Skewers and kebabs are easy to make, and assembling them isn’t hard, but anyone who’s poked themselves on a skewer knows it can still suck. Luckily, all you need to speed up the process (and make it safer) is an onion—one you may be using anyway.
I’ve been using Alton Brown’s method – the episode of Good Eats is on Netflix.
Hold the veggie/meat with one hand on a surface (like a cutting board), then push the skewer in with your other hand parallel to the surface. Also, instead of having alternating items on each skewer, which looks pretty, I made my skewers of each ingredient, which came in very handy to move whole skewers around my grill on and off heat as they needed. Much less over cooked X and underdone Y.
I have a passion for beans, which developed back when I used to cook for the Tuscan chef Cesare Casella. The Tuscans are famous for their beans (they’re sometimes called the mangiafagioli—bean eaters—in Italy), and Cesare is no exception. When I worked for him, he’d import thousands of pounds of beans every year from Italy, and I learned plenty of tricks from him on how to use them.
One of those tricks was this simple pasta with a sauce made from puréed beans, which I’ve made with chickpeas here. It couldn’t be easier to make: You simply sauté some garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, add some cooked beans along with some of their cooking water, then purée it to make a smooth, creamy sauce. Add a handful of whole cooked beans for some texture, and you’re basically done.
Chili is personal, and you have your favorite recipe. I respect that. I’m not here to argue with your one true chili love.
But I would bet that there are some ways that you could make your tried-and-true recipe even better. I’m just talking about little things to add extra flavor here or give some richness there—small tweaks that, when tallied up, amount to a more fantastic chili.
Some will think cinnamon in chili is an abomination. And I like cinnamon. In ice cream. On apples. In chewing gum. But in chili? It’s worth an experiment – cinnamon can do some interesting things in more savory dishes.
It starts the usual way sauces do—sauté onion and garlic, add some chile flakes, then booze, then tomatoes, but then it swerves off course. Here’s the secret to its success: You take this perfectly adequate sauce and roast it in the oven for an hour and a half.
I sometimes start my sauce by caramelizing my tomato paste in olive oil over the heat, then deglazing that with about 1/4 bottle of red wine. The sweet caramelized tomato paste/wine combo makes things really punchy in the end, even through a long simmer.
A whole bunch of us grew up eating chicken piccata at Italian-American restaurants with our parents, or at least I did, preceded by an entire serving of fried calamari, and breadsticks too. I’d eat every last little swipe of sauce, excited at how it made the back of my tongue water, at how smooth it felt, at how it draped itself over long strips of pasta. It’s a thrilling sauce. Even more thrilling is the fact that you can use it on any protein that goes well with lemon and wine. (Even tofu and chickpeas!)
How nice would it be to just be able to pluck fresh green onions from the soil whenever you need them? Nothing beats fresh onions for your salads, dips or soup. But how can you ensure a supply of fresh onions at hand all the time?
I was skeptical until I read this charming background story on Food52–apparently it comes from a legit chef in Puglia by way of two super fun women who worked for Martha and were having a great night out.
Despite the classic cocktail boom, Gibsons still aren’t terribly popular. And cocktail onions aren’t particularly well loved either. Just as an example: In most of the bars, a jar of cocktail onions (and a small one at that) typically lasts more than a year. And those bars are making a lot of more of any given drink than anyone is at home.
Unless you know some one who likes a Gibson, or pickled onions in general, I’d say its a risky choice. You’d be better off pickling a variety of produce with a broader use, or with a specific cocktail in mind. Pickled green beans, peppers, and asparagus always go well in a Bloody Mary. Candied citrus peel (or other fruit really) are surprisingly useful in cocktails. The syrup can be used as a cocktail ingredient, and the peel itself is a really flavorful garnish. Candied or liquor soak cherries are a huge improvement on store bought maraschino cherries (which are the devil). Pickled onions could definitely have a place in a package of home made standard cocktail garnishes. A sort of “I am stocking your bar” sort of gift. But on their own, very few people are chomping a the bit for a better cocktail onion.