Caramelized Onions, Pear, and Pecan “Pizza”

Caramelized Onions, Pear, & Pecan Pizza

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 pear, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 TBSP pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Bread dough

In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter. Add the thinly sliced onion, carefully separating all the rings. Stir and add a bit of salt and continue to cook on low heat for a long time, checking occasionally and stirring. Be patient and go read a book. You can cook it on higher heat, but the goal is not one single bit onion getting charred, so I slow cook it for two to three hours. You could also bake it in the oven at 350° but it stains the sides of the pan above the onions and is hard to clean.

While the onions are cooking you could make the bread dough using this recipe a friend gave me. This makes enough dough for eight pizzas or four artisanal boules. I make it and just keep it in a plastic container in the fridge to use when I need some dough. I use it for boules, for pizzas, for fry bread, and for wraping around cocktail sauces or cheese for snacks. Anyway, the two hours the onions take is plenty of time for the first rise of the dough. 

Turn the oven on at 400°

Roll the dough out as thin as you can and the roll the edge to the center, just one roll so you have a bit of an edge to keep anything from going on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramelized onions on the dough and spread to the edges.

Place the pear slices evenly over the “pizza.”

Sprinkle the mozzarella and pecans over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Makes two services of two slices each.

Let cool for about 10 minutes and cut into four pieces. Letting it cool makes it easier to eat and the flavors are more intense when they aren’t too hot. Also, when it’s hot out of the oven, everything will slide right off the bread.

This is delicious, caramelized onions and pears are pure magic. I’ve made this with blue cheese too and it is delicious as well.

Advertisements

Wild Rice & Brussels Sprout Salad

Wild Rice & Brussels Sprout Salad

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup of rinsed wild rice. Let cook on a low boil for 40 minutes or until rice is tender. Check frequently and stir so it does not boil dry. Pour into a colander when done and let drain until completely dry. I left it in the fridge overnight. I added salt and pepper to taste in the morning. Seasoning during each step makes for a richer flavor without over-seasoning.

Clean 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, cut the bottoms and any damaged leaves, then slice into thin strips that you can break up into individual pieces. After I finished cutting all the sprouts I broke the slices up by working with my fingers.

Chop one small red onion

Heat a skillet on medium, grate fresh nutmeg into the pan and toast until the aroma rises. Add a few handfuls of sprouts and saute until just warmed through. Repeat until all the Brussels sprouts have been sauteed.

.In same pan, toast 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.

Mix onion, Brussels sprouts, and wild rice in a large bowl. You can either add the almonds or set to the side and add when serving (It keeps them crunchier.)

Make mustard vinaigrette to dress the salad.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • Juice from 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Stir this into the salad and let rest. It really takes a couple hours minimum to reach its best flavor, so make ahead and let rest. I made this for Thanksgiving Dinner. It makes 8 servings. It was a hit, there’s a nice toothiness from the rice, a nutty flavor, and a bit of crunch. It’s also colorful with the brown, bright green, and the purple of the onions, looking lovely on the table.

 

 

Masa Cakes with Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Over-Easy Egg

Masa Cake with Kale/Sweet Potato Salad

This was easy and delicious. I have been experimenting with masa harina to figure out ways to cook with it since I got a huge bag from Harvest Share. I’m not fond of cornbread  so I wanted to go in a different direction. I made the salad first and made more than I needed for the masa cakes.

For the salad, this makes enough for 8 masa cakes, but is also good on grilled cheese and with sandwiches. So I don’t mind.

  • 1/2 bunch of kale, cleaned, stripped off the stem, and finely chopped. This is about 3 cups of kale.
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • Juice from 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt.
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled,  cut into small pieces, and parboiled in salted water.

Mix these first four ingredients together and rub the oil, salt, and lemon into the kale to soften it. Add the sliced onions. Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the kale. Let rest for an hour or more in the fridge.

For the Masa Cakes, this makes four masa cakes.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1½ tablespoons  butter, sliced
  • 1 cup masa harina corn flour
  • Dash of Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used pepper jack)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Mix together the masa, salt, sugar, use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter, add milk and stir together until smooth, add the cheese and mix it in.  Divide into 4 balls.

Using a piece of wax paper, but one ball of dough between two layers of wax paper. Press flat to about 1/4 inc. I used a small bowl and pressed down to make the edges smooth, tossing remaining dough back in the bowl to use. This will make 4 masa cakes.

Heat a griddle on medium and put about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on it. When it’s heated, put two on the griddle to cook, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

When you’re ready to serve, fry an egg over-easy. You could poach them instead.

Assemble by putting a torta cake on your plate. Then put a handful of kale salad on top of the cake. Add the over-easy egg so when you eat it, the egg dresses the salad.

Makes four servings.

 

Grilled Havarti Cucumber on Rye

Grilled Cucumber and Havarti Sandwich

This is an easy recipe but must be made in two steps. First, you want to marinate a cucumber in some vinegar with dill weed, salt, and pepper.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • salt and pepper

Slice the cucumbers and put in a sealable container. Add vinegar, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on and shake. Stick in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Since you are only using the cucumber slices, you can reuse the vinegar to pickle another cucumber. I like this on sandwiches and have used it on a fried chicken sandwich and on a sandwich with slices of London broil.

Now on to the sandwich. Heat a cast iron skillet on low (3 out of 10 on my stove). Butter one side of a slice of rye bread and lay butter side down in the skillet. Layer thin slices of Havarti Dill cheese to cover all the bread. Then layer the cucumber slices. I layered two layers of cucumber because I think Havarti is a relatively sweet cheese and wanted more vegetable than cheese. Please the second slice of rye on top. Let cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is grilled. Flip and cook the other side. Remove, cut in half and serve.

It’s very important the cucumber marinate so it’s more pickle than cucumber. The unctuous cheese needs that vinegary bite. The dill in the cucumbers reinforces the dill in the cheese. The cucumber retains just enough of its crunch to give you a bit of toothiness. It’s delicious and easy.

Pork, Pears, Nectarines and Ginger Sauté

Pork, Pear, Nectarine Stir Fry

  • 2 TBSP chopped onions
  • 1 TBSP fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz boneless pork loin cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2  Bosc pear cut in wedges
  • 1 small nectarine, cut in wedges

Heat skillet to medium-high. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and sauté until transparent, about 4 minutes. Add pork pieces, salt, and pepper and cook until it browned, about 4 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add pear and nectarines. Let cook for about 3 minutes, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp of soy sauce

Serve over rice.

This actually made two servings. There was sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lemon and the heat of ginger and blending together for a tasty and easy dinner. About 20 minutes from start to finish.

 

Sour Cherry Seed Cake

Sour Cherry Seed Cake

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt to taste
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
Lemon zest from 1 lemon.

Sour Cherries (pitted)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square cake pan with softened butter. I actually just used the butter wrapper paper.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add lemon zest.

Cream 1/2 cup butter and sugar together. Mix in caraway seeds and egg. Add flour mixture and milk, beating well.  Stir in sour cherries. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan. It’s pretty thick and gloopy, but it works.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool.

Sour Cherry Seed Cake

This is a zingy cake what with lots of lemony flavor from the zest and the pucker power of sour cherries. But somehow it’s just perfect.

Grilled Pear Sandwich with Caramelized Onion Jam & Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pear Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled sandwich? I discovered that pears are delicious on a grilled rye sandwich. I don’t have a grill nor a yard for grilling, but if you turn your stove fan on high and pay attention you can grill thinly sliced pears on the electric burner. Just don’t try to do more than three slices at a time.

To make this sandwich, I heated my griddle to medium heat and buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread some caramelized onion jam on one side and some tomato jerk jam on the other. I layered 1/2 of a pear thinly sliced and grilled on top of both slices of bread and let them cook on the griddle until toasted, putting the sandwich together after it’s done.

Grilled Pear Sandwich

The char on the pear gives it such a delicious flavor, sort of sweet and smoky. The onion jam is deep and herbaceous with the flavor of bay and thyme lifted by balsamic vinegar. The tomato jerk jam is bright, sweet and earthy. Together they all come together into a burst of flavor that is bright, fresh, and satisfying. If you spread the rye bread with olive oil instead of butter, you could make a vegan version.

 

Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

I make tomato jam several ways using variations on the New York Times recipe. I made the recipe as written once, but thought it was far too sweet. I use half the sugar, switched to brown sugar, and quite a bit more lime juice. I sometimes use cinnamon and red pepper flakes, sometimes I add a habanero, but the best, I think, is this one with Jamaica Jerk seasoning mix. It’s a deeper, more earthy flavor.

  • 1 ½ pounds good ripe tomatoes, chopped. If you use cherry tomatoes, cut the sugar to 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Juice from two fresh limes
  • Zest from two fresh limes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaica Jerk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Dump everything in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring steadily. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it cook down to jam consistency. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. Check on it and give it a little stir about every 15 minutes so it cooks evenly and you don’t let it scorch. Taste about mid-way through and add seasoning to your taste. When it’s cooked down to a jam, let it cool and store it in the fridge. I will keep at the very least a week, more likely two weeks thanks to all the acid in the tomatoes and the limes.

 

Caramelized Onion Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers a bit. Add the onions and stir so they are all coated in oil. Add thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Let cook until starting to turn transparent, reduce heat a bit and keep cooking until they begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Add sugar and let cook another 5 to 10 minutes until they are a deep brown color and the sugar is all melted and caramelizing. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or so until soft and melty. Add Balsamic Vinegar and stir, continue stirring on simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaf, let cool, and place in a container (about 1 cup). It will keep a week.

  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 quart of thinly sliced onions, broken apart
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegarMakes 1 cup of caramelized onions.

Cauliflower, Date, & Pecan Salad

Cauliflower, Date, & Pecan Salad

This is a slightly decadent salad with a lush sour cream dressing. It was inspired by the produce in my box of Imperfect Produce. Except for the pecans, everything else was from my produce order.

I started with a medium size head of cauliflower. I intended to make a smaller salad, but in the middle of cooking, I decided use the entire head and make one big salad. So sue me.

  • 1 med. head of cauliflower, cleaned and chopped into florets (makes about 6 cups of florets)
  • 10 Medjool Dates. Remove the pit, cut into strips lengthwise, then cut then down to small 1/4″ bites. Makes about 1 cup of chopped dates.
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. (Pecans don’t have the bitterness of walnuts.)

I tossed them in a plastic container, put a lid on it, and shook it to distribute evenly.

For the Dressing I mixed

  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice for 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • salt (to taste)

Add to the bowl of salad, put the lid back on and shake it until it’s distributed.

When serving a bowl of salad, chiffonade and chop a leaf of fresh mint.

Don’t add the mint to the salad because then every bite would be minty and the flavor would overwhelm it. Instead, this gives you the unctuous creamy salad and occasional explosions of mint with the creamy salad. There’s a hint of sweetness from the dates and syrup, but it’s very subtle. The cauliflower is such a sturdy earthy flavor that it easily handles the sweetness. The texture mix is lovely with the different crunchy elements of the nuts and cauliflower with the chewy dates.

This is an addictive salad and really one serving is not enough.

Nutrient
Amount
% of Daily Target or Limit
Total Calories 192 12% limit
Protein 4 g 9% target
Carbohydrate 25 g 20% target
Dietary Fiber 4 g 20% target
Total Sugars 15 g No daily target or limit
Added Sugars 1 g 2% limit
Total Fat 10 g No daily target or limit
Saturated Fat 1 g 5% limit
Monounsaturated Fat 6 g No daily target or limit
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g No daily target or limit
Linoleic Acid 3 g 26% target
α-Linolenic Acid 0.1 g 13% target
Omega 3 – EPA 0 mg No daily target or limit
Omega 3 – DHA 0 mg No daily target or limit
Cholesterol 3 mg 1% limit
Minerals
Calcium 75 mg 6% target
Potassium 443 mg 9% target
Sodium 213 mg 9% limit
Copper 236 µg 26% target
Iron 1 mg 11% target
Magnesium 39 mg 12% target
Phosphorus 112 mg 16% target
Selenium 3 µg 6% target
Zinc 1 mg 13% target
Vitamins
Vitamin A 24 µg RAE 3% target
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 13% target
Vitamin B12 0.1 µg 4% target
Vitamin C 37 mg 49% target
Vitamin D 0 µg 0% target
Vitamin E 0 mg AT 2% target
Vitamin K 13 µg 14% target
Folate 53 µg DFE 13% target
Thiamin 0.2 mg 14% target
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 13% target
Niacin 1 mg 6% target
Choline 46 mg 11% target