Friday, June 11, 2010

Melted Onion Crostini

Do you read Culinate? It's a magazine that might change how you think about food. It did for me. The recipes they post there are clean and simple and good. I will admit that neither of the shortbread recipes I tried worked, but millet cookies, polenta, and red sauce have been home runs. But more than that, the site provides an absolute ton of inspiration for me.

Not always, perhaps, the way it's intended.

I saw this recipe for Marmalade of Spring Greens not long ago and thought it sounded really good. Unfortunately, it was early in the morning before I was really awake, and I misread the title. The picture still made sense with what I read - Marmalade of Spring Onions - so I bookmarked it and went on with my day.

When I came back to it a few days later and read the ingredients, I was more than a little confused - there weren't even onions in the list. My way sounded better to me at the moment, though, so I pulled out the spring onions, a leek, a baguette, and a bit of salt. The onions and leek went into a pan on low heat. To melt.

Have you ever melted onions or leeks? It's fantastic. It brings out the sweetness and softness of the onion and makes the flavor deeper.

When I tasted it at the end, though, it needed cheese. Honestly, though, what doesn't taste better with cheese? A tiny sliver of pepper jack went on top of the baguette slice. I would like to tell you that the pepper jack was an inspired choice. The truth, though, is that pepper jack was what I had in my fridge. It did end up working out perfectly, though.

The verdict? I have been graciously permitted to make these whenever I want. In husband-speak, that's a euphemism for "These are really effen good and I love them and you."

You'll have to take my word on that one.

Melted Onion Crostini
6 slices baguette
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 bunch young red onions, sliced
1 small leek, sliced
1/2 t salt
6 slices pepper jack, thinly sliced

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and salt to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, cook the onion mixture until greatly reduced in volume, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Cut the baguette into six slices and top each with a thin slice of cheese. Mound the onion marmalade on top. Serve.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

The weather is very June-like. Only more so. I saw a bit on the news last week. As of June 4, we'd already met the average rainfall quota for the entire month of June. Four days in, we had 2.14 inches of rain mucking about. Most of it is in my tomatoes, and they're angry and yellowing and generally bad tempered.

But today, between the very un-Seattle-like driving rain, there were sunbreaks. And so I'm declaring it Almost Nice. And when it's Almost Nice, I can cook Food That is Good for Almost Nice Weather. It's a separate section of the food world and things like Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Stir Frys (Fries?) live there.

But I don't have a wok, because I have no where to store it. I had a spot, then I got a food processor, and so Stir Fry is out and Shrimp Fra Diavolo it is.

Because it was Almost Nice, I also went for a run (which was crap, because I know you're super curious). This dish is doubly fantastic because it's incredibly satisfying without making me feel like I completely invalidated all my running.

Unfortunately, we were too impatient to wait and so there's no picture of this on a plate. Rest assured, though, that we did eat this off plates.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Serves 4
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 c shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c chopped fresh tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 c white wine
1 t oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz spaghettini
2 T parsley, chopped
1 t dried red pepper flakes

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, then set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add garlic and both onions and cook until they're translucent.
  3. Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, wine, and oregano to the pan and stir to combine. Stir in the salt and pepper, and simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft and sauce has thickened. Mine took roughly 20 minutes.
  4. Add the parsley, red pepper flakes, spaghettini, and the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Progression of squares

Ages and ages and ages ago, I posted pictures of fabric. I didn't do anything with it until recently because my dining room table was covered in laundry or camping gear or any number of things I didn't want to be bothered with.

We don't often eat at the dining room table. We're more "sit on the floor by the coffee table" type people.

Then the laundry went away, and the camping gear went away and the table was clear. And bits of fabric became blocks for a quilt.

Bit by bit, I'm cutting them down and sewing them together again.

Because I'm a rebel, I'm not using a pattern (read: I can't be bothered to find a pattern I like). It might come back to haunt me, but for the time being, I'm happy with my progress.

There's been more since these, and there will be scads more before I'm done, but for the time being, I'm happy with the progress, and it's good to have a project going again instead of sitting there, mocking me for not clearing off the dining table.