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Best Caramelized Onions Recipe – Seriously


Predictable? Accurate.

Me: You know what would be really good right now?
Him: A veggie burger with blue cheese and caramelized onions?

My favorite burger is:  blue cheese, caramelized onions, smokey BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, on a whole wheat bun, with a veggie burger (Morningstar Farms griller patty is my favorite). And quite often, when I get it in my head that I need to make this vs wandering about town looking for the perfect veggie burger, I misplace my “perfect caramelized onions” recipe and search the Interwebz in despair, before finally finding my trusty recipe that I got from a Sur la Table cooking class instructor during a Mediterranean class I took a couple year ago.

So in the hopes that in the future, I can just remember that I blogged about it – horray digitized, and that you may also find this to be the best onions, ever, here’s the recipe.
Caramelized Onions

How to Caramelize Onions

Serves 2-ish

  • 1 yellow or sweet onion (Walla Walla sweet are the tastiest, IMO)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I use olive oil, depending on what’s handy)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt/pepper
  1.  Cut the onion in half (from top to bottom), and then slice in super thin slices
  2. Add oil and butter to skillet (I use my cast-iron skillet usually), turn to medium.
  3. Let the oil/butter get hot, then add the onions, salt, pepper, & vinegar.
  4. Stir occasionally (like every 5 is usually fine)
  5. Wait, wait, wait. The onions will slowly start to turn colors – usually about 20-30 min

As long as you remember to stir occasionally and not crank the heat up, they’ll be tasty, tasty onions. So, while you can make anything with these tasty onions: pizza, burgers, flat bread, eggs… I usually start them first since they’re so slow and then while I occasionally stir them, I get everything else ready. Then, I don’t feel like I’m watching a pot or whatever that saying is.

Bonus: If you can manage to NOT eat all the onions, saving a tiny bit for tomorrow and making an omelette with them is awesome: 2 eggs, a bit of blue cheese, a bit of caramelized onions, pour a tiny bit of BBQ sauce on the top. Delicious.

Cheese & Crack + Sangria + Portland Flea = Weekly Love


Ah summer!

This Week:

Bar Avignon – I love Bar Avignon, but I wish they had better happy hour prices on cheese. Regardless, summer sangria!

Cheese & Crack cheese cart – speaking of cheese, there’s a new cheese cart in town. It was $8 for a little “pizza box” full of cheese, crackers, berries, honey stick etc. I ate it all for lunch, but I’ll be back to use as picnic supplies soon!

new Townshend’s Teahouse on Division – same great tea, new cool building. I love the furniture and chill atmosphere.

evening rides & cocktails at Central – I hadn’t been to Central since last summer when we did our ‘cocktail crawl’ by bike. They took my fav (PB Jewel) off the menu, but still a great place to chill in the Ankeny alleyway.

Roman Holiday in the Park – After watching North by Northwest in the park last summer, I was super excited about Roman Holiday, however it got rained out. I hope they re-play this one at some point during the summer.

Bouldering at the Circuit – I went bouldering at the Circuit Gym on the Eastside. Fun and a good workout.

Farmer’s market picnic – PSU Farmers Market is one of my favorite ways to start a Saturday. I picked up Willamette Valley Cheese Co creamy havarti, ciabatta rolls from Pearl Bakery, rainier cherries, raspberries, blackberries, apricots, and treats from Two Tarts and then rode to the park for a picnic.

Portland Flea – I stopped by Portland Flea on Sunday, and found a cute Washington Apple crate (which of course kitty thinks I purchased for her).

Hippie Bowl – I also finally gathered the ingredients to make my own hippie bowl like some of my favorites around town. It’s kind of a combo of my favorite ingredients. Here’s my hippie bowl recipe.

What are you happy about this week?

The Hippie Bowl – Kale, Avocado & Tahini Rice Bowl Recipe


I was commenting a few days ago on the difference in how you feel just after eating some thing good vs something good [for you]. Post-cheese plate, I feel like “mmmmmmm… that was good, I feel satisfied and full and now I want some more wine and a nap” vs post-’hippie bowl’, I feel like “mmmmmmm… that was good, I’m so good, I make good choices and I’m healthy. I should go running in a bit and then in the morning I’ll make green drink.” OK, maybe slightly exaggerated, sometimes I have a drink after eating healthy. Balance!

My point though, is that I spend too much money at Portland’s many amazing veg-friendly restaurants, like Prasad, and the newly-opened Canteen, on their “hippie bowls” — rice, beans, greens, seeds and Japanese ingredients I don’t know the names of, and magical dressings. So this week, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own! Here’s what I came up with.

I must preface this recipe with saying that you can make this recipe the easy, quick way or the slightly healthier –do it [all] yourself — long way, your pick.

Hippie Bowl Recipe

Serves 2 (or just you and lunch tomorrow, yay!)

  • Small bunch of kale
  • 1 cup rice (white or brown) — that’ll be 2 cups when it’s cooked
  • 1 can of pinto beans (drained/rinsed) — if you want to cook your own, knock yourself out.
  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons of tahini sauce (Trader Joes has a pre-made sauce, or you can make it with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt etc)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or liquid aminos (I just used low sodium soy sauce)
  1. Cook 1 cup of rice (with 2 cups of water). I have a rice cooker. It’s awesome. If you don’t, make rice.
  2. Warm the beans.
  3. Wash the kale and break the leaves off the stems, tearing into smaller pieces. Put the kale in pan with a bit of water (1/4 cup?), on low-medium heat with lid on to steam the kale. Remove from heat and drain water out when the kale starts to soften and looks slightly brighter green. (You don’t want it completely wilted, just steamed)
  4. Layer the rice and then beans into bowls, pile with kale and slice a half an avocado on each bowl.
  5. To make the dressing, just whisk together the tahini sauce and soy sauce (you can of course make your own, but getting the tahini sauce at Trader Joes is easier. Yay!).
  6. Pour dressing over the top of you bowl and devour.
This recipe is similar to the Dragon Bowl at Prasad, but with more basic ingredients. I also love that it’s filling and you’re not starving like 2 hours later (it’s been known to happen when I’m eating vegan).

Do you have a favorite hippie bowl recipe? Do share!

3 Things I Learned from a French Laundry Alum

I don’t care if cake pops are the new cupcakes. I despise them. Pie pops I could probably get behind, but cake pops… no. Just no. So I remain convinced that the next best thing since cupcakes is still the French import of macarons.

Several weekends ago, I took a “Mastering Macarons” class at Sur La Table. While we may not have totally mastered them (oh, please, we totally did… ok, I guess that will be determined after we make a second go of it), it was fun learning about a treat I knew so little about! Turns out the teaching chef, Ben Whitten, was a French Laundry alum (& also chef of Candybar — a dessert lounge in San Francisco). That’s one of the things I love about cooking classes, they’re like a fun, easy, and short version of culinary school. One of my 30 Before 30 items was to take a cooking class, and since it was so much fun the first time around, I thought a dessert class should be next.

So here are three cooking tips I learned this time:

1. To separate egg yolk from the white, use your hands.

How do you best remove the egg yolk, leaving just the white? You know the whole “crack an egg and then toss it back and forth between the cracked shell to strain out the egg white” trick? Turns out there’s a better way. Chef Ben taught us a much simpler step. 1. Crack the egg in a bowl. 2. Cup your hand, and scoop the yolk straight out of the bowl, straining out the white. Obviously you need to have clean hands. It really is simpler and since you need to wash your hands after either way, it’s actually much cleaner, as salmonella can be on the shells too.

2. Vanilla extract is the single worst ingredient.

“The more money you spend on fancy vanilla bean extract, the more money you’re throwing away.”  I’ve always been a fan of “true” vanilla extract vs imitation, but “true” vanilla includes alcohol which makes the vanilla burn off anyway if you’re cooking with it. A better (and comparably priced) option is vanilla bean paste.

3. You’re in control of the heat, not the food.

Sometimes when I’m cooking I get a little too busy or if I’m cooking a new or more difficult recipe I can feel like I’m starting to fall behind. At this point, for whatever reason, I often feel like I’m at the mercy of my stove & the recipe (which specifies med-high etc). Note to self: You’re in control of the heat, not the food. Such a good reminder to ignore the recipe, go with your intuition and turn down the gosh darn stove. :)

4. Bonus tip: You can never have too much buttercream frosting.

Yes, I made this one up, and you probably can have too much buttercream frosting, but since there were some leftovers, I felt like grabbing the bowl and running out of Sur La Table was the best option. Instead I stayed and finished building every last macaron that I could.

Have you taken any cooking classes lately?

Cheese, Carbs, and Macarons

We’re coming in to the home stretch of Cook at Home month with less than a week left! Week three was even easier than week two, as we’ve fallen into a routine {dare I say habit} of cooking at home.

Dinners have been a little cheese and carb heavy this week, and for the most part, equally delicious.

Week 3 Menu:

  • caramelized onions and blue cheese veggie burgers (2x, I can’t get enough of caramelized onions and blue cheese)
  • veggie lasagna (still eating leftovers of this one)
  • tomatoes Provencal
  • black bean burritos
  • brown rice bowl with shrimp, snow peas, and avocado (remind me I don’t like shrimp that much next time)
  • catfish with pineapple avocado salsa & arugula side (best meal of the week! The recipe was from Everyday Food, which called for halibut — which I was told at the store is not in season right now. So catfish it was. And it was delicious.)

Thankfully, no accidental mimosa mishaps this week, although I did take a Mastering Macarons cooking class at Sur la Table (more on that soon) last weekend, so the “less sugar” goal was kind of blown out of the water for Saturday, as I sampled my fair share of macarons.

Restaurant Pick this Week:
Mi Mero Mole. Thus far, we’ve been hitting our favorites on our once a week dining experience, so this week we checked out a new place that’s been on my list. I was left with mixed feelings about Mi Mero Mole. They’ve been open for a couple of months and specialize in guisados, which is Spanish for ‘stew’ and apparently popular particularly in Mexico City. The guisados plate (which was kind of like a build your own tacos plate) I ordered was burn-your-face-off hot. Yes, I’m kind of a wimp with spicy food, but it would have been nice to know that I needed to bring a box of tissues with me. :( So I wasn’t blown away, but I’ll give Mi Mero Mole another shot at some point.

Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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