Meal Stack December 19, 2005

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • White sugar
  • Cinnamon stick
  • ½ c. clarified butter (ghee)
  • 6-8 lbs. Onions
  • Capers, drained
  • Pine nuts
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 4 c. stale French or Italian bread, cubed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, veined and chopped fine
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped fine
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 pkg. of filo dough, found in the frozen pastry case of the supermarket.

    Directions

    How to start stackin’:



    Begin this Meal Stack by preparing your Caramelized Onions; store Caramelized Onions up to 1 week in the refrigerator or 3 months in freezer. Instructions follow:



    1. Slice onions into 1/4-inch wide rings.

    2. Heat butter or combination of butter and oil in heavy skillet.

    3. Add onions and a small amount of sugar (optional) and slowly cook over medium heat.

    4. Cook until onions are caramel colored, stirring often, 30 to 40 minutes.

    5. For more flavor, add a touch of vinegar at the end of cooking, stirring to deglaze the pan.



    Tips:

    1. Large, mild-flavored onions work best.

    2. Caramelized onions can be frozen in an airtight container up to three months.

    3. To remove onion smell from hands, wash with soap and then rub hands against a chrome faucet.




    Meal Stack #1: Caramelized Onion Pizza



  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 1 ½ c. caramelized onions
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 T. fresh thyme or 1 T. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. oil for dribbling on top of pizza (optional)
  • 1 T. drained capers
  • 1 ½ T. pine nuts



    1) Heat ¼ c. of the olive oil and add the onions, garlic thyme and bay leaf.

    2) Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are heated through. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

    3) Cover the dough with the onion mixture, sprinkle with capers and pine nuts, and drizzle with remaining olive oil if you are using it.

    4) Bake in pre-heated 500° oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The baking time will vary depending on whether you bake on a stone, a screen or in a pan. Be sure your oven is well pre-heated before putting pizza in.



    Meal Stack #2: Florentine Caramelized Onion Soup



  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ c. caramelized onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 4 c. stale French or Italian bread, cubed



    1) Re-heat caramelized onions.

    2) Pour in wine and broth, and place cinnamon stick in pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

    3) Stir the bread into the soup and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the bread disintegrates, 30 to 45 minutes.

    4) Remove the cinnamon stick. Whisk the soup to incorporate the bread. Adjust seasoning.



    Meal Stack #3: Caramelized Onion Wraps



  • 1 ½ c. caramelized onions
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, veined and chopped fine
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped fine
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 t. fresh ground black pepper.
  • pinch of Kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 pkg. of filo dough, found in the frozen pastry case of the supermarket.
  • ½ c. clarified butter (ghee).



    1) Re-heat the caramelized onions in pan. Let the onion mixture cool in the pan and add the cheese, salt and pepper. Mix these ingredients well and set aside.

    2) Take the filo dough and cut into 3 x 5 inch sections.

    3) Place the filo dough on a flat surface, and one sheet at a time brush butter the top surface and they lay another sheet on top and butter it. 3 or 4 sheets will suffice.

    4) On one end of the filo strips, place a tablespoon (heaping) and either roll up turning the ends in, or fold over several times to make a triangular package. Set these aside on a foil lined baking sheet.

    5) When all are made, brush the tops of the wraps with butter and bake in a 375° oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown.




    To make clarified butter gently melt unsalted butter over low heat until the butter breaks down and three layers form. The top layer is a white foam or froth (the whey proteins) and should be skimmed off with a spoon. The milk solids will drop to the bottom of the saucepan and form a milky layer of sediment. What is left in the middle is a pure golden-yellow liquid called clarified butter. When you have skimmed all the white foam from the surface of the clarified butter, and it has stopped bubbling, remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the butter sit a few minutes to allow the milk solids to further settle to the bottom, and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve or a cheesecloth-lined strainer. The liquid collected is the golden-yellow clarified butter (butterfat) that can be covered and stored several months in the refrigerator. Chilled clarified butter does become grainy.



    Bonus Holiday Dessert: Candy Coated Pecans



  • 1 egg white
  • ½ c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 dash vanilla
  • 4 cups pecans



    1) Preheat oven to 275°. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Spray the wax paper with cooking spray.

    2) Beat egg white until stiff. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Mix in pecans and stir until coated.

    3) Pour nuts onto the prepared cookie sheet.

    4) Bake until browned, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
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