Smothered Onion Sauce

I know it’s been a really long time since I last posted. No excuse, really, just general laziness. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I made Marcella Hazan’s Smothered Onion Sauce. Ohhhh goodness, I didn’t know onions could be so deliciously sweet! This is an easy recipe, albeit a bit time consuming.

Ingredients:

1- 2 tablespoons butter, with
2- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3- 1 1/2 lbs onions, sliced very thin, about 6 cups
4- salt
5- black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
6- 1/2 cup dry white wine
7- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
8- 1 -1 1/2 lb spaghetti or 1 -1 1/2 lb another pasta

Directions:

Put the butter and olive oil, and the onions with some salt in a large sauté pan. Cover and turn heat to very low. Cook for almost 45 minutes to an hour until the onions become very soft.

Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium high, and cook the onions until they become colored a deep, dark gold. Any liquid the onions may have shed must now boil away.

Add liberal grindings of pepper. Taste and correct for salt. Bear in mind that onions become very sweet when cooked in this manner and need an adequate amount of seasoning. Add the wine, turn the heat up, and stir frequently while the wine bubbles away. Add the parsley, stir thoroughly, and take off heat.

Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the grated Parmesan. As you toss, separate the onion strands somewhat to distribute them as much as possible throughout the pasta. Serve immediately.

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Cranberry Muffins

I normally don’t go for muffins, but I wanted to bake something today, but didn’t want to bake something too unhealthy, so muffins it was. Most muffins are actually pretty unhealthy, but I can honestly say these are healthy. They have dried fruit, they do not use sugar (honey or agave instead), and they use whole wheat flour. So you see, they are pretty healthy, and quite tasty at that!

Ingredients:
Oven: 350 degrees
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (If you do not have WW flour, you can use 1.5 cups white flour)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup honey (or agave)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup low fat or skim milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of 1/2 lemon
Directions:
Line a muffin pan with liners or spray with nonstick spray if you do not have liners.
1- Mix the flours, baking powder and salt in a medium-large bowl.
2- In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, honey, lemon zest, and butter until well combined.
3- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and add the cranberries and lemon zest. Fold everything together until just combined.
4- Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way and bake for about 15 mins minutes. Check after 10 mins.
Enjoy!

Cabbage with Sausage

I made this dish tonight to go with my frozen homemade pierogies (http://wp.me/p1S4sU-2V). I wish I was able to find kielbasa because that would have made it truly Polish style, but, alas, all’s I was able to find at my grocery store was Italian sausage. Oh well. Maybe the butcher about 3 miles away has it. You might be wondering why I didn’t just go to the butcher to begin with since it is that close. Well A) the grocery store is right across the street and B) our car is getting repaired. It’s a brand new car and already it needs a new part. An air condition compressor. Whatever that is. According to the guy at Bay Ridge Honda, the fact that we need this part is just bad luck. I could have taken the Q22 bus (that’s a Queens bus) up Rockaway Beach Boulevard, but that’s so slow and my kielbasa would have gotten warm. So now you see why I ended up at the grocery store with my Italian sausage.

When making this dish, I used a medium cabbage and oh goodness gracious did it cook down. I knew it would a little, but it surprised me that it cooked down as much as it did. So I suggest getting a big head of cabbage. Also, I used turkey bacon, but feel free to use pork bacon of course!

So here are the ingredients:

1- Cabbage, cut into small strips

2- 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped into bits

3- 1 lb kielbasa (or sausage!) cut into small pieces.

4- 1/4 cup water

5- 2 tbs brown suger

5- A little salt and a little pepper

All my ingredients prepped and read to go!

Directions:

1- Add the 1/4 cup water to a pan, the cabbage, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Let cook for about 10 minutes.

2- Add the kielbasa or sausage to the pan and cook until the kielbasa or sausage is cooked through and browned. You can cook longer if you want the cabbage nice and caramelized.

3- Add the bacon bits when ready to serve. If you refrigerated the cabbage mixture, heat up the bacon bits for about 10 seconds before serving.

Serve with your homemade pierogies, just like I did for dinner tonight!

Homemade Pierogies

Saturday afternoon I had every intention to make my homemade pierogies to freeze for a quick meal. Every intention. Really. I thought I would start them right after we took our puppy Dexter for a short walk. We get to the boardwalk for our walk and see all the people in the water and you know what happens? We turn around, sprint home, get into our wetsuits, and there goes pierogi making until another day.

So, Sunday rolls around and there’s no excuse. There’s a bad rip current and choppy waves, so I get into the kitchen and make my pierogies. And boy am I glad I did. They look so pretty! And I’ll be glad when I’m busy and need a quick meal!

I always used to make Mrs. T’s pierogies, but it’s my motto that fresh, homemade, and handmade is always better than anything boxed. Besides when you have some spare time, why not get in the kitchen and cook something fantastic that can be frozen for a later date? My freezer is packed with things like that! Sometime this week I plan on making sauerkraut as well!

The dough for this recipe is SUPER easy to work with as long as you keep it chilly. The recipe tells you to moisten the dough to create a seal, but I just used a fork to crimp the dough closed. Let’s see. I think that’s everything. Oh, this is actually a Rachael Ray recipe, which I followed semi closely. If I made any additional changes besides the one listed above, I’ll let you know below. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/dinner-recipes/holiday-pierogi-with-brown-butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons onion, diced (optional)
Note that the original recipe has you make a brown butter sauce for the pierogies, but since I’m freezing them, I won’t be making that here.
Directions:
1- In a small pot of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Mash with 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the cheddar cheese, onion (if using) and season with salt and pepper.
2- In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour, add the egg and sour cream and stir into the flour.
3- Transfer to a work surface and knead until a smooth, stiff dough forms. Cut the dough into quarters, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4- On a floured work surface, working with one-quarter of the dough at a time, roll out each piece. You don’t have to be be precise in rolling (you’ll see mine below!). You can always re roll leftover dough. But, if anything, make sure to roll the dough out nice and thin.
5- Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter (I used the top of a glass), cut the dough into rounds. Start with one piece of dough and keep the remaining three in the refrigerator.
See my rolling out of the dough was anything but precise! This piece looks like South America!!
6- Place a tablespoon of potato filling slightly off center on each circle. Moisten the edge, if it needs it. Otherwise just press closed and crimp with a fork.
7- In a large pot of boiling, salted
water, cook the pierogi, about 9 at a time, for 5 to 7 minutes. Or freeze as I did. I lined a gallon ziploc bag with wax paper, placed a single layer down, placed wax paper on top of the first layer, added a second layer of pierogies, and went through this one more time. I had two ziploc bags full at the end. I then placed both bags in the freezer.
Enjoy:)

Sauteed Peas with Prosciutto

We always have a vegetable with dinner, always. Whether it be a quick salad, frozen steam in the bag Brussels Sprouts (which are REALLY good, by the way), or yummy roasted carrots. We always have something. Anyway, this half used bag of frozen peas has been sitting in the freezer for a while now so one night last week when thinking about what vegetable to serve with dinner, I remembered that bag. Now what in the world to do with frozen peas? Steam them and add some butter? No, too boring. Hmmm Let’s just see if my good friend Marcella Hazan has anything to say about peas. And you know what? Of course she did. Why was I surprised? That lady knows everything. I skimmed the ingredient list and realized I had everything home except the prosciutto. Luckily the grocery store is right across the street and they have that computer kiosk at the deli, so all’s I had to do was put my order in the machine and wait for the deli counter person to slice it and put it in the refrigerated collection area. Minimal human interaction. Sounds pretty good to me. Sometimes I’m too tired and just don’t feel like talking to people. Anyway, I get home and start making my peas not following the recipe at all really. Marcella just gave me the ingredient ideas, I implemented on my own and it came out quite well! I think Marcella and I work well as a team 🙂

Here are the ingredients with quantities listed for a half bag of frozen peas. Really just make everything proportionate and you should be fine.

1- frozen peas

2- 2-3 slices prosciutto, sliced into pieces

3- 2-3 cloves garlic, whole

4- olive oil, about 2 turns of the pan

5- salt and pepper

Directions:

1- Add the olive oil to the skillet over medium high heat and add the garlic to the pan. Allow the garlic to flavor the olive oil for a few mins. The garlic should turn a golden color. After this has happened, remove the garlic.

2- Add the sliced prosciutto to the pan and quickly stir to coat with the olive oil.

3- Add the peas and the salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Cook until the peas are done (about 3-5 mins).

4- Pile high in a pretty bowl and enjoy.