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    Entries in colours (with a u) (15)

    Tuesday
    Jan082013

    Sweet Emotion

    It's a new year and we're Back in the Saddle and I'm Livin' on the Edge with my crock pot.

    For some reason I've had one line from an Aerosmith song popping into my head for the last week. One line. One. Over and over. At all times of the day for no reason. Strangely it's somewhat appropriate to this post. I mean caramelized onions are delciously sweet in a savoury way. And you'll be Cryin'. A lot.

    But they're really easy to make. Especially in a crock pot. Really, it's the perfect way. Caramelized onions require long slow heat, no crisping, and butter. Lots of butter.

    Crock Pot Caramelized Onions

    • 8 smallish onions
    • 6 - 8 tbsp butter

    No More No More. I suppose you could add a bit of Uncle Salty, but the butter is salted, and that was enough for me to Draw the Line.

    Okay, okay, I'll Stop Messin Around.

    Slicing the onions is the only hard part. You're going to feel totally Crazy (sorry, had to) for slicing eight onions in a row, but it's totally worth it. There are a few little things that can make life a bit easier for the 15 minutes or so it takes.

    First, don't cut the onion until you absolutely have to. Peel the outer layers off by hand under running water,

    and dump them into a sink full of water.

    There are sulphur compounds in onions that are extreme eye irritants, but diluting them with water will minimize the effect. (Seriously, do you have any idea how many Aerosmith songs are about crying?)

    Once the onion is peeled, slice a small amount off the side to make a flat side for it to sit on. You'll do less actual slicing of the onion this way than you will if you cut it in half first.

    When you start slicing, toss the end in the water filled sink with the peels.

    And use a wet paper towel to wipe off the knife and to cover the slices while you do other things. 

    Like drop in small blobs of butter between each onion layer.

    One onion, one tablespoon of butter.

    Pack as many layers into the pot as you can

    because the onions will reduce in volume dramatically.

    If you set the heat to low, they'll need about 18 hours to get that lovely dark mohogany colour.

    If you're impatient, you can use high heat and they'll only take 12. Yes, it sounds like a long time, but you get to ignore them entirely while they're in there. If you do these on the stove, you're looking at 45 to 60 minutes of standing and staring at a pan. I will happily ignore most things for 12 hours.

    I imagine you're wondering why the hell I'd make a whole crock pot full of caramelized onions...

    Well, for one thing, they take 12 to 18 hours to cook, and starting dinner that far in advance? Fucking hilarious. I'm lucky if I can plan dinner that far ahead.

    Besides, they freeze beautifully.

    And then you can have them on a steak, or as a starter for some kind of fabulous sauce, or for French onion soup on a whim.

    Or, you could eat them with a spoon. They really are that good.

    What's the craziest thing you've made in your crock pot?

     

    Monday
    Oct082012

    Black Beans 

    do not have to come from a can.

    And if you have freshly made roasted tomato salsa, they'll taste that much better.

    It's really not much more work to make your own beans than it is to open a can. And while that may be convenient, it will never be as flavourful as beans that are slowly simmered in broth with carefully selected seasonings.

    And by carefully selected, I mean yanked from the fridge.

    Tinned beans are usually made with water and way too much salt. Making them yourself lets you control the sodium and boost up the flavour.

    AKA Turn down the suck and turn up the good

    Best Black Beans

    What you need:

    • about 3 cups of chicken broth
    • about 1 cup of salsa (or, tomatoes, onions, chiles, etc to make one cup)
    • about 1 c black beans
    • about 1 lime

    What you gotta do:

    Put it all in the crock pot.

    Broth, then salsa, then beans.

    Cook it on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4.

    I never soak my beans first because I really want the colour that they give to the liquid. 

     

    I squeeze in the lime juice at the end for a bit of brightness in the flavour.

    Scoop out what you need to go on the side of your fabulous chicken dinner. Okay, it was just a bit of chicken breast chopped and sauteed with cayenne and lime juice, and a "salad" of lettuce with salsa and cheese on top, but hey! when you put it all together on the plate with the beans... it turns into a fabulous chicken dinner!

    The rest of the beans... I left them in the crock pot, added some leftover rice and a bit of shredded chicken and called it soup!

    You could also mash them up a bit for an awesome burrito filling.

    Or, just eat them with a spoon.

    I love beans. It's a little weird how much I do, but, well, look who's talking here.

    What food do you love?