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Baked Onion Blossom

April 21, 2016

Who hasn’t indulged in a deep fried, heavily breaded,  grease soaked at the end, onion? While they are absolutely delicious, they are most certainly an artery clogging, calorie crying “indulgence”. I was  craving one of these, but really am trying to eat clean. I had seen a baked version, but most of the reviews were not too kind. In an effort to simplify, improve and of course, satisfy “my” craving, I bring you my version of the baked onion blossom. It’s a bit awkward to make, but that will only improve in time, as this is most certainly something I will make again (and again!) I served it as a side rather than  an  appetizer, and long after my sesame seared tuna was gone …I was still sitting at the table picking away at the onion. I think it would be a lovely addition to a plate in a much  smaller  individual portion  as well…

1 giant Vidalia onion

1 egg, with 1 T. water added

1/2 C. panko breadcrumbs

1 T.Cajun seasoning, or any seasoning with a kick to it (unless you don’t like spice!)

1 t. teaspoon paprika

1 t. garlic pepper seasoning

Dipping sauce

1/4 C. yogurt

1/4 C. horseradish sauce

1/2 C. ketchup

1/8 t. each:paprika. garlic pepper, Cajun spice

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Pre-heat your oven to 400*.

Make your dipping sauce and season to taste. As it sits, it will get spicier.

Beat your eggs very well, and allow all the  foam to die down. This helps keep the crumbs on.

On a piece of wax paper, combine your panko and your seasoning.Really you can any seasoning “you” like. I didn’t have a Cajun seasoning so I used the Tabasco one you see above. I also cut out any additional salt. You don’t need it.

Peel your onion. Cut off about 1/4 off TOP of the onion. Do not cut the root end as this is what holds your “blossom” together. Starting about 1/4 inch from the root, cut down. Continue every 1/4 inch or so. Do not cut close to the  root, as your onion will immediately fall apart.. With a very large onion you should make about 14-16 cuts. You can see how  large my onion is compared to the egg in the picture.

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Open the petals gently….Pretty, isn’t it?

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The egg bath got a  little tricky. First of all I couldn’t find my pastry brush. That would have made things easier. I’m still not  sure mine was  the better way, as I did get a good about of coverage. Using my hands I turned the onion  around several times in a bowl. Then I poured the rest of the egg over the onion.

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Ready to bread this bad boy, I placed him on a parchment covered baking sheet. I sprinkled the breading all over, and up the sides. Gently open the petals so that you get the crumb mixture all over the inside. Press down so it  holds.  Remember ..this is a lower carb and healthier version of that million calorie heart stopping one in the  restaurants. It’s not going to look exactly the same, but trust me the taste is every bit as satisfying.

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Into the oven for 30 minutes. If you want the onion softer, add 5-7 minutes. I prefer them not as limp as the restaurant version. You many have to use a small spoon to add crumbs to some of the pieces as you pull them ..Again, this is  about saving calories,  tasting onion and not a  greasy glob of breading,  and not having the mess of a vat of  oil..

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As delicious  as it is pretty. Enjoy.I surely did!

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2 Good To Be True French Toast

February 10, 2016

2 slices good bread- sourdough if you’re trying to be “healthy”
2 eggs
2 T. brown sugar or honey
2 T. cream
2 T. real vanilla extract
Filling
2 T. peanut butter
2 T. plain yogurt
2 T. banana slices (about 6)
Garnish
2 t. pepita seeds
2 t. powdered sugar

Beat eggs, br. sugar or honey, cream and vanilla, until sugar is completely dissolved. Soak your bread in it, turning carefully until every last drop is absorbed into bread.
Heat just enough unsalted butter to coat the bottom of your pan. Place bread in pan.
Please make sure your toast is cooked all the way through. At least 5 minutes per side, on low, to medium heat at the end to brown.
While your toast is cooking, make the filling by blending the yogurt and peanut butter.
Remove bread from pan. Spread pb mix, and top with banana slices on one side.
Place other slice on top.
Garnish with powdered sugar and pepitas, and a heart shaped banana slice.
Feed someone you love.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day❤IMG_4355 Day

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Mandarin Orange Cranberry Sauce

November 25, 2015

This is a really easy recipe. I make a version of it every year. For some reason this year it came out  very well. The directions on the bag have a ridiculous amount of sugar. So can the can of that wiggly stuff and take less than thirty minutes to make it yourself.

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1 bag fresh cranberries – 12 oz.

Juice and zest from 1/2 orange

1 can mandarin oranges, not in syrup

1/4 C. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 inch knob fresh ginger

Pour cranberries in a sauce pan. Add mandarin oranges and the juice.

Zest the orange first, then juice it and add to the cranberries.

Grate the ginger knob and add it and the cinnamon. Stir to mix.

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Bring to a boil. Let simmer about twenty minutes .When all the cranberries have popped, turn off the heat and let cool.

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Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

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Cream of Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

November 5, 2015

Every time I make something new I tend to declare it “the best I have ever made”. Longing for cool days, and always in the mood for soup I put up a crock full  the other night. When I tasted it the next day, I said those very words.Not thinking it would be this spectacular (it really is) I didn’t take step by step pictures. It’s quick and easy though, and the outcome is so worth it. Silky, not too thick, and perfectly seasoned. It’s easily adapted to your own tastes. You’ll find a few alternative suggestions at the end of the recipe. Don’t shy away from using a can of coconut milk. There was no coconut taste to this, but it yielded a creamy texture without the heaviness of cream.

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 .2.5 lbs. potatoes – I used 12 small russet potatoes
1 large or 1.5 small butternut squash
2-3 jalapenos – I left seeds and stems in- you can de seed and devein for less heat
4 C. Vegetable or Chicken broth
2 C. water
1 can coconut milk (you can use cream or milk)
2 t. basil
2 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. ginger
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1/2 t. curry powder (optional)
1 t. red pepper flakes
salt to taste- potatoes are bland – I used about 4 t. sea salt total

Pierce the skin of the squash in several spots. Microwave in a damp paper towel for 12 minutes. Cut in half, and let cool a bit so you can handle them.

Peel and cut potatoes in small cubes.Put in crock. Add broth and water and turn on high. Set timer for 5 hours.

Cut squash in half. With a sharp knife cut a criss cross pattern – cutting almost to skin. then take a spoon and scoop the cuts out. You should have a bunch of cubes. Add to crock, then do the same with the other half of squash.

Add all your seasonings, and HALF of salt only. Cover. Go to bed.

Next morning add the can of coconut milk, or whatever milk you are using. Cook for one more hour on low.

Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup.

Taske for need of salt. Add just a bit at  a time.

I served this with some grated parmesan cheese, a bit more red pepper flakes and a few Pepitas  (toasted shelled pumpkin seeds) to garnish.

This is a VERY adaptable recipe.It would be good just made with  with 2 T. of dried dill in place of the other seasonings. Add some fresh dill at the end, and for garnish.Sage would be nice too, as well as thyme. Any seasoning that pairs with squash would be wonderful. Go for your favorites.

You can also omit the squash and make an all potato soup.Try some Yukon Golds for variety. Or switch out a few white potatoes, and add a few peeled cubed sweet potatoes and a carrot or two.

The possibilities are endless.

 

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Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

August 29, 2015

Tangy and not too sweet, the base for this dressing is rice wine vinegar. Rice wine is tart but also has a bit of sweetness to it, which  nicely compliments the addition of citrus. Many citrus based dressings call for additional sugar.I personally don’t think it’s necessary, least of all two entire tablespoons of it. This goes well on any type of salad, fruit or veggie.

1/4 C. rice vinegar
1/3 C. light oil, not olive- I used grapeseed
Juice and Zest from 2 limes
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch salt
a few grinds black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and let the flavors combine at least two hours before serving.

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Mango Medley Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

August 29, 2015

When you just eat a mango it’s a get messy, sweet juice dripping down your chin experience that  you might not want to have in front of a crowd, kind of fruit. For that reason it’s best cut up in neat pieces. Mango is a friendly fruit. It plays well with fish, chicken, other fruits and vegetables. I found a perfectly ripe and ready to use one while hurricane supply shopping yesterday. I wasn’t much in the mood for a salsa, so looked for things that  would make it more salad-y. However, if you chop the ingredients finer and squeeze just the lime over it instead of making a dressing, , you would have a salsa that would perch nicely on tortilla chips. Refreshing  and tangy the dressing is rice wine vinegar based. Rice wine is one of my favorites on fruits. Many citrus based dressings have sugar in them, but I omitted it. Between the sweet tone of the rice wine and the fruit itself, there is just no need. This was a side for us for dinner, but as you can see the next day we piled it in a soft tortilla for fish tacos.

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The Dressing

1/4 C. rice vinegar
1/3 C. light oil, not olive- I used grape seed
Juice and Zest from 2 limes
2 garlic cloves, grated
pinch salt

Whisk all your dressing ingredients together. Set aside while you prep your other ingredients. This dressing was so good, even before it sat for a bit. I recommend making extra.

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The Salad

1 large mango , cut in cubes
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved seeded, and sliced in semi circles
1/2 large purple onion, thinly sliced
1 can corn, drained and broiled
4-5 small red and yellow peppers, cut in rings
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced,
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 C. chopped fresh parsley

Drain the corn well and spread it on a baking sheet. Add just a tiny bit of oil and toss to coat. Broil for about ten minutes until it chars just a bit.

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Begin your salad assembly while the corn is broiling. Add your peppers and jalapeno to a large bowl.

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Next, your cucumber semi circles and  thin slices of onion.

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Top off with your mango cubes, the charred corn and the parsley.

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Mix them up. Isn’t this one of the prettiest salads ever?

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Wake up those flavors with  a rainfall of that luscious dressing. Use it all. Let sit for at least two hours,if you can stand to wait. It’s worth it. Twist some black pepper over top, just because.

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Serve it on the side of just about anything, have it all by itself ……………

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or pile it inside a warm spicy fish taco.

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Baked Feta

August 29, 2015

Not too far from our home, there is an area by the water called the Sponge Docks. It’s a special place for celebrations, or to take visiting family. Fairly self explanatory in that it’s a fishing town famous for the collection of sea sponges. We love going there as it’s a cultural experiences that satisfies all the senses. Quaint little stores line the streets,some carrying souvenirs, some emanating the scent of beautiful handmade soaps, and some  filled with things imported from Greece, as the area has a heavy Greek influence. Along these streets are some of the best Greek restaurants and pastry shops. When we go one of the things we always order is the flaming feta. I tried to think of a fancy name for this baked version which includes earthy Kalamata olives, and sweet little tomatoes…but nothing came to mind that really describes this melding of flavors. You’ll just have to try it for yourself! It’s simple and quick, from start to finish shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. A lovely appetizer, served with a crusty bread, encased in a pita or just eaten right off of your fork.. mmmm…Opa!!

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1/2 cup marinara tomato sauce, so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn,

8 oz. block of feta cheese, drained

1/2 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives (I used my fingers to tear the pit out, then tore them in pieces to give a rustic look)

1 1/3 C.grape or cherry tomatoes,cut in half

2 cloves garlic,grated

1 t.dried oregano

2 T. fresh basil

fresh ground pepper, to taste

Pre heat the oven to 400 Degrees. Combine your sliced tomatoes, roughly chopped olives, basil, oregano and grated garlic in a small bowl and toss to combine. Let sit while you get the feta ready.

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Pour the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 6″ or so baking dish.Turn the feta on it’s side and cut in two equal pieces. .Place the slices side by side, with a bit of space in between.(This dish merits a reason to get a special pan for next time, something smaller and square….)

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Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the feta slices.

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Top with a few twists of fresh black pepper.Bake approximately 15 minutes.

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Tear off a hunk of crusty bread and prepare to enter feta heaven…..

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