Monday, December 5, 2016
Piccalilli? No, It's Quick-alilli! And More
It's seems that I tend to write frequently about how I buy clearance sale veggies and then cook whatever I can with them.....well, I'm doing it again.
When I went to the store the other day, there were huge bundles of slightly-superannuated (in simpler terms, "old") green onions. Those big bundles each contained about 10 smaller bundles--surely there was more than a pound of green onions in there. A challenge! How could I resist?
So, what on earth do you do with that many green onions? I think you've just gotta do as much as you can! I considered a number of options and ultimately decided to be both sensible and adventurous.
Sensible: After I cleaned the onions, I took all of the green tops and chopped them into two-inch pieces; then I rough-chopped them in the food processor. I put those in a container to freeze for later use.
Now, if I had had an ice cube tray handy (unfortunately I did not), I would have added a little water to the chopped onions and frozen them in smaller portions so as to be easier to add to recipes later. (Note to self: buy an ice cube tray.)
Adventurous: I invented Quick-alilli! You've heard of Picalilli, of course--well, my recipe is a very distant cousin, and I based this simple relish on my recipe for Garlicky Quickle Pickles. It's has the same vinegar and spices but no garlic. Instead, I very thinly sliced the white portions of about half of the onions and divided them between two jars to which I also added white vinegar, salt, dill weed, and celery seed. To one jar, I added chopped cucumber and the "meaty" parts of a Roma tomato (in other words, I left the seedy middle out). To the other, I added chopped red pepper and a little green onion top for color.
I will be keeping both of these jars refrigerated since they were in no way meant to be canned--this is an experiment, after all. I'll try adding them as flavoring to other foods in a day or two. I imagine that they will keep for weeks just as the Quickles do, so long as they are kept cooled. The salt helps to preserve them.
Another small adventure: There was really so very much onion that I decided to see what would happen if I tried roasting some of the white parts in the oven. I heated an iron skillet in a 400 F oven, added a pat of butter and let sizzle, and then added about a half-cup of inch-long slices of onion. I let these cook for about 20 minutes, stirring them every five minutes or so, until they were nicely browned, and then I enjoyed them on a baked potato topped with sour cream. This was so very good that I certainly plan to make it again.
One final adventure: since the oven was already hot and the iron skillet was handy, and also since there yet more sliced onion as well as most of a large red pepper, and also since someone kindly gifted me with a box of Jiffy recently, I decided it was time to make cornbread!
I prepared the mix according to directions and added the sliced onion to it while I re-heated the skillet in the oven--the skillet absolutely has to be hot when you add the batter so the cornbread will get all lovely and crispy round the edges. After I buttered the skillet, I added half the cornbread mix, and then I topped it with slices of red pepper.
Then I spread the remainder of the cornbread mix over the top. And just for a little added goodness, I topped the cornbread with grated extra-sharp white cheddar. Then I popped the pan back in the oven at 375 F to cook for 20 minutes. It smelled so good, and it tasted so good!
There's one important aspect to understand about this cornbread: for a vegetarian, it provides a great source of protein. Not only does the mix have milk and egg added to corn but the cheese on top gives it an extra boost. You can read more how to make a "complete protein" in this post: Vegetarianism & Protein Combining.
(Before you ask: yes, I do include milk and eggs in my plant-based diet. I am an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian. There are several levels of vegetarianism; mine is one of the less extreme.)
So, when all is said and done, I spent .99 cents (plus tax) at the grocery for about a pound of onions, I had a lot of fun in the kitchen for an hour or two, I tried some new ideas, and I created the basis for some healthy eating. I'd say that was a very good way to spend an afternoon, wouldn't you?
Have an adventure and see what your store has on sale so you can create something tasty, too!
Life is good.