Asparagus Quesadilla

Another winner from Nopalito! These may be the best ‘Dillas I’ve ever had. Perfect for lunch!!

Ingredients:
1 onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, mined 
salt
1 binch of asparagus, sliced into thin coins
Corn tortillas
12 oz shredded Oaxacan or Jack cheese
Queso fresco, crumbled
Cilantro leaves
Salsa

In a large pan heat 1 tbsp oil over medium cook the onions, garlic and jalapeño until soft, stir in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes or until bright green.

Prepare a griddle or large pan, spread 1/3 c Oaxacan cheese on a tortilla, top with Asparagus filling top with a little more cheese and a tortilla. Cook on each side until cheese is melted.

Top with cilantro, queso fresco and salsa.

Serves 4.

Cold Asparagus Soup

  
This is a great light spring soups. I make it when I overbuy asparagus.

Ingredients:
2 spring onions or leeks, sliced thin
1 lb asparagus, sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 c veggie stock
1 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp heavy cream
Greek yogurt

In a large pot heat the butter over medium heat, add onions and asparagus, sauté for 4 minutes. Add stock, salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Purée, add cream and chill. 

Serve with Greek yogurt.

Serves 6.

Chicken with Sumac and Onions

  
Another winner from Ottolenghi! This chicken dish is easy, packed with flavor and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Start the chicken in the morning and bake it when you get home.

Ingredients
2 lb chicken thighs
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
scant 1 c chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp za’atar
6 tbsp pine nuts toasted
4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, minced

In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt, and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced well apart. Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions and put the pan in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is colored and just cooked through.

Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac.

Serves 4 – 6.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Yogurt

 This one is from the Food52.com cookbook. I love yogurt and pasta together – bring in sweet carmazlied onions and you’ve got perfection.

5 TBSP olive oil
6 c coarsely chopped onions
Salt
1 lb pasta
2 c thick, Greek yogurt
1 c pecorino romano, grated

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently and seasoning with salt to taste as you go, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package.

Reserve 1/2 c pasta water. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 c cooking water and mix well. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your thickness. Drain the pasta and toss with the yogurt mixture. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with caramelized onions and their juices.

Serves 4 – 6.

Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Onions

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Another winner from Ottolenghi! I used my air fryer to make the onions, if you have simply toss the onions with a little oil and the spices then cook at 360 for about 8’minutes, shaking the basket a couple times. If you don’t have one follow the recipe below. I served the eggplant with turkey burgers – yummy!

Ingredients:
2 large eggplants
2/3 c olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 green chiles
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
1 3/4 oz feta cheese, broken into large chunks
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed

Preheat oven to 425.

Halve the eggplants lengthwise with the stems on. Score the cut side of each eggplant with a crisscross pattern. Brush the cut sides with oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet, cut side up, for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is golden brown.

Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and place over high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, so that parts of the onion get dark and crisp. Seed and chop the chiles, keeping the whole chile separate from the half. Add the ground cumin, sumac, and the whole chopped chile, and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the feta. Cook for a final minute, not stirring much, then remove from the heat.

Use a small serrated knife to remove the skin and pith of the lemon. Coarsely chop the flesh, discarding the seeds, and place the flesh and any juices in a bowl with the remaining 1/2 chile and the garlic.

Transfer the roasted halves to a serving dish, and spoon the lemon sauce over the flesh. Warm up the onions a little, and spoon over.

Serves 4.

Thinly Sliced Lamb with Pomegranate, Yogurt and Mint

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This is the perfect weeknight dish, start the marinade in the morning to infuse the meat for a flavor packed meal! Serve over rice with a salad for a complete meal. This dish is even better the next day for lunch.

Ingredients:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1½ lb boneless leg of lamb, thinly sliced against the grain
1 tso paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
4 TBSP olive oil, divided
Salt and black pepper
½ c plain Greek yogurt
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
¼ c pomegranate seeds
2 TBSP chopped pistachios
Fresh mint, chopped

Combine cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, vinegar and 2 TBSP olive oil in a bowl or zip lock bag large enough to hold meat. Add meat and marinade at least 15 minutes to overnight.

Whisk yogurt and 1 TBSP water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 TBSP oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Cook lamb, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add ½ c water; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and water is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Return lamb to skillet and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve lamb over rice, topped with yogurt, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and herbs.

Serves 6.

Onion-Saffron Soup with Croutons and Cheese

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There is nothing better on a cold winter night than a nice hot bowl of soup topped with croutons and melted cheese. I was weary of placing my fiesta ware under the broiler so I broke out my kitchen torch to melt the cheese.

Ingredients:
4 c chicken stock
2 1/2 c hot water
2 1/2 lbs onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads
1/2 baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes and toasted
6 oz gruyere, grated

In a large stock pot, combine butter, onions, bay leaves and salt, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until softened. Then cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Add hot water, stir to combine, then add stock. Cook for 1 hour partially covered. Add saffron and cook another hour.

Pour soup into bowls, top with croutons and cheese, use a kitchen torch or broiler to melt the cheese.

Serves 4.

Spicy Pizza

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I have an overload of padrons this week so what better thing to do then add them to pizza?! This is a spicy one – hot salami, red onions and lots of padrons.

Ingredients:
1 lb pizza dough
Pepper infused olive oil or regular
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz spicy salami
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz padrons, sliced

Preheat oven to 500 with pizza steel or stone inside for at least 45 minutes.

Roll out dough, drizzle with pepper oil, onions, cheese, salami and top with peppers (I wait until I have my pizza on the steel or stone to add the padrons so they don’t fall off during peel transfer). Bake 8 – 12 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling.

Serves 4.

Pizza with Braised Onions & Padron

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This pizza came about like most of pizzas by cleaning out the fridge before shopping day. This pizza looks a little funky because of the deep red onions, but the flavors are perfect! I had made the onions for another dish and had some leftover, there were a few padrons left and I always have cheese and pizza dough on hand.

8 oz pizza dough
1/2 c braised onions
20 padrons
1/2 c grated Manchego

Braised onions:
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 c red wine
4 large onions, thinly sliced
3 springs each thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together
Salt

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine vinegar and wine, bring to boil. Add onions and herbs, return to boil and cover for 5 minutes. Remove a couple TBSP onions. Cover and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 3 – 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more wine if it starts to dry out. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat the over to 500 with pizza stone in oven for at least an hour.

Roll out pizza dough very thin. Top with onions, padrons and cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.

Serves 4.

Spice braised brisket

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Another Chow find. But after careful reading I thought it could more spice, so I pumped up the spices and came up with a wonderful Sunday dinner. I started it on Saturday and it braised for about 4 hours and literally fell apart when touched. I then wrapped in aluminum foil and popped in the fridge overnight. And all those slow cooked flavors just intensified. I served it with polenta and asparagus – the perfect no fuss Sunday dinner.

Ingredients:
2 TBSP salt
2 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 4 – 5 lb beef brisket, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1 TBSP olive oil
2 onions, diced
12 cloves garlic, smashed
6 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 c chicken stock
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 branches fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 c water

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Rub over brisket.

Heat oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, brown brisket on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Reduce to medium, add stock, onions and garlic until softened, about 12 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine, bring to a boil.

Return brisket to pot. Cover tightly with foil and lid. Cook for 1 hour. Rotate meat and cook until fork tender for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Remove from oven, uncover, cool to room temp and refrigerator overnight.

Heat oven to 325. Slice brisket, return to the pot and heat through, about 45 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Serves 6.