Thursday, February 21, 2008

Really Onion Dip

3 medium onions, 2 unpeeled, 1 peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 scallions (white and green parts), minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Potato chips, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rub unpeeled onions with a bit of the olive oil; roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Cool and peel.

Finely dice the peeled raw onion. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add remaining oil and heat until quite hot. Add diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn to medium-low and cook until onion is golden brown, about 18 minutes. Scrape onion, oil, and juices into a sieve over a bowl. Drain onions and spread on a paper towel-lined plate. Cool the strained oil.

Puree roasted onions in a food processor. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, and salt; pulse until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of the flavored reserved oil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in scallions, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Scatter the fried onions over the top just before serving with potato chips.

Soft Pretzels

1 loaf frozen white bread dough, thawed
Flour, for dusting surface
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup coarse salt

Topping options, recipes follow
Divide dough into 14 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 16-inch rope, and then form into a pretzel shape. Transfer dough to the refrigerator until ready to boil.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add pretzels, 3 at a time, and cook until pretzels rise to the surface, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Arrange pretzels 3 inches apart on buttered sheet pans. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse salt or with choice of toppings. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

Topping Options:
For garlic cheese pretzels:
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Roll out dough into ropes, form into pretzels, and poach as directed above. Arrange on buttered sheet pans, brush with beaten egg, as directed above. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garlic powder. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

For cinnamon pretzels:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon with 1 to 2 tablespoons water (enough water to make a glaze). Set aside. Roll out dough into ropes, form into pretzels, and poach as directed above. Just before baking, brush pretzels with honey. Remove pretzels from oven, and while still warm, brush with cinnamon-sugar glaze.

Cocktail Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons Creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup grated yellow onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, except the oil and butter. Mix well with your hands. Form into individual meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter. In a large skillet, heat the oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning until brown on all sides. Transfer to a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar and combine. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound andouille sausage, diced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound frozen peeled and cooked shrimp, thawed
2 cups cooked rice

In a slow cooker, combine chicken, sausage, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, celery, and chicken broth. Stir in oregano, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, bay leaves, and thyme.

Cover, and cook on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours. Stir in the thawed shrimp, cover and cook until the shrimp is heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves and spoon mixture over cooked rice.