Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions:
Sweet, Dark & Memorable!

Memorable, these onions, just thin slices of onion cooked til soft and dark and sweet in the slow cooker. My recipe is "extra-special" (I think! I hope you'll agree!) thanks to a little brown sugar and a little dry sherry and now "extra-easy" too thanks to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions, made extra-special with a little brown sugar and a little sherry and extra-easy by cooking in the slow cooker. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at Kitchen Parade.

“Do you still make your three-hour onions?” asked my cousin’s wife Sue when she and Jerry visited this summer.

Wow, mighty-memorable onions, my Caramelized Onions. Because, get this, I last made Caramelized Onions for Jerry and Sue, hmm, more than twelve years ago.

A Texan taught me to slice piles of onions for Caramelized Onions: they “made” my homemade fajitas, worth the three hours of slow-simmering on the stove to release a golden-dark, decidedly tasty mess of onions.

But these days, I’ve traded up from three hours on the stove for eight hours in the slow cooker.

Caramelized Onions are one of those special “building blocks” that make a home cook’s kitchen so productive. Use the onions a spoonful at a time.

Here are some ideas! Let your imagination take over, there’s no trouble finding creative uses for Caramelized Onions.

Serve Caramelized Onions on the side with steaks, chops, even bison tenderloin.
Make roast beef sandwiches, slices of rare roast beef, Caramelized Onions, basil aioli and a few leaves of arugula. These sandwiches were gobbled up at a party this summer!
Start a stew with Caramelized Onions instead of sautéing onions. A time saver!
Stir a spoonful or two into biscuit dough or a breakfast omelet. A flavor boost!
Stir them into cooked broccoli or cauliflower, mash them into potatoes. Re-imagine old favorites!
Purée caramelized onions with a little vinegar and honey. You’ve got salad dressing!
Make an onion pizza! A calorie saver!
Make Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda)! It’s what fueled my recent obsession with spate of Caramelized Onions.
And you, what do you make with Caramelized Onions? I've got two cups in the fridge, help me use them up!

This summer, I’ve cooked Caramelized Onions four times, once on the stovetop just to compare. The stovetop works fine, it's a good activity when you’re busy around the house and can keep checking the onions. The only risk? When the onions get close to done, they move from done to burned in a couple of minutes. That’s the beauty of the slow cooker.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

SLOW COOKER CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Real Food. Vegetarian or Vegan. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.
Hands-on time: 15 minutes plus occasional stirring throughout
Time to table: 5 - 9 hours
Makes 1 cup Caramelized Onions per pound of uncooked whole onions
    Per POUND Uncooked Whole Onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter (my preference, for flavor) or olive oil (for vegan)
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine, bourbon or dry sherry, optional

In a slow cooker, combine butter and brown sugar on high until melted.

Peel the onions. Cut in half lengthwise, place flat-side down and slice thin half rings. Stir into butter-brown sugar mixture, tossing to coat.

Cover and let cook for 4 - 8 hours on high, stirring occasionally. About half-way through, stir in liquor.

The onions are “cooked” before they caramelize. For honey-colored onions, cook for shorter time; for dark unctuous onions, cook longer. If liquid is left, either remove the cover and cook it off for 10 or 15 minutes (be careful, the onions can burn!) or just use to keep the onions extra moist.

Refrigerate until ready to use, keep for a couple of weeks.

ALANNA’s TIPS Two pounds of onions, that’s about six medium-size onions, yields about two cups of much-condensed caramelized onions. Two pounds perfectly fills my favorite “small slow cooker”, this red stoneware crockpot from Hamilton Beach. Four pounds works in a more usual four-quart slow cooker. The best onions for caramelizing are yellow, red and white onions. Save "sweet" onions such as Vidalias for recipes where they remain uncooked. Do onions make your eyes water? Yikes, mine too, especially when my contact lenses are out but even, starting on about the third onion, when they’re in. I usually suffer through but enlisting help from the food processor for slicing does help. Save those onion skins! Toss them into a freezer bag and freeze until it’s time to make a small batch of No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock or a large batch of Homemade Chicken Stock I understand that Caramelized Onions freeze beautifully, it’s just not my style.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tablespoon/Quarter Cup: 13/53 Calories; 0/1g Tot Fat; 0/1g Sat Fat; 0/3mg Cholesterol; 3/13mg Sodium; 2/10g Carb; 0/1g Fiber; 1/5g Sugar; 0/1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 0/1, WW PointsPlus 0/1
While I used my own recipe for Caramelized Onions, the inspiration to try the slow cooker came from my friend Lydia at The Perfect Pantry.

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

All-Natural Dog Treats 'Dog Chow' for Kids Fudgicles Dutch Apple Puff Pepper Steak & Mushrooms Power Food Broccoli Salad Estonian Apple Cake Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Frosting Best-Ever Caramel Cake Favorite Apple Recipes Simple Lentil Salad with Seasonal Vegetables Ribs & Sauerkraut for Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

This Week, Elsewhere

Black Beans & Rice from Fitz’s
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


More Surprising Recipes for Cooking, Yes, Onions!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Julia Child's Soubise (Onion & Rice Casserole) Moroccan Onions Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions
~ more onion recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2013, 2014 Kitchen Parade



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda)

So "Mexican Pizza" is much easier to pronounce than "Oaxaca Tlayuda" but give [wa-HA-ka tlay-OO-da] a try, it's got a rhythm to it! And it's super easy to make! All summer, I've been topping one corn tortilla after another, each one different, each one decidedly delicious. They're an excellent way to use up leftovers, the Black Bean Sauce itself is not to be missed. Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda), easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at Kitchen Parade.
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Thank the iPhone’s wayward auto-correction practices for this recipe. (And really, you will, thank it, I mean.)

Text #1. “Mark Buttman’s How to Cook Everything app is free today.” Text #2: “Haha. Bitttman. LOL.”

Still chuckling a few hours later, I remembered to download Mark Bittman’s app. This means that at midnight, there I was in bed cruising savory recipes instead of dreaming sweet dreams.

Something called a “clayuda” jumped out, it’s a street food in the culinary town of Oaxaca [wa-HA-ka], Mexico where we spent a week in 2010.

Now it turns out that clayuda is a common misspelling – that the real spelling is tlayuda [pronounced tlay-OO-da]. So make that two spelling errors and you get Buttman’s Clayudas instead of Mark Bittman’s Tlayudas.

But enough talk. Call them what you like, “Mexican Pizza” works for me, it’s certainly easier to pronounce.

But do MAKE THESE. They’re cheap, easy and decidedly tasty. One would make a hearty breakfast but to my taste, a tlayuda is simple-supper food or late-night snack food.

ALANNA’s TIPS We especially like the crispness of the tortillas when the tlayuda are baked on a hot cast iron skillet or griddle. If you have a ridged skillet or griddle, use it: the tortillas stay just a little bit softer and are easier to eat. An electric griddle might work beautifully too, especially to make a bunch at a time. The Black Bean Spread itself is fantastic, it would be a great thing to make for a Mexican “meze” of some sort. I love the corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s, you can actually taste the corn. Harder to find are El Milagro corn tortillas, only 50 calories each and very good. (St. Louisans, find them in the refrigerator endcap at Global Foods in Kirkwood.) Whatever brand you choose, look for ones with just a couple of ingredients and without preservatives. No time for caramelized onions? Just fry up some onion slices until soft and golden. In my experience, women and light eaters eat just one Oaxaca Tlayuda, men and hungry teens eat two. Interested in Mark Bittman's app? Sorry, it's not free now but here's the information.

OAXACA TLAYUDA (MEXICAN PIZZA)

Real Food. Easily veg(etari)an. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 1 – 12
    BLACK BEAN SPREAD
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, including liquid
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste (probably minimal)
  • Pepper to taste (be generous)
    TO ASSEMBLE
  • 12 good-quality small corn tortillas
  • Black Bean Spread
  • Caramelized onions (try my Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions)
  • Leftover cooked meat
  • Grated cheese (our favorite is a slightly sour Mexican cheese called “cotija”)
  • Thin-sliced cabbage (don't skip)
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • 8 lime wedges

Heat oven to 425F. Place a cast iron skillet, griddle or a heavy baking sheet in the oven to heat.

BLACK BEAN SPREAD In a large skillet, heat beans, bean liquid, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes, until beans taste slightly more “cooked” than they do straight out of the can. With the tip of a spatula, mash the beans right in the skillet until a chunky paste. Makes 1-1/4 cups, enough for at least 12 tortillas. Can be made ahead, keeps in the refrigerator for several days.

ASSEMBLE Set up an assembly line with tortillas all in a row. Spread with Black Bean Spread, a few caramelized onions, meat and cheese. Don't overload, just a little bit of everything!

BAKE With a spatula, transfer the tortillas onto the hot pan and bake for 5 minutes. Cover with cabbage and bake for another 5 minutes until the cabbage softens and browns on the edges.

SERVE Sprinkle each tortilla with cilantro and drizzle with a squeeze of lime. Serve hot.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tortilla (estimate, will vary with your own choices): 172 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 29mg Cholesterol; 265mg Sodium; 21g Carb; 4g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3, WW PointsPlus 4 CALORIE COUNTERS for a 100-calorie serving, eat about half.

Mexican Pizza - Build Your Own!


Mexican Pizza (Oaxaca Tlayuda), easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.

Make a party out of it! Set out toppings and let everyone build their own tortillas. Use a heavy skillet (ridged if you have one) or baking sheet to get the crispy tortillas.


Oaxaca Street Food


Boys sharing tortillas in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Oaxaca, Mexico is a foodie's paradise! The central market is a cacophony of color and sound and aroma, booth after booth of homemade moles, fried grasshoppers (no kidding! and they're not bad!), cured meats, gorgeous fruits and vegetables. Street food is everywhere! I was taken by these two young boys sharing tortillas.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite family recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Fat Rascals Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Homemade Finnish Mustard Healthy Waldorf Salad Ina Garten's Tabbouleh Salad

This Week, Elsewhere

Roasted Beet Salad from The Crossing
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


More Recipe Inspiration from South-of-the-Border

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Mexican Fruit Salad Mexican Mango Trifle Pan de Muerto (Bread for Day of the Dead)
~ more Mexican recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2013, 2014 Kitchen Parade