Stuff and Nonsense: garlic & onions

Showing posts with label garlic & onions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garlic & onions. Show all posts


Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

The farm I get my CSA share from is experiencing a bumper crop of onions this year and I've been bringing bunch after bunch home. While I consider alliums the cornerstone of tasty cooking, even I was getting a bit tired of seeing so many onions in my kitchen. It would be one thing if I had an out-of-the-way hook to hang the bunches from or even a drawer to store them in, but I don't and thus they are just piled in a higgledy-piggledy heap in the darkest, coolest kitchen corner.

Which is usually fine, but my anxiety has been steadily ratcheting up lately and visual clutter -- the kitchen counters and dining room table, for example, constantly covered in the random flotsam of life -- is just making it that much worse. So I decided the onions needed to go.

My friend Sara had contributed slow-cooked caramelized onions to the grilled cheese and Secret Hitler party we threw a few weeks ago and that seemed like a brilliant way to use my CSA onions. While I didn't have her recipe, I did have a general understanding of how it should go and decided to wing it ... with very tasty results.

The onions cook long and slow all day, until they have reached golden brown perfection and the entire house smells amazing. While it's not fancy cooking -- not by a long shot -- the end result is so soft and nutty-sweet, who cares? And, hey, that was about a cubic foot of counter space now cleared.

Simple Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions


  • 3 lbs onions
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked pepper


  1. Peel, cut in half, and thinly slice onions -- a food processor with slicing disc is very handy here.
  2. Toss sliced onions with the melted butter, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook for 12 hours on low. The onions will be greatly reduced in volume, but swimming in liquid. Pour off the liquid and freeze for later use in soups or stews.

Three pounds of onions is just what I had on hand and it happened to fill my oval 3½ quart slow cooker. Obviously, adjust the amounts to suit the size of your slow cooker. Also, you could probably omit the butter. I used it because I had a mild concern the onions would burn to the bottom of the slow cooker before they started releasing liquid, but there was so much liquid in the end that it probably wasn't "necessary" to add butter.

So ... what do you do with all these onions? Well, so far, they've into cheddar and roast beef flatbreads, scrambled with eggs and spinach, and also acted as an excellent shortcut for browned onions in a tomato soup recipe ...


Lemon & Garlic Chicken Thighs

Had a quantity of fresh parsley leftover even after the garlicky lemon-parsley sauce I made to jazz up some baked barramundi. While I wasn't quite sure what to do with the leftover parsley, I knew it had to be done soon as parsley just doesn't keep in my fridge (the whole "wrap it in a damp paper towel and store inside a plastic bag" technique doesn't work for me).

As there were chicken thighs in the freezer (when aren't there?) and I had lemon and garlic so I thought "Why not marinade the thighs and then whack them in the oven when I get home from work?" And that is exactly what I did.

I tend to buy boneless chicken thighs more often than not because I find them more flavorful and less expensive than boneless chicken breasts. They're definitely better suited to slow cooking than boneless breasts and even short, high-temp oven excursions suit them better than breasts. Or maybe I just still don't know how to cook boneless breasts properly!

Anyway, this dish is quite lemony so feel free to cut back on the juice and zest! When The Husband first tasted the chicken, he thought he wasn't going to like it because it was too lemony, but he ended up really liking it so ymmv.

Lemon & Garlic Chicken Thighs

Yield: Serves 3-6, depending on appetite


  • 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. Place chicken thighs in a food-safe storage container.
  2. Zest lemon. Cut lemon in half; squeeze lemon juice over chicken. Add zest, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover container and toss to coat. Refrigerate one hour or until ready to cook.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly brush a baking dish with a little olive oil.
  4. Turn the chicken out onto the baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.


Easy Baked Lemon & Parsley Barramundi

This is any easy baked fish recipe made just a little fancy with a lemon and garlic butter sauce. I used fresh parsley, because I'd bought a bunch of it for something ... but I can't remember what that something was and have no notes to guide me. It's also possible I wasn't supposed to buy parsley at all, but thyme. Anyway, feel free to use dried parsley, but the flavor may not be the same.

I know. Everyone's "Parsley is there for garnish, right? It doesn't have a flavor?" but I beg to differ. Parsley tastes fresh and green (like spring) with a little hint of bitterness and can brighten up a dish. I only used the leaves in this recipe, saving the stems to flavor the stock I'll make from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass.

Even though I baked the fish at a high temperature, I didn't cover the barramundi, because I knew the sauce would keep it moist. As expected, the fish came out flaky and moist. Quite lemony and garlicky, obviously, but both flavors compliment rather than overwhelm the flavor of fish.

Baked Lemon & Parsley Barramundi

Yield: 2


  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz barramundi fillets
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove. Whisk in lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Blot fillets dry and place in a baking dish or glass pie plate. Pour butter mixture over fish. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F or until fish flakes easily with a fork and has reached 145°F.
  4. Season with salt to taste, if desired, and serve.


Sorta Fancy Lemon-Garlic Salmon

Picked up a piece of absolutely beautiful wild-caught sockeye salmon at the fish counter yesterday, splurging a little on the price because it's been yonks since I made salmon for supper and the neighboring tuna steaks just didn't "speak" to me.

Who's the prettiest piece of salmon? You are! Yes, you are. So pretty!

I wanted to do something "fancy" with the salmon, but at the same time knew I'd be running on fumes after work and completely incapable of anything too grand. I need faux fancy. I needed butter. And herbs.

All dressed up and ready to visit the oven.

My initial idea was to soften the butter, not melt it, but I wasn't paying enough attention (don't unpack a very exciting Zazzle delivery while trying to cook after a tiring day in the library mines) and so melted butter is what I ended up with. I threw in all the usual flavors -- garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary -- and then decided to add some marjoram for that extra bit of something. A dash of je ne sais quoi, if you will.

The finished dish turned out quite deliciously. The salmon was, at ten minutes, perfectly cooked to our tastes and the lemon-garlic-herb butter was bright and flavorful in a completely complimentary-not-overwhelming way. I'd worried I'd gone too heavy on the lemon for The Husband, but he was perfectly happy and left nothing behind.

Lemon-Garlic Roasted Salmon

Yield: 2-4, depending on greed


  • 1 lb salmon fillet
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush a pie plate or baking dish with olive oil.
  3. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Cut the salmon into two to four (I did two, because I'm a greedy so-and-so) similarly-sized portions. Place them, skin-side down, in the pie plate.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Spread butter mixture over salmon pieces, trying to distribute it evenly across all pieces.
  5. Roast salmon, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily and has reached 145°F.



Around Connecticut: CT Garlic Festival! Again!

Fifteen minutes after arriving at the 2014 Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, my basket was already heavy with garlicky loot and, one hour in, it was too heavy to comfortably carry. Perhaps I should start bringing two baskets? Or a backpack for The Husband?! Yesh, he shall be my beast of burden. (I'm certain that was somewhere in our marriage vows. Love, honor, and carry sacks of garlic? Well, if it wasn't then it certainly should have been!)

What did I buy?
Yes, that's three bottles of garlic vinegar! What was I thinking? I was thinking that I didn't have any left at home and, as they each tasted uniquely good, it only made sense to buy all three. I really wanted a bottle of garlic-infused olive oil, but while I sampled several none were garlicky enough for me. Seriously, to my (possibly over-garlicked) senses they neither smelt nor tasted of garlic. I guess I'll just have to make my own!

I do have plenty of garlic and olive oil on hand. Why not make my own garlic oil???

(Lest you think CT Garlic Festival was all about shopping we did share several yummy edibles I couldn't be arsed to photograph before gobbling up and listened to a toe-tapping performance by the Al Fenton Big Band).


Around Connecticut: 8th Annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival

We attended the 8th Annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival on Saturday and, as usual, arrived back home with tummies and totes full of garlic. This year, I finally broke down and bought a proper shopping basket. Every time we go to a festival like this or a farmers market or a picnic I regret not owning a deep, narrow, handled basket shopping basket. Well, they had baskets in spades at the Garlic Festival and one was purple and green, so ... I bought a basket. And, in under an hour, it was full to the brim.

CT Garlic & Harvest Festival Loot

What did I buy? Darlings, it's more like what didn't I buy! I bought:

CT Garlic & Harvest Festival Loot

We also ate many delicious things, including a fabulous lemongrass chicken bahn mi from Lemon Grass Grill (out of Somewhere, New York) topped with homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise, pickled carrots, daikon radish, cucumber, and cilantro. It was even better than I'd remembered and I look forward to eating another one next year. (Surely someplace in Hartford County sells good bahn mi and I don't have to wait a whole year for another one?)

This was our fifth year at the CT Garlic Festival and I still can't get over how big it's getting. Every year, there were so many more vendors and visitors than the previous year and, after a couple hours, I find myself completely overwhelmed by the crowds. We arrived at 10:30 and the Festival was already hopping. By the time we left at 1:30, the place felt packed to the rafters. I know this is a good thing as it means the Festival is unlikely to fail, but it can be exhausting if you're a very short woman who doesn't like crowds.

Clearly, next year we will arrive at 10 on the dot. And I will bring two shopping baskets.


Italian Homework: Easy Appetizers

I’m taking an introductory Italian cooking class through an online learning service, Universal Class, offered by my public library. It’s all self-paced and I have six months to complete the course. So far, the lessons have all be about the factual rather than practical. I’ve learned a little bit about the different regions of Italy and their culinary specialties, the basic staples of an Italian kitchen, and whatnot. Some of it I already knew -- I was weaned on PBS cooking shows, you know -- but it was a good refresher and filled in some gaps.

Anyway, I’m on “Lesson 4: Easy Italian Appetizers” and finally got to cook! I had to make two appetizers -- one hot, one cold. Being lazy, I chose to go the simple route and make melon wedges wrapped in prosciutto for the cold appetizer:
Slice a melon in half. Remove and discard the seeds and cut the melon into eighths. Carefully cut the rinds away from each slice then wrap each melon slice with one slice of prosciutto. Plate prettily. Nom.

Proscuitto Wrapped Melon (Indiglow)

It was good, but a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and drizzle of balsamic vinegar made it better! The combination of sweet-salt-spicy-sour was delicious and I wish I'd been eating this dish all summer.

For my hot appetizer, I went with roasted garlic on toast rounds, because it’s cheap and easy. Also, I love garlic. And bread. And garlic bread ...
Whack the top off 2 heads of garlic so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place each head in the center of a square of tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Wrap foil loosely around heads, put on a cookie sheet, and bake at 450°F for 50 min. Drain the oil into a storage container (fab stuff for dipping bread or using in a salad dressing, by the way). Scoop the garlic cloves out of the head and spread on slices of toasted baguette. Nom!

Roasted Garlic w/ Garlic Bread

For this dish, I used a crusty carmelized-garlic loaf I picked up at Hill-Stead's Farmers Market. It was baked by Wave Hill Breads and was studded with cloves of roasted garlic. Combined with the roasted garlic heads, it was totes fab. Really. I served it with a hearty beef stew, but I would have been happy just eating it all on its own.

As I said, I have six months to finish the course, but I’m already itching to get it done -- not because I’m not enjoying it (I am so enjoying it!), but because I really want to sign up for “Spanish Cooking 101,” “Tex-Mex Cooking 101,” and “How to Bake Pies.” I want to make tortilla española and awesome chimichangas, and get over my fear of scratch-made pie crusts. While I am allowed to take five classes at a time, I’m not silly enough to believe I could cope with more than two and I’m currently also taking “Bird Watching 101.” Yes, bird watching. Because birds are also totes fab.

But so is pie!