Onion Bunch (the tops are tasty, too!)
Flour or Corn Tortillas
Moss Farm - Rollins
Amaltheia Organic Produce - Belgrade
Terra Greens Produce - Manhattan
Three Fiddles Farm - Bozeman
Lifeline Farm - Victor
Trevino's Tortillas - Billings
Pear Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
Adapted from Robin Miller, Food Network. Serves ~4.
2 C pears, diced
2 C cucumber, diced
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (aged, if you have it)
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped (sub other tender fresh herbs, like basil or dill, if you prefer)
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 oz cheddar cheese, cubed - or blue cheese crumbles, or shaved Romano (optional)
Butterhead lettuce (or any kind of lettuce), torn or chopped
Combine pears, cucumber, vinegar, parsley, and oil in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over chopped lettuce in bowls and top with cheese, if using.
I know I'm not the first to notice this, but recipes frequently instruct you to caramelize onions in 10-15 min. You really can't. You can brown them, or cook them gently until they're translucent, but you need *at least* 30-45 min to fully caramelize them. I expect 2-3 whole onions yields ~1 C caramelized.
Onions, peeled, ends trimmed, halved and sliced crosswise - Personally, I like mine thinly sliced
Oil (and butter, if you like, but definitely start with oil)
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with oil. If you want, add ~1 tsp of butter per onion as well. Add the onions, stir to coat, then spread them into an even layer. Reduce heat to medium-low and watch that they don't burn - turn the heat down more if needed. After 10 min or so, add a pinch of salt and stir. If the pan dries out and they start sticking, add a bit water. Stir every few minutes, scraping up the browned bits. After 30-45 min they should be a rich brown color, very soft, and sweet. Deglaze the pan with a bit of wine or vinegar for a bit more flavor, if you want. Store covered in the fridge for later use, or freeze.
Pear & Caramelized Onion Quesadillas
Caramelized onions (see recipe on the other side)
Pear, cored and sliced thin
Cheddar cheese, shredded or thinly sliced (or use any kind of melty cheese you like)
fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Tortillas - 1 or 2 per person, depending on how big of a quesadilla you want
butter or oil
Balsamic glaze - A drizzle of balsamic glaze can add a little flair to your quesadilla. You can either buy this (Olivelle carries a nice Barrel Aged Dark Balsamic that is like a glaze) Or, you can make your own. Find the recipe here!
On a tortilla, scatter the pear slices and caramelized onions. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, if using, and cover with a generous amount of cheese. Cover with another tortilla. (Or use 1 tortilla folded to make smaller quesadillas, which works best with flour tortillas.) Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a little butter or oil, and once hot, add the quesadilla. Heat through on one side for 3 min or so - use a spatula to check the underside of the tortilla - once it's golden brown and crispy, flip it over and heat the other side for another 3 min, or until the cheese is all melty and both sides are golden brown and a little crispy.
Enjoy this Southern staple as a dip for chips, crackers, or veggies (like cucumber, carrot, and broccoli), or a spread for wraps or burgers. Use it for a grilled cheese or quesadilla. Or spread a generous layer on a sandwich with thick slices of fresh tomato and some fresh lettuce. This particular recipe is from a Kentucky restaurant called Wallace Station. Makes 1 quart.
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded - if you're tempted to use pre-shredded cheese, don't.
4 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
6 Tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp hot sauce (like Frank's Red Hot, Cholula, Tabasco, etc.)
1 tsp onion, minced
1 tsp horseradish (optional) - add minced jalapeño for a different kind of heat
1 2-oz jar diced pimento peppers, drained
Mix everything but the pimentos in a bowl until well combined - it shouldn't be completely smooth; slightly chunky is good. You can either mix it by hand, or use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Fold in the pimentos, taste for seasoning and adjust as you like it. It's best after some time to chill, covered, in the fridge.
Additional Recipe Suggestions
Lettuce, cucumber, and fresh onion is the perfect start to a great Greek Salad
If you're feeling a little more cozy, French Onion Soup is a favorite of mine. Use cheddar instead of gruyere for the cheesy toasts on top, if you like.
If you're interested in a (rewarding) project, this time of year gets me craving Salsa Verde and Enchiladas Verdes. You can find recipes for both here, and put to use the tortillas, cheese, and some onion. If you have green tomatoes in your garden, they work well in place of tomatillos for the salsa!
Speaking of green tomatoes, Fried Green Tomatoes go great with Pimento Cheese! Here's an epic BLT to prove it.