiling it directly on top of the bowls of soup, using French Onion Soup bowls or other oven-to-table safe serving dishes.  I decided to not use my FOS bowls at the last moment due to MIA oven mitts.

Tomato – Tomato

Stuffed Tomatoes

How to get rid of a large number of tomatoes in one recipe: stuff them!  I have long wanted to try stuffed tomatoes but after my less than stellar results with stuffed peppers I was nervous about trying an even harder shape.  So I decided to “cheat” and use my muffin tin in order to insure that the tomatoes would at least survive the cooking phase.  For the stuffing I decided to use some red lentils and keep the seasonings nice and simple.  I used the remaining “stuffing” to cushion the tomatoes, and to act as a backup in case the tomatoes didn’t make it from the pan to the plate.  Once I saw that tomato on the plate, sitting stuffed and gorgeous on top of a bed of deliciousness, I knew that I had finally conquered the stuffed tomato.

Tomato – Tomato

Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup lentils, well rinsed
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and basil and cook for 5-7minutes. The garlic should just be starting to brown. Add the vegetable stock and the lentil and bring to a quick boil. Cover and turn to low, cook for 20minutes.
  2. Meanwhile hollow out the tomatoes by cutting a circle around the stem, and then scooping out the insides using a small spoon. Be careful to not tear or crack the skin of the tomatoes. Save the seeds for future plants, if interested, or add to the lentil mixture.
  3. Preheat oven to broil. Lightly grease the bottom of a medium or large cupcake pan. Place the hollow tomatoes in the cupcake spots and gently add the lentil mixture. Top with the cheese and cook under the broiler for 5minutes. The tomato skin should be slightly wrinkled and the cheese brown and bubbling. Serve over the remaining lentils!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2012/08/tomato-tomato.html

This dish also came together in record time, with the only real drawback being how hot the broiler makes the kitchen.  I might try using my toaster oven next time, along with single silicone cupcake holders.  However I’m not sure if those are meant to take such a high heat, but if anyone knows one way or the other please let me know!