Archive for: onion
Quick breads are breads that are made without yeast, hence they are “quick” to prepare. You probably think of banana bread or pumpkin bread when you think of a quick bread, as sweet quick breads are a brunch staple, but there are many savory quick breads out there that make a nice addition to other meals – like this Cheddar Onion Quick Bread. The bread mixes up in a few minutes and bakes in less than an hour, which means that you can even fit it in on a busy weeknight to have fresh, homemade bread along with dinner.
This bread could not be any easier to make, and the resulting loaf is delicious. It has a light, but moist, crumb and packs in a lot of flavor. The onions cook right in the bread, so you get a very sweet onion flavor in the finished bread, which compliments the cheddar cheese nicely. Both sweet onions and regular onions will work beautifully. I tend to use sweet onions, but use what you have on hand. The cheddar also adds a few streaks of orange here and there in the loaf for color as well as flavor.
This recipe could be easily adapted to use other types of cheese – pepper jack would be something spicier, for instance – to suit your preferences and what you have on hand. However you make it, it goes well with all kinds of savory dishes – and since it is so easy to throw together, there is really never a bad time to whip up a loaf. I like to keep it simple and serve it with soups and salads. Classic tomato soup and gazpacho are two of my favorite pairings with this bread. It is good plain and even better when you smear it with a little bit of butter. The bread can be sliced and toasted, as well, to add a little crunch to it.
Onions have a sweet flavor and a wonderfully tender texture to them when they’re cooked. Onions are a big flavoring component of many dishes and sauces, but they’re not always included in something like a loaf of bread. This Braided Sweet Onion Bread is a soft yeast bread that is stuffed with sweet, buttery onions for a loaf that will give ever-popular garlic bread a real run for its money.
The bread is a lightly sweetened loaf that has a soft, fluffy crumb. The dough is divided into thirds, and each piece of dough is stuffed with an onion filling, then the pieces are braided together to form the finished loaf. It can be a little tricky getting the buttery onion mixture fully enclosed in the dough (your last section will probably be a little better than your first; practice helps a lot!), but a few stray pieces of onion is nothing to worry about and won’t impact the finished loaf.
The onion filling is made by gently sauteing some garlic in a little bit of butter and then tossing the mixture over some uncooked, diced onions. Sweet onions are sweet just as they are and don’t need to be precooked, while regular white and yellow onions are usually cooked to draw out their sweetness. In this recipe, the onions actually cook as the bread bakes, so there is no need to cook the onions in advance. Sweet Vidalia or Hawaiian onions are definitely my favorites for this recipe, but you can substitute other types of onion if you don’t have sweet onions. The onion flavor will be a little more potent with other onions (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and the bread will be a touch more savory overall.
The bread has a real wow factor to it. This is partly because the large, braided loaf is very pretty, but also because the moist, flavorful fulling makes a great contrast to the slightly sweet bread surrounding it. I originally made it to accompany some homemade tomato soup, but the bread goes well with just about everything. Include it in breakfast alongside eggs and bacon, slice it for a sandwich or just spread a little bit of butter on top and enjoy it on its own.
Focaccia is a great yeast bread to learn to make. It doesn’t require any special shaping and it requires only a short rising time. It is also versatile. You can eat it almost straight out of the oven, while it is still crispy on the outside and hot and soft inside, but you can also bake it a day in advance and use it for sandwiches or panini.
This Onion Focaccia is one of my favorites. Diced onions are incorporated directly into the bread dough and more are sprinkled on top before baking. The onions that are inside of the bread bake up to be very sweet and tender, while those on top of the bread caramelize and brown in the oven, adding another layer of flavor. I typically use dried rosemary on this bread because it goes very well with the onion. You can use finely chopped fresh rosemary, if you have it, but dried rosemary tends to be handier if you don’t grow your own herbs.
This bread is easy to mix by hand, but things will go a little bit faster if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. Once the dough is mixed and risen, you’ll just turn it out into the pan to press it into shape. Focaccia usually has a dimpled surface. To achieve this look, use your fingertips and press the dough outward toward the edges of your pan, spreading it gently and gradually. The dough will look thin when it has been spread out, but it will still rise perfectly in the oven.
Stuffing – also known as dressing, depending on what part of the country you’re from and what your family traditions are – is a traditional Thanksgiving side dish made with bread and seasoned with spices and vegetables, either baked inside the turkey or cooked on the side. I am a firm believer that stuffing should have both a simple ingredient list and a crispy top – and in light of that latter restriction, it’s probably obvious I prefer stuffing cooked outside of a turkey. The contrast between a moist interior and a toasted, oven-browned topping is pretty much what makes stuffing worth having at the dinner table.
In the past, I’ve made vegetarian stuffing and maple cornbread stuffing. This year, inspired by the french onion soup I recently made, I opted to make caramelized onions the centerpiece of my stuffing. It doesn’t take too much time to caramelize the onions, and once they’re done and the celery has been briefly sauteed, everything can be mixed together and put into the baking dish until it’s ready to be put in the oven. I generally make the stuffing up either the night before I’m going to bake it or while the turkey is in the oven, then I just slide it in to the preheated oven while the turkey is resting and being sliced.
You can use just about any kind of bread for this stuffing recipe. I like a plain, sandwich type of bread because it provides the cleanest slate for the flavors of the onion. Whole grain or multi grain breads will work well too, although I wouldn’t choose a bread with a very thick “rustic” crust (those tend to be better on their own and make the stuffing less uniform).
For this month’s French themed Is My Blog Burning event, hosted by Cucina Testa Rossa, I wanted something simple. I also wanted to make a tart. Unfortunately, the two don’t always seem to go hand in hand, but with the use of some store-bought puff pastry, I was able to make a delicious, simple and very French tart.
Alsatian Onion Tart is a traditional dish from the Alsace region of France. And no wonder it is a favorite that has stood the test of time. You cannot beat the flavor of the ingredients and it is easy to make variations by changing the type of crust or adding a few flecks of flavor to the filling. My father speaks fondly of a pub he ate at in France that served nothing by beer and onion tarts.
The tart had a delicious, sweet onion flavor, though the pastry didn’t get nearly as crisp as I expected, due in part to the low oven temperature. Suprisingly, I actually really enjoyed it this way, as the onions seemed to meld fantastically with the buttery pastry. I made the tart both with and without bacon and it is excellent both ways. I prefet it without bacon, but it’s a matter of personal preference. The bacon makes the tart a bit salty, so take care not to over-salt. I lightly salted the top of the tart – the part without bacon – when I put it into the oven instead of adding salt to the onion mixture after cooking. This worked out perfectly. Don’t cook the bacon unti it is crisp, since it will cook further in the oven.
My only question about the recipe was about how much “4 very large onions” was? I wonder if my onions – which were over a pound each – constituted “very large onions” or were so large as to be in a class by themselves. I trusted my judgment, which led me to put them in the latter category and used only 2 onions. It turned out that I had plenty of onion to work with, so I’m giving the weight, not the number of onions, in the recipe below. The only change I made to the recipe was that I omitted the cream. Truthfully, I completely forgot to add the cream. I don’t think the tart missed it, but feel free to put it in.
I highly recommend reserving the cooking liquid when you drain the onions. You will have about 2 cups and it makes a fabulous addition for soups or as a cooking liquid for just about anything.