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Sweet and Sour Roasted Onions

Friday, April 30, 2010
Sweet and Sour Roasted Onions

And here we are averting the fear of onions. But only if you use the sweet kind, otherwise I do not guarantee, don't call me responsible, I know nothing.

NOTE: in reality, this poor quick post is just an excuse to wish everyone a good week-end, to those who are single, to those who are in a couple, to those who have been married for decades, to those who don't even think about it, but MOST OF ALL to those who are about to do it..... :-)

But in your opinion, what kind of rice should be used for a foodblogger bride?

Sweet and Sour Roasted Onions
for 4

sweet onions 4
garlic 1-2 cloves
vegetable broth 1 cup
red wine vinegar 3-4 tablespoons
sugar 2 tablespoons
olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves to taste

Peel and quarter the onions. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and some olive oil. Add garlic cloves cut in half, a couple of bay leaves and some fresh thyme sprigs.
In a small saucepan, heat broth with vinegar and sugar and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Pour hot broth over the onions, and cover them half way. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for about one and a half hour, until onions are tender and liquid is reduced. About half way through, stir the onions and discard aluminum foil.
These onions will last for few days when refrigerated. They're excellent as a side dish, but also thrown in a salad or in the middle of a sandwich!

Green Soup With Asparagus, Leeks and Fennel

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Asparagus, Leeks and Fennel Soup

Inspired by World Earth Day of the past April 22nd, I thought I'd make something green myself. Can't go greener than this one...

Nibbling here and there, here are few simple advices to reduce environmental impact through small daily choices, which - on a large scale - can make a big difference:

Use fluorescent light bulbs, they consume less energy and last longer (that's an easy one, I got this);

Keep an eye on your air conditioning thermostat, trying to maintain the temperature not too low (is this a joke? air conditioning?);

Avoid stand-by, turning off completely all electric appliances such as TV, DVD, Blue Ray, Tivo, Modem, Satellite, Cable TV (TV? DVD? Tivo? Satellite?.....what's that?);

Turn off the lights when you're not using them (that's an easy one, I got this too);

Drive less, drive slowly, drive an hybrid if you can; (and what about those who don't drive at all? Two extra points, self-imposed :-) )

Eat less meat or avoid it altogether (super easy, until I've discovered this thing here, but I'm working on it);

Buy local, organic and seasonal products as much as possible (I got this: the Farmers' Market is my second home);

Use less paper, for instance printing on both sides in the office (it's easy, I'll commit myself starting tomorrow);

RECYCLE paper and - I'd add - also everything else recyclable (c'mon, it's easy);

Paper or plastic? Neither one, thanks. From now on, BYOB (=Bring Your Own Bag) (I got this! My super-size bag finally has a reason to be);

Shop at thrift stores or at garage sales (...I can't...I can't...I can't...luckily I've got two extra points for the car);

Buy clothes that are made with natural and sustainable fibers (...ehm...can I use the second point for the car?);

Walk, use your bicycle or take public transportation as much as you can (I GOT THIS ONEEEEEEE!!!);

Use natural soaps and detergents (half and half, I promise I'll commit to this one);

Reduce the amount of purchases and of products you're using (not considering cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, my purchases are down to zero. But kitchen gadgets, do they count?);

Filter tab water instead of buying bottled one (it's enough if I can drink a glass a day, but...is that any good??).

Joking apart, let's think about it. Oh, I forgot, the green recipe is below, but please, don't print it out.

Asparagus, leeks & Fennel
a Green Soup

for 4

asparagus, net 500 gr.
leeks 2
fennel 1/2 (about 200 gr.)
garlic 1 clove
lemon 1
vegetable stock
olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, dill to taste

Clean asparagus, discard the hard ends and cut them in pieces. Slice fennel and keep it aside. Slice leeks in thin rounds and saute them in a little olive oil with the garlic clove, adding some water if necessary. After about 10 minutes, add asparagus and fennel, grated lemon zest, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cover with vegetable stock (or water), bring to boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Season with some dill and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Puree in a blender, and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add some more lemon juice and dill, bring back to boil, and serve.

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Spinach Strawberry Salad

Not all strawberries end up in jam. And that's all I have to say for today, I think.

Spinach Strawberry Salad
for 2

baby spinach 2-3 handfuls
strawberries 8-10
goat cheese to taste
slivered almonds (you can also use walnuts, or pine nuts) to taste
orange 1
honey 1 tablespoon
shallot 1/2
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper to taste

Wash spinach and put them in a bowl. Wash strawberries and thinly slice them. Toast almonds (or walnuts) in the oven for about ten minutes, without letting them become too dark.
Mince shallot and mix it with orange juice, honey, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let it rest for about half hour.
Right before serving, dress spinach with the vinaigrette, mix well and then add strawberries, crumbled goat cheese and nuts.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Not all rhubarb is an ill wind. And not all rhubarb ends up in Rabarbaro Zucca (popular Italian aperitif, A/N). If you can find it on the produce store shelves, take advantage of it, until there's time.
You'll be surprised, at least I was.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
strawberries, net 1.5 kg
rhubarb, net 1 kg
(I would have liked to use the same weight as the strawberries, but I've stolen all I could find at the produce store and I didn't have more than this)
sugar 1 kg
juice of two lemons

Wash strawberries and cut them in pieces. Put them in a bowl and mix them with 500 gr. sugar and juice of one lemon. Wash rhubarb, discard filaments and cut it in small pieces. Put it in a different bowl and mix it with 500 gr. sugar and juice of the other lemon. Cover with plastic and let macerate in the fridge overnight.
The next day cook rhubarb and strawberry mixtures separately with their own juices, skimming when necessary. When both jams reach the right consistency, mix them in one pot, cook for few more minutes, then pour in glass jars and can them as usual.

Note: as I mentioned above, you can add more rhubarb, using an equal amount as the strawberries (and increasing the amount of sugar, proportionally). It'll be for next year : )

Coconut Shrimps

Sunday, April 18, 2010
Baked Coconut Shrimps

BUBBA: Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That's... that's about it.
(M. Williamson, Forrest Gump; if you care for the Italian version, look here)

Bubba knew everything about shrimps. Back home, his Mum would make shrimps, his Gran'ma would make shrimps, his Gran-Gran'ma would make shrimps, and Bubba was dreaming of going himself in the shrimp business the day the war would be over.

Too bad that the Italian version didn't like Bubba's shrimps that much. Both coconut shrimps and pineapple shrimps have been deleted from the Bubba-menu and changed into scrambled shrimps and shrimps with potatoes, respectively. Probably back in 1994 they thought that Italian taste was not ready for coconut shrimps and pineapple shrimps, but I still have one question though: these scrambled shrimps, what the hell are they?
I think that not even Bubba, or Bubba's Gran'ma, would be able to answer.

Baked Coconut shrimps
for 4

large shrimps 12
eggs 2
bread crumbs, grated dried coconut
salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, orange powder to taste

Before the "recipe" I have a confession to make. I have a feeling that when talking about coconut shrimps, Bubba meant fried shrimps, the ones with a greasy and crunchy crust that leaves you licking your fingers. But how could you arrange fried stuff with a mini-kitchen like mine? You can't, period. Therefore let's just give up and get over it with a couple of baked shrimps. But if you wish to indulge yourself with the fried shrimp, please do!
In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. In another bowl, mix half a cup of dried grated coconut with three tablespoons of bread crumbs (I - not really very accidentally - had Panko, the Japanese style used for tempura, ever tried it?), add a pinch of salt, sugar and orange powder (totally optional, but since our conversation had ended right there...).
Clean shrimps, discarding the shell and the black vein, and roll them first in the egg and then in the coconut mixture. Place them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake them at 425 for about 15 minutes, turning them once about half way through. Let them cool down before serving.