Tag Archives: onions

Bacon and Carmelized Onion Pinwheels

In my former life when I held dinner parties for adults, rather than kids, I used to pull out every stop to make an impression with some star ingredients. And I think I kind of do the same thing now, but with a more realistic working-mom approach. With that idea I still love to include food that caters to adults, but with flavors that kids will enjoy too. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve come to realize that a few shortcuts that help to make it seem like I’ve fussed a lot, is certainly worth it.

So one of my favorite shortcuts that makes everything fancier is puff pastry dough. You can easily throw anything in there, and it tastes like you’ve slaved for hours because of the buttery richness of the dough. So, this classic pinwheel appetizer marries some wonderful flavors that certainly impress and at the same time is pretty easy to throw together with a kid or two underfoot. I guess I will need post some of my other favorites with puff pastry, like empanadas and custard pies.

Shopping List:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

1 onion, carmelized (see instructions below)

1 cup crumbled cooked center cut bacon (see this post for a simple technique)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 Tablespoons deli mustard

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together the egg and water, then set it aside to use later.

3. Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface to prevent sticking.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each sheet. You want to try and leave a 1/2 inch border on one of the short ends, but otherwise paint a thick layer of this good stuff.

5. Divide the carmelized onion in half and evenly distribute it on top of the mustard.

6. Again, divide the bacon in half and chuck it on top of the onions.

7. Now here’s the tricky part, start rolling it all up from the short end of the pastry. Try and make it as tight as possible, so pull and stretch if you need.

8. Using a serrated knife cut each roll into 1/2 slices. Try to use a gentle sawing motion, so as not to rip the dough. I ended up cutting about 15 slices in each of mine.

9. Place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. The brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top. I ended up baking both sheets at the same time, to save a bit of time, but if you do the same, just make sure to rotate your trays half way through so that the bottom tray gets some sun too. Also, it allows for even baking. Enjoy!

CARMELIZED ONIONS: a lovely base to many a good dish.

In a large saute pan on high heat pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute so that the oil is hot. Meanwhiile slice your onion. Slice them however thick you like, but know that the thinner you slice the faster they carmelize. Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion, and coat it in the oil. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it cook away–ignoring it slightly.  You do want to make sure you stir them, so they brown evenly though. It will take about 30-45 minutes for them to get really sticky, so if you’re short on time, do a big batch to use all week and they will definitely freeze well in a freezer safe bag. Having these on hand certainly comes in handy when at the dinner crunch. You can slap them on a burger or sandwich for sure, or you can plop them on some chicken for French Onion Chicken or use them as the starter to a French Onion Soup or slide them inside a tortilla for an inspired take on a quesadilla. The possiblities are endless.

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Pollo Saltado: Peruvian Stir-Fry

Classic Peruvian Stir-Fry: Pollo Saltado

When the dinner rush is in my face stir-fries are an easy way to satisfy the family fast. Most people are pretty familiar with Asian stir-fries, but the Peruvian version is a little different. It’s still pretty simple; some chicken, some soy sauce and spices, then pile it all on top of some white rice and call it a day. With Peru being the home to more than 300 varieties of potatoes, it’s no surprise that they serve this classic dish with papas fritas, french fries, a sure-fire way into any kid’s heart.

Machu Picchu July 2011

After sampling both chicken and beef versions over the last 10 days, I prefer the beef. Here I’ve included the recipe for chicken. If you want to do lomo it turns out nicely with sirloin steak sliced thin.

Shopping List:

1 1/2 pounds thin-sliced chicken breast, or you can pound yours thin, but at my market they sell for the same price

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup Worchestire sauce

1/2 a red onion, sliced thin

1 red pepper sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes, quartered

4 cloves garlic

1/2 a bag of frozen french fries

1 cup uncooked rice

Instructions:

1. Heat the oven to the appropriate temp for the fries– my bag reads 375. Pop the fries in the oven when it is hot. Set your timer according to the directions. 

2. While the oven is heating, start the rice according to the instructions.

3. In a non-stick pan, heat on low-medium 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the 4 cloves of garlic smashed.

4. Meanwhile, dice the chicken into evenly sized pieces.

5. Once the garlic starts to turn golden, toss in the chicken and crank up the heat to medium -high. Don’t stir it for the first couple of minutes so the chicken also starts to get a nice carmelized look on it.

6.Once the chicken starts to brown, after about 4-5 minutes, add the stock, soy sauce and Worchestire along with the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Cook this an additional 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are fork tender. At this point taste for salt, and add a pinch or two to suit your taste. Done!

7. Pour this all over a bowl of steaming rice and top with the french fries.

Serves 4.