Caramelized Garlic Tart

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Yes, really.  And shnikeys, it’s tasty. A great mix between sweet and salty (garlic vs. cheese) and healthy and indulgent (squash and yogurt vs. …cheese, again). I also think this would be great to have any time of day- I made it for dinner, but admittedly had some for breakfast and lunch the next day. Not too difficult to make, either.

Chop up some butternut squash.

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Bust out the mostly-reliable garlic peeling technique, and get those cloves cooking in some excessive amounts of butter.

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I bought a regular pie crust, even though the original recipe called for a homemade crust. No doubt that would have been unbearably delicious, but I wanted to save some $ and time, so I went with a standard Pillsbury pie crust. Anyways, you bake the bottom crust, fill it with the butternut squash, pour a mixture of yogurt, eggs, and cheddar over it. Then top it all with the caramelized garlic and some goat cheese. Nom? Nom.

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Here’s the recipe I used, with the original recipe I based it off of.

Caramelized Garlic Tart

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, skin on, deseeded
3 medium bulbs of garlic, cloves peeled
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 eggs
7 tbsp plain yogurt
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 oz. goat cheese (or more if you’re me)
salt and black pepper
tarragon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for 40-50 minutes, cut-side up, until cooked through and tender.

Change the temperature of the oven if necessary, and bake the bottom of the pie crust according to the box instructions. Set aside.

Meanwhile, put the garlic in a small pan with a few tbsp of water. Simmer for a few minutes until almost tender. Add the butter, increase the heat and cook until the water has evaporated and the garlic is starting to brown. Add the maple syrup, cider vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt and simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cloves are coated in a dark syrup.

Peel the skin from the squash, chop into 1/2″ pieces and arrange in the pie crust base. Whisk the eggs, yogurt, and grated cheddar together with a pinch of salt and some black pepper and pour over the squash. Scatter pieces of goat cheese and caramelized garlic over the tart, drizzling a little syrup on top and sprinkling with a little tarragon. Set oven to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes, until it sets and the top is a golden brown.

Eat it all, no matter what time of day it is.

Borrowed from a Hemsley and Hemsley recipe.

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Baked Onions with Blue Cheese

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Get ready. You’re going to see a lot of blue cheese in here over the next year. The other day on my way home from work I stopped for groceries and bought a container of blue cheese. No plans for it, just thought I should have it. Then once I got home I realized all I wanted for dinner was some sort of food vessel that would get this cheese from counter to stomach. Pronto.

Lucky I have all these onions sitting around.

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Just chop ’em up.

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Put them in a baking pan.

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Mix up blue cheese, butter, parsley, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.

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Smother them onions, bake for 30 min at at 400 degrees and you’re good. And IT’S good.

Baked Onions with Blue Cheese

Ingredients:

3 large onions (recipe I’d found suggested Vidalia, but I had white)
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3  cup chopped fresh parsley (I didn’t have it)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 9″ x 13″ baking dish, set aside. Slice onions lengthwise, about 8 wedges each, put in dish. In a bowl, combine cheese, milk, butter, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and ground pepper. Spoon over onions. Bake for about 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Original recipe here.

Caramelized Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt and Cream Cheese

I loves me some onion dip. Normally the main component is a loh-hotttt of sour cream, so it’s safe to say I’ve never made “real” onion dip. I was always so enchanted with the sour cream, to be honest. But this is what the project is for! Making things.

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That top pile is loads of onion, garlic, and thyme. Bottom is scallions. All that gets added to these is Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Not as bad as mayo and sour cream, amirite? Nom nom.

This photo might look a liiiittle gross, but damn, this was good. Normally, french onion dip tastes pretty salty (maybe it’s the chips I eat it with), but this was somehow sweet and cheesy and delicious. DELICIOUS. I’m not sure I can go back to the mix ever again.

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I roughly followed the recipe below, BUT. Used one white, one red, and one yellow onion, as the grocery store was a bit onion-shy. I also cooked them for about 40 minutes, adding a little bit of brown sugar at the end.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Dip

Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large Spanish onion
1 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
3 cipollini onions, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
3 scallions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

Directions
In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the thyme, shallots, garlic and all the varieties of onions. Saute, stirring constantly. (Onions absorb oil quickly, so add more if necessary.) Continue to cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, add the yogurt and cream cheese and stir together. Add in the onions, scallions and chives. Stir well to combine.

Link to the original recipe here.

Pickled Garlic

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Pickled garlic! It’s a THING. I was pretty excited to find it, as a completely unfamiliar food item to me, and once I started digging through recipes I decided a) I wouldn’t make too much, and b) I’d try a couple different versions. Apparently it’s a standard Korean dish, so I decided on that as well as a French recipe.  What’s interesting is that the Korean version is intended to be eaten straight out of the jar, while the French recipe suggests that it’s more often used as a future-recipe-prep type thing. It would normally be grated and used in a salad dressing, or mixed in with hummus, for example.

It takes some time, this pickled garlic. I’m on the second stage of the Korean kind, and the French is technically done, though I tried one of the larger cloves today and I’m still breathing fire. I’m curious to know what they’ll both taste like an a couple weeks (better? more mild, I assume?) But here goes:

So, sure you decide to pickle garlic. And then you realize that lots of cloves of garlic is great and delicious and all, but you have to peel it! What! However, dear friend, there is a way.

If you didn’t watch that video, you break the bulbs up, put the cloves in a bowl, place another bowl upside down over the top, and shake the crap out of it.

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Goes from that ^ to this:

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And depending on the bowls you use, you might not even have to go through as many some-of-them-peeled-so-i’ll-take-them-out rounds as I did.  It saves time.

After this initial peeling part, the different styles split.

French Pickled Garlic

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 small red chile, sliced thinly
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 dried bay leaf
7-8 whole peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon dried herbes de provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 cup whole garlic cloves, skins removed

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except for the garlic in a small saucepan.
Place saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil. boil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves to the saucepan, and allow to boil for 30 seconds. Pour contents of saucepan into a sterilized mason jar, and allow to cool for 45 minutes. When the jar is cool, place the lid on it and store in the fridge.
The garlic will be ready to consume in as little as 2 days, but for the best flavor, allow it to sit in the fridge for about a week before opening. [My note: Larger cloves definitely need much more than 2 days. I left mine in the fridge for about a week and a half, and though the smaller ones were perfect, the bigger ones still have quite a bite.] Stored in the fridge, the french pickled garlic will keep for about a year.
Original recipe can be found here.

Korean Pickled Garlic

[My notes: I cut this recipe in half.]

20140119-204401.jpgKorean style pickled garlic after first portion of the recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh garlic (about 8 – 9 whole heads)
For the vinegar brine:
2/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 and 1/3 cups water
For the soy brine:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/3 cups water

1-quart jar with a lid

Directions:
Add peeled garlic to the jar. Stir the vinegar brine ingredients
together until the salt is dissolved. Pour over the garlic cloves. The liquid should fully cover the garlic cloves. Let stand at room temperature for 5 – 7 days.
Bring the soy brine ingredients to a boil, and gently boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Allow to cool completely. Drain the vinegar brine from the jar. Pour the cooled soy brine over the garlic cloves. Make sure all the garlic cloves are fully covered. Close tightly with a lid, and let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks. The garlic can be eaten at this point, but it will taste better as it matures.
Original recipe can be found here.

Update: GARLIC and ONIONS

A friend pointed out that zucchini should be saved for the summertime. This is what I need you all for! Reason!

I’ve actually decided that this month will be dedicated to onions/garlic. Because why not spotlight something that is usually treated as an accent to every other thing in a dish. Because onions and garlic are mother-flipping DELICIOUS.  And because this:

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Nommmmmm.

Stay tuned. Apparently pickled garlic is a thing!

January: Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

So, no. I didn’t plan ahead. I’ve found myself on January 5th making something that has several vegetables in it so that I can decide which one will be January’s vegetable after the fact. I’ll let you know what I decide.

quinoa-chili2But this vegetarian chili (from Two Peas and Their Pod) was damn good. And seriously surprisingly filling. The only thing I should point out is that my grocery store was out of red peppers (alleged snow apocalypse scared people into stocking up on veg), so I replaced it with corn. I also used a jalapeno, but a little less chili powder. Not a big spice person, but this had a good kick.

Maybe I’ll need to get better at this, but though the above is what theirs looked like. Below is what mine looked like. Throw some cheese and sour cream on top, and it’s goooooold.

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My plan is to decide on one of the vegetables involved as the January vegetable. Probably zucchini? I’m not going to lie to you guys, I don’t have my shit together. It makes enough for several days, though, so I won’t need to decide for a few days. Recommend!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Yield: Serves 10-12

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

This hearty chili is made with beans, vegetables, and quinoa. Meat lovers and vegetarians will love this chili!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste (we used 3)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings: green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, etc.

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Note-garnish the chili with green onions, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, chips, crackers, if desired. This chili freezes well.