How to: Brown Onions

Carrots, onions and celery are the base if you want to make soup. Browned onions are the base if you want to make a curry.  Some people brown the onions just before they start to make their curry, others (like myself) tend to make a large amount of the base beforehand and freeze it in small packs. I’m always looking to save time in the kitchen and by having the onions pre-cooked shaves 20 minutes off of my cooking time.  Also, by making the onions in big batches beforehand, I reduce the amount of onion stink in the house..BONUS!

I remember as a kid, my mom would gather the troops, meaning me, my sister, and my grandmother, and we would sit at the kitchen table and peel and chop 50 lbs of onions.  My dad would then hook up the gas stove in the garage and my mom would cook the onions in a HUGE pot over the fire.  Once the onions reached the right texture and colour, the onions were cooled, blended in the food processor and then put into neat packs and stocked in the freezer.  Those onions would usually last about 3 months and then we’d have to start the whole process over again.

Now I’m not crazy to handle 50 lbs of onions all by myself! I stick with 6 lbs-10 lbs at a time, use 2.5 hours making/watching/stirring the onions and then the rest of the day is spent airing out my home!

Browned Onions

Browned onions

6 lbs yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 cup olive oil ( I know that sounds like a lot, but I generally don’t add anymore oil to my dishes because the onions have enough to help with the cooking process)

6 lbs of onions BEFORE cooking

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, mix together the onions and oil.  Cover the roasting pan and place it on the lower rack of the oven.  Every 20-30 minutes give the onions a good stir.  After about 2-2.5 hours, the onions should be a rich brown colour and the quantity reduced by half.

Cool the onions down for 20 minutes.  In a food processor, blend the onions to a somewhat chunky paste. Scoop out the paste into small freezer friendly dishes to stock in your freezer.

When you’re going to make your curry, you’ll want to take out a dish of browned onions 5-6 hours in advance and let it defrost on the counter.

My Measurement notes:  1-2 heaping tablespoons onion paste  = 1 uncooked onion

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‘Tis the season to get sick

With the stresses of daily life and the change in weather, people are starting to fall sick with the cold and flu. I’ve been stuck with this “light” cold for a while now. It started off as a runny nose and some sneezing and then slowly progressed into a thick feeling in the throat.  For a few days I had a raspy, hoarse voice and then it went away, but I have a feeling that it is on its way back for another visit.

My mom gave me a recipe that was passed along to her by an aunt of mine.  It’s a mixture of hot water with fresh lemon, honey and cinnamon. It’s supposed to help boost your immune system and combat colds (**do remember that if you are sick, you should go and visit your doctor and seek his/her advice**).  Because I was so miserable, I thought I’d give it a whirl and I think it’s what gave me my voice back.

I played around with the ingredient proportions until I found something I liked.  You can change the proportions very easily if you want a stronger or milder flavour.

Hot Lemon Water with Cinnamon and Honey

1 cup boiling hot water
1/2 or 1 slice of fresh lemon
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp honey

Boil water as you would for tea.  Put the lemon, cinnamon and honey in a heat-proof cup. Pour hot water into the cup and give it a stir.  Snuggle up in bead with a good book and drink away!

A note:  If I make a second cup for myself, I use the same lemon slice and just add the cinnamon and honey.