Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shift Work Bowls

Since Nellie’s dayjob requires her to work the swingshift (3-11), she finds herself looking for ways to create meals for one at noon as well as use up the leftovers generated by the folks who are feeding themselves in the evening.

Inspired by some chain restaurants that are marketing “bowls” of various flavors and mixtures, Nellie has come up with a few of her own. She bakes them in a moderately hot (375 F) oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on the density of the ingredients.

Here are the basics:
Start with an oven proof soup or cereal bowl or a single serve Pyrex bowl. Spray with cooking spray or grease with butter or bacon fat.
The amount of each ingredient will depend on the size of your bowl. You’ll want to keep the amount of food in the bowl to stay at a quarter to half inch below the rim.
Base: something starchy such as cubed bread, cooked rice, cubed, cooked potatoes, frozen (thawed) hash browns, etc…
Small amount (about ½ cup) of a binding ingredient. Nellie uses one egg beaten with 2Tblsp milk OR ¼ can of cream soup. If using egg mixture, cover and refrigerate overnight or while at work.
Main ingredient: Meat
Other add-ins: Cheese, finely chopped onions, roasted garlic, roasted peppers, shredded carrot, etc… anything goes!
Toss the above together and place in the bowl. Bake until heated through. Top with more cheese and place in oven until cheese is melted.
Extra toppings: 2 eggs cooked your favorite way, a dollop of sour cream, Ranch dressing, etc….

Here are some of Nellie’s favorites:

Southwest I:
Leftover cornbread crumbled into the bowl. Toss with taco meat, shredded cheese, chopped onions, diced jalopeno and green chilies. Bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese and place in oven until cheese is nicely melted. Add two eggs sunny side up.

Southwest II
Toss cooked rice with chicken fajita meat, shredded Pepperjack cheese, green chilies and ¼ can cream soup (chicken, celery, mushroom – your personal favorite.). Melt more Pepperjack on top and serve with sour cream & salsa.

Rice, tossed with refried beans, cream of chicken soup, taco meat, julienned roasted Poblano and shredded cheese. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Top with more cheese and place back into oven until cheese melts. Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

One slice cubed bread tossed with bacon bits or ham or browned sausage and shredded cheese. Beat one egg with ¼ cup milk and pour over mixture in bowl. Cover and refrigerate over night or while at work. Bake at 375 until eggs are done. It should be firm to the touch and have a nicely browned - but not burned – crust on top. Melt some more cheese on top.

Reuben Bowl:
One slice cubed rye bread tossed with diced corned beef, sauted onion strips, ¼ cup sauerkraut, and shredded Swiss cheese. Beat one egg with ¼ cup milk and pour over mixture in bowl. Refrigerate overnight or while at work. Bake at 375 until heated through, about 20 minutes. Melt some more Swiss over the top and drizzle with 1000 Island dressing.

Veggie Bowl:
Toss cooked, cubed potatoes with a sauted mixture of sliced mushrooms, shredded carrot, diced celery, onion, roasted red peppers, chopped spinach or broccoli florets. Stir in ¼ can cream of mushroom soup. Place in bowl. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Check back next week for some more ideas.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Smokey Bean Dip

Well, if we can’t win, we might as well eat good while we’re watching.

Mix well:
1 can refried beans OR 1 ½ cups leftover homemade refritos
1 cup smoked pork loin, grated, or finely chopped or ground
½ cup sour cream
½ cup grated four-cheese mix
2 minced jalopenos
1 can diced green chilies
1 minced clove garlic

Serve warm, room temp or chilled with tortilla chips or Fritos scoops.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gringa’s Stuffed Poblanos (Redneck’s Chilies Rellenos)

Marinade: ½ cup lime juice, ¼ cup tarragon vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, 1-2 cloves roasted garlic, minced; 2 finely chopped jalopeno peppers. Marinate chicken breasts (or beef steaks) in marinade at least 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Grill over hot coals until done. Slice into thin strips. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, saute 1 finely chopped onion in a little oil until soft. Stir in 1 can cream of mushroom soup, ¼ cup sour cream, 1 can diced green chilies, 2 tsp cumin, ½ tsp turmeric and ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Reserve 3/4 cup of this sauce and set aside. Stir chicken strips into pan and heat through.

Roast 4 Poblano peppers as follows: place whole peppers over hot coals or under broiler. Roast thoroughly, rolling them around so that the skin on all sides burns and turns black. Immediately place in Dutch oven and cover with tight fitting lid. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Wearing gloves, cut off the stem end of each pepper and scrape off the burnt skin.

Fill each pepper with chicken filling. Place in casserole, drizzle with reserved sauce and heat in 350 oven 20 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ cup Jack cheese and heat until cheese melts.

Serve with refritos, guacamole and tortilla chips.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nellie has a new smoker

Here is how she inaugurated it:

Beef Brisket

Lightly sprinkle all sides of one 4-6 pound brisket with Adolph’s tenderizer. Combine 2 Tblsp each sugar, pepper, paprika, chili powder with 2 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder and Cookies seasoning salt. Rub the spice mixture liberally all over the brisket. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap let stand in refrigerator for 45 minutes to one hour. Prepare the smoker with water pan, charcoal briquets and mesquite chips. Bring smoker to 225 degrees F. Smoke the brisket for 6-8 hours. Wrap in foil, allow to cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, slice brisket to desired thickness and place in oven proof skillet or casserole. Cover and warm in a 350 degree oven until no longer pink, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of slices. Serve over crisp Texas Toast with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side.
Side dishes: Broccoli Slaw and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Peach crisp with ice cream for dessert

Pork Loin

Lightly sprinkle all sides of one 2-4 pound pork loin with Adolph’s tenderizer. Rub all over with Nellie’s Southwest Seasoning: 2 Tblsp chili powder, 2 Tblsp paprika, 1 Tblsp coriander, 1 Tblsp garlic powder, 1 Tblsp salt, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano. Let stand 45 minutes to one hour. Prepare smoker with water pan, charcoal briquets and mesquite chips. Bring smoker to 225 degrees F. and smoke the loin for 6-8 hours. To serve, slice or shred and serve on toasted Hoagies with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side.
Side Dishes: Potato Salad and corn on the cob

Nellie’s smoker has two racks, so she smoked both the brisket and the pork loin at the same time.

Note: It's only been two days and the leftovers are almost all gone. Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

American Onion Soup

For 2 main course servings or 4 first course servings:
Peel, halve and coarsely chop one large Vidalia onion. Saute in bacon fat 20 minutes until it begins to soften. Sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar and continue cooking until it is quite soft and caramelized. Add 3 cups chicken or turkey stock and two mashed cloves of roasted garlic, 1 tsp chili powder and ¼ tsp celery seed. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, shred 2 cups Velveeta or American cheese and fry 4 slices of bacon. Crumble the bacon. Preheat broiler. Fill a serving bowl with Texas Toast croutons and ladle soup over. Spread a generous amount of shredded cheese over and sprinkle lightly with chili powder. Add crumbled bacon and broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown around the edges. Serve immediately. (For an extra kick, use pepperjack cheese and garnish with chopped jalopeno instead of bacon. C’mon – I dare you.)
Suggested side dishes: Tossed Salad, fresh fruit for dessert.

Suggested next courses: Grilled steaks, sweet corn on the cob, loaded baked potato.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Spam R & D

Spam Parmesan
For two servings:
Lightly brown four slices of Spam on both sides in a little oil in an oven-proof skillet. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup each plain bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add 2 Tblsp melted butter and work into a crumbly paste. Put two thin slices of Roma tomatoes on each slice of Spam in the skillet, sprinkle a pinch or two of dried basil over the tomatoes and spread with the cheese-crumb mixture. Broil until cheese-crumb topping is golden brown. Serve hot with garlic mashed potatoes.

Spam Alfredo
Julienne a 7 oz. can of turkey Spam. Brown the strips lightly in a skillet. Set aside.
To make the sauce, melt ¼ cup butter in a saucepan. Stir in 3 Tblsp finely chopped onion, 4 cloves roasted garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook and stir over medium heat until onion is soft and garlic is incorporated. Stir in ¼ cup flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in 2 cups half & half (or milk) and cook and stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese and the Spam strips. (Add more milk, a little at a time if sauce seems too thick.) Heat through. Serve over spaghetti or noodles, with freshly made French bread.

Cube one 12 oz can Hickory smoked Spam. Thoroughly soak wooden skewers. Thread Spam cubes and alternate with fresh pineapple chunks, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and Vidalia onion wedges. Broil or grill until Spam is lightly browned and vegetables are slightly soft. Drizzle with honey-mustard sauce. Serve on a bed of buttered white rice with more honey-mustard for dipping.
Sauce: Whisk together until smooth ½ cup Dijon mustard, 1 Tbslp Tamari, 2 Tblsp brown sugar and ½ cup honey.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Cheese Spread

Shred Velveeta to measure 4 cups. Stir in ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup chopped pimentos, 1 Tblsp sweet relish, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp pepper.

This makes good stuffing for celery. It goes well with those Keebler Bistro corn bread crackers, too. Or any other cracker you like as well as the tiny, sliced rye bread. Add a slice of green or black olive for garnish.

Recipe works well with cheddar or any other cheese you might prefer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventures in Spam

Spamology 101

Well, my friends, Nellie has been busy exploring the world of Spam. And I don’t mean the kind that clogs up your inbox, I mean the edible kind, made by Hormel Foods.

Every year in mid-July or so, the city of Fremont, Nebraska hosts a 3 day party known as “John C. Fremont Days” in honor of (who else?) John C. Fremont, the explorer, pioneer and early day settler for whom the community is named. One of the events of this celebration is the annual Spam Cookoff. Nellie has her heart set on participating in the cookoff and with that in mind has been exploring the weird and wonderful world of cooking with Spam. Did you know they make more than one kind now? The pork products include the original flavor, a bacon flavor, a Hickory smoke flavor, and a lite version of each one as well as a couple of turkey versions, all available in the regular 12 oz size can and a 7 oz can.

Anyway, due to a number of reasons, the details of which would bore you to tears, Nellie missed the deadline for recipe submission to the officials and judges and will not be in the Spam cookoff this year.

However, the research and development in preparation for this much anticipated and exalted event has yielded some interesting results which Nellie is now sharing with you.
Good luck. And if you don’t care for Spam, ask for a suitable substitute in the comments and Nellie will gladly and graciously respond.

Melt 4 Tblsp bacon fat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Saute ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion and ½ cup finely chopped celery in fat until vegetables are soft. Stir in 1 cup uncooked, long-cooking white rice and 4 cloves roasted garlic. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat until rice is milky and opaque and the garlic cloves are incorporated. Stir in one 14 oz can vegetable stock, ½ julienned roasted green pepper, ½ julienned roasted red pepper, ½ tsp Louisiana hot sauce and 1 Tblsp Nellie’s Creole seasoning. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer 20-25 minutes until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, cut one 12 oz can Hickory smoke Spam and one 12 oz can turkey Spam into large (about 1-1 ½ inch) cubes. Over medium heat in a lightly oiled skillet, lightly brown the Spam cubes. Stir the cubes into rice mixture when rice is fully cooked. Add one 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained and one 6 oz can tomato paste. Cook over medium low heat until all is heated through.

Personal Breakfast Bowl
Lightly butter an oven proof cereal or salad bowl. Tear one slice bread into fine cubes and place in bowl. Over the bread cubes, sprinkle ½ Tblsp minced onion, ¼ cup of your favorite shredded cheese and ¼ cup finely diced Bacon flavored Spam. Tear another bread slice into fine cubes and top the Spam and onion layer. In a separate bowl, beat two medium eggs with 2 Tblsp milk and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the layers in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature and bake in a 350 F oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle on another layer of cheese and cook an additional 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

More recipes coming. Check back in a few days.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

SUPER FOOD for the Super Bowl

We’re venturing out of Redneck Land for today’s menus.
Depending on who you’re rootin’ for, here’s some good stuff to try on Super Bowl Sunday:

Starters: Cape Codder & New England Clam Chowder
Halftime Show: New England Crab Rolls and Boston baked beans
4th Quarter Snack: Codcakes
Sweet ending: Cranberry Maple Walnut Sundaes

Starters: Long Island Tea & Manhatten Style Clam Chowder
Halftime Show: New York Strip steak with Tapenade and Giant Baked Beans with Roasted pepper
4th Quarter Snack: Coach Farm Cheese Spread
Sweet ending: NY Style Cheesecake

The Recipes:

Cape Codder
For each serving: In a highball glass with ice, combine 2 oz. vodka and 5 oz. cranberry juice. Garnish with lime slice.

New England Clam Chowder
In a heavy pan, sauté 3 ounces julienned salt pork, 1 medium finely chopped onion until pork is crisp and onion is soft. Stir in 2 small red potoatoes, unpeeled and diced and add 1 cup chicken broth or stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender and the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in about 25 fresh, shucked clams (or one 6 ½ ounce can minced clams, undrained). Simmer 2-4 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ cups half and half and heat through, but do not boil.

Crab Rolls
For two servings: Whisk together 6 Tblsp mayonnaise, 1 Tblsp lemon juice and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Mix in ¾ pound crabmeat and 3 Tblsp finely chopped green onions. Butter the inside of two hoagies and grill until nicely toasted. Heap the crab filling onto the rolls and serve.

Boston Baked Beans
Soak one pound dry pinto beans overnight. Drain and set aside. Dice and cook ½ pound bacon until crisp. Add 1 cup chopped onions and sauté until limp. Place beans, bacon, onions, 1 cup ketchup, ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 2 Tblsp dry mustard, 2 Tblsp molasses and 1 ½ Tblsp minced garlic in a large pot. Bake, uncovered in 350 oven about 4 hours, or until beans are tender. If desired, stir in 1 tsp salt at end of cooking time.

In medium saucepan, cover 2-3 cod fillets with water and bring to a simmer. Drain and cool. Grate 4 peeled potatoes and place in large mixing bowl. Stir in 2 large eggs, 2 Tblsp flour, ¼ cup finely chopped onion and ¼ tsp celery salt. Break the cooled cod into flakes and add to potatoes. Mix well. Place by rounded Tablespoons onto hot, greased griddle or skillet and cook on both sides until lightly browned. Serve with tartar sauce for dipping.

Cranberry Maple Walnut Sundaes
In a saucepan, simmer 1 ½ cups maple syrup 5 minutes. Stir in ½ cup cranberries and ½ cup finely chopped walnuts. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve over premium vanilla OR coffee ice cream.

Long Island Tea
For each serving: In a tall glass partially filled with ice cubes, pour ½ ounce each of gin, vodka, light rum, tequila, triple sec, 2 Tblsp lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar and finish filling with Coca Cola.

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder
Chop 4 slices bacon and fry until almost crisp. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped celery stalk, 3 minced garlic cloves. Cook until onion & celery are tender. Add two 16 ounce cans diced tomatoes, 1 bay leaf, ½ tsp dried thyme, one 8 ounce bottle clam juice, one 8 oz. can tomato sauce and 1 large peeled & diced potato. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir in two 6 ½ ounce cans minced clams, undrained and heat through.

New York Strip with Tepenade
Season steaks as desired and sear both sides in hot skillet. Turn and fry to desired doneness. Tapenade: Place ½ cup slivered almonds; one 8 ounce jar unstuffed green olives, drained; 5 Tblsp olive oil; 2 Tblsp capers; 4 anchovies and 2 garlic cloves in food processor or blender. Blend until fine paste forms. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Giant Baked Beans (get it? GIANT?)
Soak ¼ pound dried butter beans overnight. Drain. Add fresh water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat 3 Tblsp olive oil in a skillet and sauté 1 large, finely chopped red onion and 1 large minced clove garlic. Drain one large can roasted red peppers and finely chop. Add to onion and garlic. When beans are done cooking, drain but reserve cooking liquid. Stir all ingredients together in casserole and add 2/3 cup reserved bean cooking liquid. Add one bay leaf and bake, covered for about 1 hour. If they seem to be drying out, add more bean liquid. Five minutes before end of cooking time, stir in 3 Tblsp Balsamic Vinegar.

Coach Farm Cheese Spread
In a food processor or blender, place 20 ounces soft, mild goat cheese, 3 Tblsp heavy cream, 1 ½ Tblsp paprika, ¾ tsp dry mustard, 1 minced clove garlic, 4 anchovies. Blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl, stir in 4 finely chopped green onions. Serve with crackers or carrot & celery sticks.

For the base: Sift ½ cup flour with 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt and set aside. Beat 3 egg yolks on high for 3 minutes. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating for 5 minutes. Sift flour mixture over batter and stir in until no more white flecks appear. Beat 3 egg whites and ¼ tsp cream of tartar until whites are high and frothy. Gradually beat in 2 Tblsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold batter into egg whites. Pour into generously buttered 9-inch springform pan and bake at 350 10-15 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Meanwhile, make the filling: bring four 8-ounce packages cream cheese to room temperature. Beat one package with 1/3 cup sugar and ¼ cup corn starch for about 3 minutes. Beat in remaining packages of cream cheese. Beat in 1 1/3 cup sugar and 2 Tblsp lemon juice. Blend in eggs, one at a time. Blend in ¾ cup heavy cream, only until blended. Pour over cooled sponge cake base. Place the cake pan into a shallow pan and fill with water to one inch. Bake 60-70 minutes until center barely jiggles. Cool one hour. Chill thoroughly.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Decent Coffee

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of that used motor oil they sell for 3-5 bucks a cup at the coffee shop. It's so bitter, they have to disuise it with flavored syrups and foamy milk. Now, I want my coffee to taste like coffee. Just pour it into the cup and hand it over. If I want the taste of vanilla, I'll have a bowl of ice cream.
The first thing you need to do to make yourself a good cup of coffee is to get rid of that auto-drip thing. Have you ever looked into the tank of that monster? It looks a little like the landscape of a distant planet or something. And it's gotta be a bacteria farm. No wonder it makes awful coffee!
Get yourself a good stovetop pot. I use a 2 quart size at home. Make sure it's CLEAN. Fill with water and place on the burner and bring the water to a full rolling boil. Meanwhile, measure 4 coffe scoops of good dark coffee grounds into a bowl. Add a fresh egg and stir the grounds and egg together until it's all in a lump. Separate it into two lumps. When the water is boiling real good, add the coffee and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a strainer because some of the grounds will escape from the lumps and try to get into your cup.
This method works as good over a campfire as it does on the stovetop.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ingedients and Techniques II

Use these as steak rub, sprinkle on a roast, shake a little into your gravies or sauces, add to your flour when making deep fried veggies, chicken fried anything. (I suggest you taste a small amount so you know how hot it’s going to be before you rub, sprinkle or shake.) They go pretty well on just about anything but cereal.

Place the spices in a tightly covered container and shake vigorously to blend.

Creole Seasoning
2 ½ Tblsp paprika
2 Tblsp salt
2 Tblsp garlic powder
1 Tblsp black pepper
1 Tblsp onion powder
1 Tblsp cayenne pepper
1 Tblsp dried oregano
1 Tblsp dried thyme

Southwest Seasoning
2 Tblsp chili powder
2 Tblsp paprika
1 Tblsp coriander
1 Tblsp garlic powder
1 Tblsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

Hot Rub
4 Tblsp canning salt
3 Tblsp dried, finely ground jalopeno or pasilla (place dried peppers in blender or food processor and process until fine. Cover your nose with a bandanna during this process – trust me.)
2 Tblsp garlic powder
2 Tblsp sugar
2 Tblsp cumin
2 Tblsp black pepper
1 Tblsp dried thyme

Chili Paste
Place 4 dried ancho chilies, 4 dried guajillos, ½ onion, quartered and 3 cloves minced garlic in a large saucepan and add 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat ans simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chilies are softened and reconstituted. Process all ingredients in a blender or processor until pureed. Freeze in ½ cup measures (Nelli uses those little Gladware containers.)

Roasted Peppers (Should have put this up with yesterday’s stuff)
Wash and cut in half desired fresh peppers (any color of bell, poblano, jalopeno, etc). Place on baking sheet and broil until skin turns black. Immediately place peppers in a Dutch oven and cover tightly. Leave them to steam for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and scrape off the burned skin. Can be used immediately, or to store: place one slice in bottom of a Gladware sandwich container, brush with small amount of olive oil. Top with another slice, brush with olive oil. Continue process, placing 5-6 slices in each container. These freeze well. Note: roasting really brings out the heat in jalopenos.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ingredients and Techniques Part 1

Nelli has been busy over the the Christmas and New Year’s week. But this being the beginning of a brand new year and all, might be a good time to talk about ingredients and techniques.
Now, I know that some of my info is not going to agree with what you hear from Martha and that loud mouth know-it-all Italian woman on the food network, but they’re not Rednecks, so what are you going to do?
This is the stuff that works for me. So here it is, fer what it’s worth.

Roasted garlic: Most Redneck (and other) foods are just an excuse to eat large amounts of garlic, onions, spices and cheese. For garlic, the best way to start is with roasted. Here’s how Nelli does it:

Prepare whole heads of garlic by rubbing off all the loose, dry skin. Cut the tips off the top, just enough to expose each clove. Place on a square of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Fold edges of the foil up to enclose the heads completely. Roast in a 300 degree over for one hour. Remove and let cool, leaving the foil pouch closed. When cooled, take the heads apart and squeeze each cove from the bottom. It should pop out easily being soft, roasted and ready to eat (it’s unbelievably sweet!) or use in recipes. To use in recipes, mash required amount of cloves into a paste or it can also be minced with a sharp knife.

Onions: To coarsely chop, peel and cut off both the blossom and stem ends. Cut in half from blossom to stem. Lay a half on the board, flat side down, and cut into ½ inch slices, keeping everything together as well as possible. Make three cuts crosswise and it’s ready to use. For a finely chopped onion, make the slices ¼ inch or smaller and the cross cuts at about every ¼ inch. For minced onion, cut as for finely chopped and then continue chopping at random until onion is in very fine bits.

Caramelized onions: Coarsely chop one large onion. Add to ¼ cup melted butter and sprinkle with 1 Tblsp sugar. Cook over low heat until very limp and slightly browned.

Nelli’s best sauces, soups and stews include home made stocks like these:

Chicken Stock: Heat 1 Tblsp olive oil in a a large stock pot. When oil is hot, add 1 large onion, peeled halved and sliced; 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped; 1 stalk chopped celery, including leaves and one whole head garlic, peeled and separated into cloves. Saute 2-3 minutes. Stir in 4 quarts water, 4 bay leaves, ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp thyme, ½ tsp oregano, 2 pounds chicken wings and 1 Tblsp canning salt. Bring all to boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours. Strain stock and discard vegetables and bones. Pour into clean pit jars, seal and freeze. Recipe doubles easily. Also makes good turkey stock, but you might want to add a pinch of sage with the spices.

Beef Stock: Heat oven to 425 F. Put 6-8 pounds beef bones (oxtail, soup bones, etc.) Drizzle with 2 Tblsp olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes. Turn the bones over and brush with two 6 ounce cans tomato paste. Roast 10 minutes. To the pan, add 2 heads garlic, peeled and separated; 8 coarsely chopped tomatoes (canned is okay), 2 coarsely chopped onions; 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped; 2 stalks celery coarsely chopped. Roast another 25 minutes until bones are browned and vegetables are tender. Transfer everything to a large stockpot. Add 8 quarts water, 12 by leaves, 2 tsp basil, 2 tp thyme, 2 tsp tarragon, 2 tsp oregano, ½ cup dried parsley, 2 tsp black pepper ad 1 Tblsp canning salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 3 hours. Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables and bones. Pour into clean pint jars, seal and freeze.
Use these stocks in any of Nelli’s soup or stew recipes or anything that calls for broth.

WARNING: After you’ve tried these stocks, you’ll never want to go back to those dried up little cubes of meat flavored salt!

Good home made seasoning salts Nelli likes to use.