This is like French Onion Soup, but better. I didn’t think it was possible to top the original, but this does. Balsamic makes everything a bit better. This soup is a little on the sweeter side than traditional onion soup, but the balsamic vinegar and tamari help balance that out. I also thought that the addition of the mustard made the flavor really interesting as well. The other great thing about this recipe is that it is a lot less work and a lot faster than making traditional French Onion Soup. The only thing I didn’t really like was the swiss cheese. It was a little bland. I think Gruyère might be an improvement or a really sharp white cheddar would be even better.
Caramelized Balsamic-Red Onion Soup With Cheese-Topped Croutons Adapted from Serious Eats
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium gluten free tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices of bread (I used a gluten-free baguette from Whole Foods)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
Heat a large pot over medium heat for one minute. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and then add the butter. Once it melts, add the sliced onions and salt, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard, stir well, and cook for five minutes.
Pour in the broth, and turn the heat to high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for five minutes. Carefully remove the sheet, and turn on the broiler. Divide the cheese between the slices of bread. Set the sheet under the broiler for however long it takes to melt the cheese, about 30 seconds. Remove the sheet, turn off the heat, and set aside.
Season the soup with black pepper and, if needed, more salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a crouton. Serve immediately.
Let’s talk about leftovers. They just never seem to go away. Thanks to a nifty turkey curry, all of our turkey is gone, but we still have a ton of other things left. Our sweet potatoes seem to be multiplying in the fridge. We made a great horseradish sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving. The horseradish gave the potatoes a little bite that went perfectly with the blue cheese and balsamic onions. Any sweet potatoes will work though. Overall the combination of flavors were perfect. Tortillas are a really great tool for transforming leftovers. Using the sweet potatoes in a quesadilla not only was a great way to use up your leftovers, but it makes for a quick lunch or an easy appetizer to share.
Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Balsamic Onions
1/4 onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
2 tortillas (I used corn)
Leftover cranberry sauce, for serving
Take the finely sliced onion and place in a shallow bowl. Pour in enough balsamic vinegar to cover the onions and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. (Save the vinegar for another use, like vinaigrette or marinade.)
Heat tortillas in a pan over medium-high heat.
Reheat sweet potatoes and spread over one of the heated tortillas. Top with blue cheese, walnuts and onions.
Place other tortilla on top and slice into quarters (pizza cutters are great for this).
I used to always ignore those random stands of recipe cards in the produce section at the grocery store. I just assumed that the recipes would not be any good. I have since become a bit obsessed with them. Most of the ones I have attempted have turned out really well and they are free. Free is always nice. This recipe came from the grocery store and it is tasty enough to warrant sharing. It would be a great and easy side dish for a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.
I had only used pearl onions once or twice before I made this. I like pretty much any onion in pretty much any form. The recipe calls for fresh pearl onions to be used. That’s all fine and well, but I have enough issues with peeling and chopping the fresh ones, so to make it easy on myself and maintain fully attached fingers, I used frozen. SO easy.
Parmesan Pearl Onions From a recipe card from Von’s/Safeway.
1-10 ounce/280g package of fresh or frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup/125 ml freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup/125 ml half-and-half
1 tablespoon/15 ml flour
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml salt
1/4 teaspoon/1 ml Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml pepper
1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml paprika
Cook onions in boiling water to cover, 1 minute; remove onions from water and plunge into ice water; peel if using fresh pearl onions.
Arrange onions in a lightly greased 1-quart (1-litre) baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Combine half-and-half, flour, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; stir well and pour over onions. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake 15 minutes or until tender.
The other night at book club my friend Jess brought me the biggest zucchini I have ever seen. They were from her garden and she insisted that they were two of the smaller ones…
I was really tempted to make zucchini pizza again, but I decided to be daring and different and try something new: zucchini parmesan! Chicken parmesan has always been one of my favorite meals, so I was interested in trying it with zucchini. I saw a recipe floating around Pinterest and decided to go for it.
I used a smoked mozzarella (it was on sale, regular mozz was not) and I think it really made the dish. I also used my favorite pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic) and had a little on the side for dipping since I thought the topping was a bit dry. Even though the top part was dry, the zucchini part was pretty watery and unfortunately most of the bigger ones seemed to just fall apart on me. If I was to make this again, I think I would stick to smaller zucchini like the original recipe used. I feel like the bigger zucchini got too watery and ended up being more of a mess than it was worth. The smaller circles definitely held together much better.
1 large ball or block fresh mozzarella (about 4 1/2 ounces)
small handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
Sprinkle slices of zucchini with a small pinch of coarse salt and freshly-cracked black pepper on each side.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, lightly dredge the zucchini slices in the flour, tapping them on the side of the bowl to shake off excess flour. Heat 1/4? oil in a large skillet over high heat. When a pinch of flour sizzles on contact, add the zucchini slices in a single layer, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about one and a half minutes on each side or until dark golden brown. Transfer the zucchini to paper towels to drain. Repeat in batches until all of your zucchini it is cooked, adding more oil as necessary.
In a 13 x 9 baking dish (or oven-proof skillet), arrange as many slices of zucchini as can fit snugly in a single layer. Top each slice with a small spoonful of tomato sauce, a few small pieces of torn mozzarella, a bit of basil and a dusting of parmesan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and begun to turn a golden color. Remove from oven, and garnish with additional torn basil. Serve immediately.
I know I say this a lot, but this is seriously one of the best dishes I’ve had recently. It brings together 3 of my favorite things, so I knew it was going to be good, I just had no idea how good. If I had to one thing for the rest of my life, this dish would be among the top contenders. I probably could have let the cheese in the melt a bit more, but the mushrooms and onions were starting to get pretty well done. I used white button mushrooms and baby bellas because that is what I had on hand. I thought they worked perfectly. I served this as a side for a simple baked chicken recipe, but I think it would also be great with steak or as a great addition to a salad.
Gorgonzola-Roasted Mushrooms and Onions Adapted from here.
3/4 pound mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 ounces Gorgonzola Dolce, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms and onions with the oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, tossing once. Sprinkle the vegetables with the thyme and toss. Sprinkle with the Gorgonzola and roast for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Transfer to plates and serve.
I have been pretty obsessed with roasted broccoli for the last few months. I have been looking for as many different ways to prepare it as possible. This has become on of my favorites. I usually just use kalamatas with this dish, but I had a handful of green olives left, so I threw them in to use them up as well. They made a great addition. The red pepper flakes are totally optional, but I think they give a nice little edge to the dish. I also really like to throw pasta sauce over this to make a heartier side dish (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce is my favorite). It’s also quite good with pasta sauce and polenta to make a full meal.
Roasted Broccoli & Olives
1 large head broccoli
1 cup kalamata olives
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon finely grated cheese (I used asiago)
red pepper flakes, to taste
Heat oven to 425F.
Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces. Place in a plastic bag and add olives, garlic powder and olive oil. Toss to coat and pour onto rimmed baking sheet.
Place baking sheet in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until broccoli is lightly browned and tender.
Put broccoli and olives in serving dish. Squeeze lemon juice and grate cheese over broccoli. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the dish to taste.
This salad combines 4 of my favorite things; halloumi, olives, potatoes and tomatoes, how could you possibly go wrong? Roasting olives and tomatoes really help bring out there flavors and together, they were even better. The rosemary really added a lot of great flavor as well.
With the one exception of having to turn on the oven on an extremely hot day, this made for a perfect light and tasty summer meal. I found that the potatoes were a little dry when you cut them to eat. I think adding some extra liquid or broth with help this situation. Also, make sure your tomatoes have popped, so they can add a little extra liquid as well.
Chargrilled Halloumi with Rosemary & Olive Potatoes From BBC Good Food
1 pound baby new potato, any bigger ones halved
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
few sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
6 ounces jar Kalamata olives, drained
8 ounces cherry plum tomatoes
5 Tablespoons white wine
1-400g pack halloumi cheese, thickly sliced
4 ounces mixed baby lettuce, to serve
Heat the oven to 425F/220C Put the potatoes on a large baking tray and toss with 1 teaspoon oil. Roast for 25 minutes until golden and tender. Turn once during cooking.
Toss the tomatoes, garlic, olives and rosemary into the pan, splash over the wine and roast for another 5 minutes until the tomato skins are popping.
Grill or griddle the halloumi until golden, then serve with the vegetables and a handful of lettuce
Shucking clams is a ridiculous process, especially when one does not have a shucking knife. I will admit this is a recipe I will probably never make again. It was quite tasty, but shucking clams just isn’t an everyday activity. The best part of this recipe was the topping that went on the clams. If I could find a way to put that topping on everything and anything I definitely would. It had a delicious blend of shallot and garlic and cheese, which is pretty much all I need in life.
There are a million variations of clams casino, but I liked this one because it was gluten free from the get go. Nearly every other recipe I saw included breadcrumbs. Most gluten free breadcrumbs don’t stand up to high heat, so this one was perfect. The parmesan on top definitely get it a slight crunch, so the breadcrumbs weren’t even needed.
18 medium (2 1/2-inch) littleneck clams, shucked, bottom shells reserved
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic, and oregano to the same skillet and saute until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir the reserved pancetta and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with foil. Arrange the clams in the reserved shells on the baking sheet. Spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake until the clams are just cooked through and the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.
This is another great hot weather meal. You can grill the chicken outside or skip the cooking all together and use rotisserie chicken from the store. The salad has a lot of flavor and is a nice blend of sweet and tangy. It’s also very light, which is perfect for a hot night
Chicken Salad With Grapes and Blue Cheese
Adapted from Real Simple
2 small heads Boston or Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup (about 1/4 pound) green grapes, halved
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced or rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, onion, grapes, and blue cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Divide the salad and chicken among plates. Serve with the vinaigrette.
I have had a block of halloumi hidden in my cheese drawer for a few months now. Yes, I hoard cheese. And yes, I am fully aware this is not normal behavior, but if you have ever had halloumi, you know it’s worth saving until an amazing recipe comes along. This salad is amazing! Amazing I tell you! I knew I was going to like it since most of my favorite ingredients are in it. There is no possible way to not enjoy halloumi. It’s hearty enough for a vegetarian main dish, light enough to serve as a side and endlessly adaptable. I definitely plan to make this again and again this summer. If you can’t find halloumi easily, you could easily substitute feta. You could add a million other things to bring in more flavor to the dish. I think capers, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar, spinach, chorizo (or soyrizo), the options are endless. I cooked my lentils in water this time (I was out of broth and bouillon cubes!) and I thought the flavor was still great, but cooking the lentils in vegetable broth would probably make it even better.
* – Halloumi, at least in my town can be difficult to find and expensive as hell. If you happen to live in around the Santa Barbara area, I highly recommend getting your halloumi at the European Deli & Market. It’s right where State Street turns in to Hollister. It’s a great little market and has tons of amazing Eastern European/Russia/Middle Eastern things that are usually hard to find in Santa Barbara. Best of all, they several brands of halloumi and it’s over 3 bucks cheaper than the ‘gourmet’ groceries stores in the area.
Lentil, Cherry Tomato & Halloumi Salad
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lemons, juiced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
150g/ 1 1/3 cups Puy lentils
1 pack halloumi cheese, cut into chunks
a small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
Toss the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl.
Cook the lentils until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl. Season well and toss.
Grill the halloumi until golden. Stir the coriander through the lentils and serve with the halloumi.