Posts tagged ‘caramelized onion’

November 9, 2012

Sweet Potato, Apple and Bacon Pizza

We’re rolling fast into tradition time, people! Everyone has different ways of celebrating the holidays – doing these things make us feel all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia and comfort.

I’m not going to lie, the past three Christmases (and two Thanksgivings!) on the opposite side of the world and hemisphere have been an adjustment. It’s hard to actually feel like it’s Christmas when you don’t have the usual people, weather, events and traditions.

Sometimes you have to make new ones to feel like you’re making something special for yourself in a new place. Theme party Thanksgiving (with costumes!) anyone? Cricket on the tv all the time? Meh. Piles of chilled peel and eat shrimp with dipping sauces on Christmas day? Yes please!

Ok, I didn’t actually create any of these, but I’ve adopted them.

One of my favorite non-holiday traditions from waaaay back in the day is Friday pizza night. For the majority of my childhood, my grandparents (Gam & Pop) would have me stay over their house on Friday night and we’d order pizza. I’d eat it sitting on the floor at the coffee table in front of the tv, dismantling my slice layer by layer (I’d eat the pepperoni, then the cheese, then the base – all separately. I know, I was a weird kid.)

I like the idea of continuing this tradition today (without the unusual eating method.) Pizza on Friday is a fun and easy way to celebrate the start of the weekend. Pizza Party!

This pizza isn’t quite as easy as getting delivery, but it’s totally worth it.

Feel free to use a pre-prepared pizza dough or base – I know how it is. Dough is intimidating, time-consuming and sometimes faulty. BUT if you’re curious about making your own dough – try this recipe.

That said, some notes about the pizza dough recipe below:

1. It’s awesome. I’ve made my own dough before,  with lack-luster and frustrating results. This dough will not produce either of those. There is no serious kneading and very little hands-on time, in general. It’s very forgiving, stretches out perfectly, and bakes up crispy and a little bubbly.

2. Don’t be afraid if it tears in places when you’re stretching it out, just pinch it back together.

3. I used more yeast than the original Jim Lahey recipe called for, which shaved off some time from the lengthy resting period. You do need to allow this dough to rest so the yeast and gluten can do its thing. This is what cuts out the kneading part. So if you want pizza on a Friday night, I would suggest making the dough Friday morning or the night before.

4. I used a combo of all-purpose flour and whole wheat. I’ve also used spelt and all-purpose. Both worked well, but if you’re keeping it simple you can just use 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose or bread flour.

5. Freeze the leftover dough if you’re only making one pizza. Next Friday, all you need to do is thaw it in the fridge.

SWEET POTATO & APPLE PIZZA

  • 1 pizza base (see dough recipe below)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1-2 rashers of bacon, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1/4-1/3 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 small apple (I used a pink lady) sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • salt & pepper

For caramelized onion: heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Place a medium to large red onion, thinly sliced in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until jammy, stirring occasionally. (Add a little water a teaspoon at a time, if pan looks dry at any point.)

Heat oven to 425 F/220 C. Place sweet potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes in the oven until softened but not mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large plan over a medium high heat.  Cook bacon in the pan for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through and a little browned.

Heat oven to 500F/260 C. Oil a baking sheet well and spread the pizza dough out on it. Patch it up where needed.

Sprinkle half of the provolone and Parmesan cheeses on the base. Arrange sweet potatoes, apple, bacon, onion and rosemary on the base and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes (watch your pizza and toppings – cook time really depends on your oven.)

Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

Makes about 8 square pieces when spread out on a rectangular baking tray.

NO KNEAD PIZZA DOUGH
Based on Jim Lahey’s recipe via Tracy Shutterbean, makes 2 pizza bases.

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • olive oil for the baking sheet

Combine yeast, salt, and flours in a large bowl and stir to distribute the yeast evenly.

Pour  in water and stir with a wooden spoon or your hands until combined and you have a raggy dough. Cover with a tea towel and allow to stand at room temp for at least 2 hours. (I let mine sit around for about 5.)

When you’re ready to use the dough, heat the oven to 500 F/260 C. Oil a baking tray well. Place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and push down into a round disc and divide in half. Mold the halves into rounds. (You can freeze the other half if you’re not using it that day.)

Stretch the dough into the shape of your baking tray. Place on the well oiled baking tray stretching it out with your hands and patching it up in places where needed.

Arrange toppings and bake 15-20 minutes.

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May 29, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Crust-less Quiche

Let me stop you right there. I KNOW I know I know that a quiche is supposed to have a crust. That buttery, crumbly base is half of what makes it so awesome. But let me hit you with some real talk: a.) making my own pastry dough on a busy weeknight is a near impossibility and b.) store-bought pastry shells kind of depress me/make me feel inadequate. (I blame these feelings on too much Masterchef viewing.)

So! That’s where the crust-less quiche comes in, friends.

Quiches are a great way to use leftover vegetables. I love to roast a bunch of different types at the beginning of the week and find uses for them as I go. They usually find their way into some egg-based dish at some point.

You can make this with leftovers or with vegetables you specifically roasted for this purpose. I really love the fluffy sweet potato cubes, salty feta and caramelized onion hit in here, but you can adapt it to whatever you’ve got. Do your thang.
(Yes, I just said thang.)

It’s a lazy-girl’s quiche. A gluten-intolerant person’s quiche. A leftover-using quiche. A quiche for everyone!

Say quiche again.

Quiche.

Roasted Vegetable and Caramelized Onion Crust-less Quiche
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 small sweet onions sliced thin (or 1 medium yellow onion)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 medium sweet potato, but into 1-inch/2.5-cm cubes
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into strips
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs
1 cup cream or half and half
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
butter for greasing the baking pan
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oven to 245C/475 F.
On a baking tray toss sweet potato cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 15- 20 minutes, until soft. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook those onions by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add onion, a pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover the pan and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft, deep caramel in color and sweet tasting. Set aside.

Reduce oven to 190 C/375 F and butter a 23 cm/9 inch pie dish.

Assemble cooked sweet potatoes, onions, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese in the pie dish.

In a bowl beat the eggs and stir in the cream. Pour over vegetables and cheese, sprinkle with thyme leaves and another pinch of salt.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

April 16, 2012

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

First thing’s first! I need to clear something up for the sake of American/Australian food relations: pumpkin and winter squash are the same thing.

It’s called butternut squash in America, but butternut pumpkin in Australia. I often cook with Japanese pumpkin (like in this dish) which is also known as kabocha squash.

TomATE-o, tomAH-to.

Since I live in Australia now, I call it pumpkin. And sometimes I say ‘herb’ with a hard ‘H’. Assimilating – check me out!

I like to roast a small pumpkin or half a large pumpkin at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge to throw into salads, soups and curries throughout the week. It’s best to tackle this whole vegetable in one go (you need a little muscle to hack into these things, so it’s best to chop it all up at once.) Once roasted and ready to go, throwing together meals in pinch is much easier.

Pumpkin is my superstar vegetable. With its rich texture and sweet flavor, it’s filling but relatively low in calories, loaded with fiber and vitamins, and something special happens when you mix it with melted cheese. The pumpkin kind of enhances the flavor of the cheese. Like, cheesy pumpkin tastes more cheesy that other cheese-coated vegetables. Does that make sense?

That’s why it’s easy to trick children into eating vegetables by mixing mashed butternut pumpkin in with mac and cheese. (p.s. I’m going to be such a stealth/good mom.)

These enchiladas are the cheese-covered culmination of a few easy steps. You can prepare most of the elements ahead of time (the sauce, the pumpkin and the caramelized onion) or use what you happen to have in the fridge. If you have sweet potato, go ahead and use that in the place of the pumpkin. Or replace the black beans with lentils or white beans.

I like to make my own enchilada sauce – it’s easy and I usually have the ingredients on-hand. But you can replace it with a salsa that you like or a pre-made enchilada sauce. Go nuts.

Enchilada Sauce
adapted from Emeril Lagasse

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute.
Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Roasted Squash or Pumpkin
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cups squash or pumpkin (I used Japanese pumpkin), cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm chunks
– salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F.
Coat pumpkin in olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until soft and slightly golden.

More hints for roasting pumpkin:
You can roast in larger chunks if it’s too much of a hassle to cut, roasting time will just be longer.
I always roast with the skin on. Once the skin is cooked it’s soft and easy to remove, but not at all unpleasant to eat. I usually just eat it.

Caramelized Onion
– 1 large red onion, cut into thin half-moon shapes
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoons water
– salt

Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add a tablespoon or two of water and cover the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the pan is dry.
Cook until onions are deeply brown/purple (if using red onion) and jammy. Set aside or store in the fridge for up to 3 days (or freeze for up to two months.)

Pumpkin, Black Bean and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas
(Makes 8 enchiladas)
– Olive oil or baking spray, for greasing
– 8 tortillas (I used small ones)
– 2 cups enchilada sauce, divided.
– 1 can (1 1/2 cups) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
– 2 cups roasted pumpkin
– 1/2 cup caramelized onions
– 2-3 tablespoons crumbled queso blanco or feta cheese
– 1/3 cup finely grated cheddar cheese.

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F.
Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce.
Assemble the tortillas with pumpkin, black beans, onion and queso blanco/feta.
Roll  the tortillas and place in the baking dish seam side down.
Repeat 7 more times, packing the rolled tortillas tightly together in the baking dish.
Cover with the remaining sauce.
Sprinkle with cheddar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and a little golden in spots.
Serve with corn salsa, fresh cilantro and a little dollop of sour cream.

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