Pickled Onions should not taste this good!

I’ve been getting into pickling lately. Not canning rig, dip jars into boiling water pickling, but quick fridge pickles.  a brine on the stove takes 15 (or less!) minutes, you cram everything into a mason jar, and two days to a week later you have something delicious.

My favorite pickles are done with rice vinegar, it is sweeter, less harsh, and more forgiving than standard American white vinegar. But about a month ago, I was looking for a Passover friendly fridge pickle, something that wasn’t made with rice vinegar, something that would go good with gefilte fish, something really delicious, something that didn’t require me to purchase obscure ingredients.  I came across this pickled onion recipe from Smitten Kitchen. (oh, you don’t know Smitten Kitchen? She has a cookbook out, which you should buy, right now).

 

Anyway, the onions.  They came together in less than 5 minutes, and were good with everything I put them on. Gefilte fish + these pickled onions + horseradish? So heavenly I’m headed back to the grocery store to buy the leftover jars of gefilte fish that are  now on clearance.  Rice topped with a fried egg and these pickled onions?  Why didn’t someone tell me breakfast could be so good? (yes, I eat eggs and rice for breakfast).  These pickled onions on burgers, meatballs, and anything else I can think of? Sign. Me. Up.  Smitten Kitchen recommends them on tacos, which sounds divine!

I made a few tweaks to the Smitten Kitchen recipe to match what I had and my tastes (I didn’t have a red onion so I used white, I let them sit in the fridge a little longer, etc).  That’s the wonderful thing about quick pickle recipes, you can adapt them to suit your tastes and what’s sitting around your house.

Pickled Onions, adapted from Smitten Kitchen.  Makes 1  Jar of pickles.

1 large white onion, sliced thin and pieces separated

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup water plus some more to top off the jar

2 tsp sugar

mounded half tbsp coarse salt

Stir water, vinegar, salt, and sugar until salt and sugar have mostly dissolved (I guess you could put it all in the mason jar, screw the lid on tight and shake it up like you’re making salad dressing or bullet proof coffee? saves you a bowl to clean!).  Cram onion pieces into jar, pour brine over. top off with water. Screw lid down tightly,  put in refrigerator. your pickles are ready to eat in 1 week, and will last in the fridge for about a month.

People hear “pickled onions” and think it’s going to be onion-y, and overly vinegar-y, and these are neither of those things.  the onions mellow out, the sugar does its magical thang, and because of these pickles I want to get invited to a million summer barbecue parties just so I can bring a jar to every table.

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Yeah Passover!

Passover is my favorite holiday.  It’s like spring break for me.  I love cooking, I love pulling out recipes we only make once a year, I love the planning, i just love Passover!

Passover is funny, because every family has their own traditions, what rules they will bend, what rules they ignore, and what rules they won’t ever break, no matter what.  Depending on how observant you are, and what your families traditions are, some rules are “rules”, others are “traditions”, others are “guidelines”.

more like guidelines than rules

The traditions I grew up with were “don’t be obvious or blatant that you are breaking Passover”.  I use store bought mayonnaise.  I use powdered sugar which usually contains a small quantity of corn starch. I use ketchup, which very likely contains corn syrup. We have Pepsi in the house, also usually with corn syrup. I use plenty of store bought stuff that surely contains forbidden ingredients, but isn’t walking around screaming “Look at me! I’m full of stuff you’re not supposed to eat!”. I categorize all that stuff as “not blatant”.  I’m sure some Jews are reading this right now and clutching their pearls. That’s cool.  Like I said, every family’s traditions are different.

 

Last year, a rabbinic ruling came out stating that “kitniyot” (beans, rice, a bunch of other previously forbidden stuff), was now okay to eat.  So I can have corn tortillas and beans and rice for Passover?  So, here’s the thing.  I eat a mostly gluten free diet as it is. If beans, rice, corn, etc are OK for Passover, how is this week any different from the rest of the year? what, i don’t eat oatmeal for one whole week?  I like the specialness of Passover. I appreciate the extra meal planning. It’s spring break from junk food, in a way. All that to say that I’m not ready to start blatantly eating kitniyot.  Next year at Taco Bell?

 

anyways, here is an incomplete list of all the delicious things I’ll be stuffing into my face during Passover, because getting to eat all this delicious stuff qualifies as a holiday!

meatballs (omg, so many meatballs!)

schnitzel with lemon caper sauce

egg salad

carrot and olive salad

frittata with home made fermented pepper sauce

smashed potatoes with leek sauce

Citrus chicken

Potato Skins

Zucchini Gratin

flax crackers

Matzah bark

chocolate truffles

chocolate walnut cookies

almond cookies

Rainbow Chard with Ginger

Cardamom Apple Cake

Spinach and Cheese Dumplings

Sweet potato and Apple casserole

Sweet potato, pear, and pecan casserole

fruit and nut stuffed turkey

Matzoh Ball Soup

Turkey Burgers

Pickled Onions

 

Citrus Chicken

You ever get halfway through a recipe and realize you are missing an ingredient? Or cross your fingers and hope an ingredient swap will actually work??   Happens to me ALL the time.  I improvise, and move on with my life.

We were supposed to be making Orange flavored chicken wings.  Didn’t have wings, had thighs. Couldn’t finish them in the oven as the recipe instructed because something else was in the oven, so cooked them fully on the stove. Didn’t have enough orange zest to make a 2nd batch of sauce, so used dried lemon peel. We botched neatly every ingredient, every step, and every instruction.  And it was one of the best dinner’s we’d had in a while.

I give you Citrus Chicken, which I’ll bet turned out better than the original recipe for whatever it was we thought we were making:

3-4 tsp oil

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

salt and pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground coriander

4 shallots, minced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup orange juice

grated zest of one orange, or 1 tsp dried lemon peel, or any combination of the two

1 cup chicken broth, or water, or white wine, or any combination of those

optional – chopped fresh herbs to garnish, such as fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint

heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan and brown the chicken thighs, in two batches. As they are browning, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle cinnamon and coriander over top.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. In a saucepan, saute the shallots in 1 tbsp oil. After two minutes, add the garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the orange juice and the citrus zest. If there is any available chicken fat in the pan you are cooking the thighs in, add that to the sauce. Add the broth/water/wine (I usually use mostly broth and a big splash of wine), and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil over medium or medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked down to a sauce-like consistency. Stir often, when you stir and the bottom of the pot doesn’t cover over with sauce immediately, it is getting close to being done.

Serve the chicken thighs smothered with the sauce.

Low Carb Crunchy Flax Crackers

Thanks to blood sugar issues, I gotta watch my carbs.  But I love crunchy food!!!

Good thing I found flax crackers. The first few times I made these, I made them with regular flaxmeal, and I gotta say, the smell was not . . . appetizing.  Then I found Golden Flaxmeal from Bob’s Red Mill and now I’m making these every two weeks or so.  When I have a craving for something crunchy (which is like, nearly every day!), this is my go to snack.  I’ve even taken them on business trips in a tupperware in my suitcase. Watch TV in the hotel room and have a crunchy snack!

not worried about carbs? that’s cool. these are gluten free, vegan, and paleo-friendly. It’s just flax, water, and spices.  What could be easier??  nothin’, that’s what.  Nearly every recipe you find online will be 2 parts flaxmeal to one part water. But beyond that, that’s where you can get creative!

flax crackers are done

Flax Crackers

you’ll need: Mixing bowl, fork, unrimmed cookie sheet, parchment paper

1 cup Flaxmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxmeal)

1/2 cup water

salt & pepper to taste

couple of shakes oregano

pinch dried crushed rosemary

flax crackers ingredients

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Line an unrimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper is non-negotiable. Keep reading, you’ll see why.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well with a fork. The mixture will be very, very wet.  Let it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes, so that it dries out a tiny bit and so the flaxmeal can absorb more of the water.

flax mixed

Most of the recipes I’ve seen online call for you to roll out the “dough” on a greased countertop, with a greased rolling pin. Seriously? Roll this stuff out? Are you kidding??? This isn’t dough, it’s batter!  Trust me when I say this stuff is WAY too sticky to roll, and it is not worth the hassle. Use a fork to put a blob on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and use the fork to smush and smear it down into a very thin layer. The thinner you can get it, the better.   See how wet this is? Can you imagine putting this right on your cookie sheet?  yep,  parchment paper is your friend!

Continue reading “Low Carb Crunchy Flax Crackers”

A fried egg makes everything better

A fried egg really does make everything better.

I donated blood yesterday, and spent most of yesterday afternoon snoozing on the sofa and eating everything in sight. I have an epic bruise on my arm today! Now that I’ve got some energy back, I wanted to make some comfort food.  Which means eggs!   This recipe makes enough for one, but it is easily scaled up.

 

1/2 bunch swiss chard, cleaned very well

1/2 sweet pepper, diced

butter and or oil, 1/2 tbsp

1 garlic clove, minced

a little bit of minced ginger, optional

salt and pepper

1 egg

Cut the stems from the chard, and cut stems into small pieces.  Heat the  butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the stem pieces, stirring occasionally. After a few minutes, add in the diced sweet pepper  and cook for another 5 minutes.  The stem pieces will give up some moisture, and will shrink up a little bit like onion does when you saute it.

While that is going, roll up the large chard leaves into a tight tube and very thinly slice the tube so that you get thin ribbons of chard.  Into the skillet add some black pepper and salt, and stir in the garlic (and ginger, if using). When the garlic and ginger become fragrant, dump in all the chard ribbons and stir them in.  They will wilt very quickly. I like my greens very wilted, but at this point the veggies are done at whatever level of wilted you like.  once cooked down to your preference, put all the greens from the frying pan into a bowl.

Crack and egg and fry it in the oil and moisture that’s left in the frying pan. You can add more oil if you need to, but you should have enough.  Put your fried egg on top of your grees in your bowl, and enjoy!

 

greens n eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most important question ever asked about the tv show LOST

yeah, yeah, I’m ten years late to the LOST party.  I started watching LOST on Netflix about a year ago, and am LOVING it.  I just started the 5th season which means that 1) I’m on the home stretch and 2) what the hell is going on?  Also, please no spoilers in the comments, thank you.

If you’re also asking what the hell is going on, Lost was a famous TV show that came out about 10 years.  Thanks to lots of cliffhanger endings and lots of soap opera style twists and turns, viewers went absolutely crazy for this TV show. and it’s as fun show!   The story follows the survivors of a plane crash. They are on a deserted island and hunt boar and make tents to survive.  Then they find out the island isn’t exactly deserted. Then all sorts of weird crazy shit happens.

by the middle of season four, they’ve been on the island about 2 or 3 months. I think someone says they’ve been on the island like 65 days or 80 days or something?

Here is what is possibly the most important question ever asked about the TV show LOST:

what are the women doing for tampons and pads?

ok sure, the first few weeks before they figure out the food situation, they are probably on a starvation diet and that can screw with menstruation. But then they get the food situation figured out, and one woman even manages to get pregnant.  Everyone is eating enough calories that they aren’t worried about stuff, in general.

so . . . .  what the ladies doing for tampons and pads?

Seriously, I want to know!

This is too yummy to be called “Legume Salad”.

Legume salad does *not* sound appetizing.  Neither does bean salad.

Help me come up with a name for this delicious salad that’s a combination of chickpeas, green lentils, veggies, and a magical salad dressing.  Because seriously,   chickpeas + green lentils + what’s in the fridge has become my new favorite healthy dish.  It’s a salad that’s easy to change up based on what’s in season and what you’ve got sitting around.  This time, my delicious stuff included Kalamata olives, parsley, craisins, and cucumber. The salty sweet combination of olives and craisins is incredible! Can you imagine this with cubes of roasted sweet potato?  That sounds amazing!

legume-salad

 

This is just a base recipe, so  feel free to change up some of these ingredients and amounts based on what you have, and flavors you like.

1/2 cup green lentils

1 can chickpeas, drains

a few tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped pecans (Because I’m lazy I buy them pre-chopped. Hello baking aisle!)

1/2 cup halved kalamata olives (you can buy these pre-chopped too!!)

small handful of craisins

half a cucumber, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

2 green onions, sliced very thin

secret sauce*

Cooking green lentils is a little like cooking pasta  – you are going to drain  them at the end, so the exact amount of water you start with doesn’t matter.  You want the water to completely cover the lentils by a few inches. I filled my small 6 cup saucepan just shy of halfway with water, so I used, erm, about 2.5 cups?  Anyways, bring your pot of water to a boil, and gently add the green lentils so as to not break the boil. Simmer with the lid mostly covering the pot for about 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are tender.  drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine cooked lentils with all other ingredients except the secret sauce.  Season with some salt and pepper, but don’t go crazy because the secret sauce has salt and pepper in it too.

 

Are you ready for the secret sauce? At it’s most basic, this 4 ingredient salad dressing (plus salt & pepper) combines pantry ingredients you already have.  If, like me, you’ve discovered infused oils and vinegars, well then, you’ve got an epic secret sauce in the making.

 

Other than using flavor infused oils, the true secret is honey.

Yes, honey.  put it in your vinaigrettes, and you’ll never look back.

secret-sauce

 

Because I’m slightly obsessed with flavor infused oils and vinegars, what you see here is the Tuscan Herb oil from Fustini’s,  the Summer Peach balsamic vinegar from The Pantry, random honey from the grocery store, and lemon juice.  If you’ve never experienced the joy that is flavor infused olive oil, please, please find some! you won’t regret it! The secret to this salad dressing is honey, and making it couldn’t be simpler:

1/4 cup olive oil, can be all regular olive oil, all flavor infused oil, or a combination

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar – again, if you can find flavor infused balsamic, you’ll be a happy camper!

splash of lemon juice

1/2 tbsp honey

salt and pepper

mix very well with a whisk. Then mix it again.  As we’re all used to, the oil and vinegar at first will not want to mix, but the honey will help everything stick together, and you end up getting a better blend once the honey is in there. Alternately, you can put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake shake shake shake it up. Be warned you’ll need to really get up in there with a spatula,  since the honey is gonna stick to the inside of the jar.

 

Pour secret sauce on your legume salad (really! I need a better name!!), stir it all up, and chill for at least an hour.