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.
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.
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.
Serves 2 (or just you and lunch tomorrow, yay!)
Do you have a favorite hippie bowl recipe? Do share!
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:
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.
“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.
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. :)
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?
Dinners have been a little cheese and carb heavy this week, and for the most part, equally delicious.
Week 3 Menu:
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.
The second week of our cooking at home challenge was so much easier than the first. We weren’t really craving going out to dinner like the first week. Admittedly, it was a little tough going to Dig A Pony for my monthly travel meetup and not being able to get one of their tasty cocktails, but ordering a ginger beer was an excellent alternative. So by the time we were putting together our third week’s meal plan, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. And then…
Dear Internet, I have a confession to make. I had a mimosa! What!?! was I thinking? I wasn’t. I completely forgot, because it wasn’t at a restaurant/bar. I had a salon appointment on Saturday and when I arrived they asked if I wanted a mimosa, and they never ask that, so naturally, I said “Of course”, and then on the way home I almost got in an accident when I realized that I’d had a mimosa. Le sigh. So I messed up. I guess I’ll call this Sober January*. *except for that one morning when I accidentally had a mimosa.
Week 2 Menu:
Breakfasts have been fairly similar to last week: fresh-squeezed juice, green drink, avocado egg chipotle breakfast sandwich, oatmeal, banana peanut butter smoothie, breakfast burritos, and fruit/nuts.
Dinners have been veggie stir-fry lettuce wraps, caramelized onion & goat cheese flatbread with Herbes de Provence, Tomatoes Provençal, and curried lentils with Paneer (a really quick and tasty recipe from the latest Sunset magazine. We ended up doubling the recipe so we could have leftovers for lunches.) I always love finding good recipes in the Sunset magazine. While it’s not the first magazine I think of when I’m recipe hunting, it’s one of the reasons Sunset is one of my favorite magazine — unexpected finds (and it’s always a nice pat on the back to be reminded of how awesome my Northwest is, even though I still think California gets too much attention).
Restaurant Pick this Week:
Bamboo Sushi. Knowing you only get to go out to eat at one restaurant a week, forces you to make excellent dining decisions. So Saturday, we headed to my favorite sushi place in Portland — Bamboo Sushi. For what it’s worth, they’re the first certified, sustainable sushi restaurant in the world (with fairly reasonable prices considering). After ordering their tart blackberry drink (sans alcohol), we gorged ourselves on sushi (the green machine, tataki carpaccio, and albacore carpaccio were our favs, if you ever get a chance to go).