Monthly Archives: June 2019

These Onions Are in a Pickle

So. Red onions. Go into any sandwich shop in America and order a sandwich. Any sandwich. The first or second question the order taker will ask you is, “Onions?”

Why is that?

There aren’t too many vegetables that conjure up such a diversity of opinions as onions. Yellow or white? Big or small? Sweet (and if so, can a sweet onion come from any place other than Vidalia, Georgia?) or tangy? Red? Pearl? Ya want fried onions wit dat?

Down south, where they seem to like almost any vegetable pickled, there’s this thing called pickled red onions, and apparently they like them on their pulled-pork barbecue.

I’ve never been big on pickled stuff. Oh sure, I’ve grown to like a nice barrel-pickled half sour. Truth be told, those great big pickles in the barrels at Zabar’s are way too mushy and soft for my liking, although they are a pretty good garlic delivery system. If you catch them early enough in the pickling cycle that they’re still mostly crunchy cucumbers with salty garlic notes, they are okay; in fact they’re pretty darn good.

But pickled onions?

So when my beloved ordered a salad out with extra pickled onions, I found myself asking, “what’s up with that?” “Pickled onions,” she said matter of factly, like I was supposed to know what they were.

“Would you, could you, in a box?” She asked. “Would you, could you, on your lox?

“I do not like…”

She cut me off.

“Try them, try them. You will see.”

So I did.

“Hey, I like them, Sam I am!”

“I’m not Sam,” she said, perhaps the most obvious statement she’s made to me in years, and maybe just a tiny bit cross.

So. Pickled onions. I do! I like them!

I like them so much that I came home that afternoon and made a batch, from a recipe I found on Pinterest. They were terrific; great on pulled BBQ sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, salads–almost everything we eat here at W-T House. And so, I made more. Lots more, with a (hopefully) balance of sweet, spicy, salty, and savory notes. I adapted it from that first pinned recipe I found, with enough of my own nuances, and it’s fabulous. Try this one at home…

Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

6 medium red onions, peeled, halved, sliced very thin

3 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pickling spice

Pinch dried red pepper flakes

Preparation:

1. Slice off the ends of the onions, halve them through the root end, and slice the halves into half moons 1/8 inch thick. A sharp knife or a mandoline is necessary for thin slices. In a large bowl, separate the half moons into individual strands.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel-coated) pot, bring to a slow simmer uncovered, and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare 4 pint jars, disks and rings for canning (wash and sterilize). Bring a large canning pot to a slow boil.

3. Fill the warm jars with onion slices and pack them tightly to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Slowly pour the hot pickling brine over the onions until the jars are filled to 1/4 inch of the rim when you push down on the onions. Wipe the rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth and cover the jars to hand tight with the disks and rings, tap lightly to eliminate air bubbles, and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

4. Place the filled jars in the boiling canning bath so that they are not touching, and ensure that the lids are covered with 1-2 inches of water. Return the water bath to a boil and process for 10 minutes (timing may be different at different altitudes–check with a canning resource on line for canning at altitude). Turn off the heat and allow the jars to stand untouched in the water bath for five additional minutes. Remove the jars to a wire rack and allow them to cool, untouched, for 24 hours.

5. Check for good seal on the jars–they should all have popped inward. Any jars that have not sealed properly should be placed in the refrigerator; they will keep refrigerated for up to six weeks. These jars will keep, sealed, for up to a year. Once they are opened all bets are off–maybe they’ll last a day or two, but they will keep for up to six weeks,

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Tequila, Lime, and Cilantro Cole Slaw

Tired of the same old mayo, vinegar, sugar cole slaw? Me too. I decided that it was time do do something a little different, and perhaps radical, just to shake things up a little bit. We hosted some friends for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and needed a plan. We has been discussing with daughter #2 about the graduation party she was planning, and then subject of barbecue came up, which led to the idea of pulled BBQ sliders. Which led to a discussion of menu, which led to a rare meeting of all our minds–and thus the decision was made.

And so, not being red-meat eaters by nature, we felt a dry run was necessary, and thus our dinner guests became the poor souls to bear the burden of our adventure in BBQ.

And what, may I ask, is a pulled BBQ slider without cole slaw? Why it’s just a boring pork (or as often is the case in our house, chicken) sandwich with sauce (think that’s crazy? Try THIS out: https://jeffskitchen.net/2012/08/06/crock-pot-pulled-barbecue/)

So. Cole slaw. I didn’t want to go conventional; I DO have a reputation to uphold, and I DO want our guests to have a unique experience–whether it be dinner guests or a herd of hungry teen-age grad-party revelers. In the end it worked out spectacularly for our dinner guests, and again a week later at a pot-luck dinner I attended.

Hence…

Tequila, Lime, and Cilantro Cole Slaw.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 Tbsp FRESHLY SQUEEZED lime juice (about 2 limes)

4 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

2 Tbsp silver tequila

3 tsp granulated sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced

8 cups shredded cabbage and carrots)

1 cup shredded red cabbage

Preparation:

In a large mixing bowl, add the first 7 ingredients (through black pepper) and whisk to combine until smooth.

Add green onions, coleslaw mix and red cabbage and toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, to allow flavors to fully combine.

Baked Brie with Red Onion Jam, Candied Walnuts, and Cranberries

I made this dish for company last week, and it was a hit. I adapted it from a recipe that Ellen found on Pinterest…

(LINK: https://www.lemoinefamilykitchen.com/2017/10/baked-brie-orange-marmalade-walnuts-cranberries/ )

…from the kitchen of Angela LeMoine. img_0404-3 I think that the recipe as published is too sweet for a BBQ evening starter dish. We’ve tried it with orange marmalade, Meyer Lemon marmalade (my homemade), and for company we used my own caramelized red-onion jam with fresh lemon thyme.

It’s absolutely too good to be missed. Even Stella the dog liked it, as she managed to sop up the last of it while our company had some wonderful conversation and Caprese skewers (a grape tomato, a rolled-up basil leaf, and a marinated mozzarella ball, drizzled with the Balsamic vinegar marinade).

But I digress…img_0405-1

Here’s this fabulous outdoor-living starter, about the easiest appetizer you could imagine...

Baked Brie with Red Onion Jam, Candied Maple Walnuts, and Cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-oz Brie Round
  • 1/2 cup red onion (or orange) jam or marmalade
  • a handful candied maple walnuts (recipe follows…)
  • a handful dried cranberries
  • 1 baguette, 1/2-inch slices

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Place the Brie in a heat-proof oven baking dish
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Carefully move the  Brie to a serving dish
  • Serve with slices of baguette

Candied Maple Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, whisk 5 teaspoons olive oil with 5 teaspoons pure maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme. Add 2 cups walnut pieces; toss well to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until fragrant and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Cool completely.

			
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