Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pickled Red Onions

bowl with sliced pickled onions

Before I tasted these onions, I used to think, 
"Why would anyone eat pickled red onions"?

However, once I tasted pickled red onions- I understood.
I ate them for the first time at my son and daughter in law's house. Prior to the meal, I noticed red onion slices soaking in clear liquid in cute little glass bowls. Assuming it was water,  I never gave it any thought until I bit into the first slice of red onion at the meal. Immediately, I knew there was something special about those onions, and I wasn't the only one who realized it. My sentiment echoed across the long table of diners who were also raving about the onions.

I had to ask, "what did you do to the onions?" "Oh," my daughter in law nonchalantly said, "We soaked them in white vinegar for a few hours."

Immediately, my husband expressed his dislike of white vinegar. Truthfully, I wasn't too excited about white vinegar either, but the red onion slices did take on a whole new personna after bathing in the vinegar.

They tasted sensational!  Soaking those red onions in vinegar took the smell and the bite out of the onion, and made them more flavorful  and  artistically more beautiful with hues of  bright deep pink color. I am not sure if this recipe qualifies as actually "pickled" since it doesn't contain any salt , but I call it pickled just the same since the onions taste pickled.

1 medium to large red onion, sliced thin
1 large container of white vinegar

Place slices on onion into a medium bowl. Cover the slices with vinegar and allow it to soak for at least 2 hours. Remove from vinegar and place in container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Step by Step with Pictures

red onion in slices
Slice the red onion thin

red onion slices floating in a bowl of vinegar
Place into bowl and cover with white vinegar

red onion turned pink soaking in vinegar
Allow to soak for about 2-3 hours

plate with pickled red onion slices
Remove from vinegar, drain, and serve
The next question is, how do you eat pickled red onions? Are onions good for you? You bet!

To really understand a delicacy like pickled red onions, we have to understand that there are many variations to making pickled red onions. You can substitute vinegars: white, balsamic, apple cider. Some ethnic groups add a sugar, hot peppers or spices.

Almost every ethnic group has its own variation of pickled red onions.
  • Germany- serves pickled onion with hot German potato salad
  • Russia- pickled herring with pickled red onion slices
  • India- as a condiment with daals

Use pickled onions like you would a pickle-. Use your imagination.

  • Layer in a sandwich
  • add to a tossed salad
  • chop in egg salad or potato salad
  • garnish atop black bean soup
  • serve with goat cheese, caramelized onions and gluten free crackers
  • eat as a topping on gluten free pizza
  • cover a vegetarian burger.
  • OH! There is more..why not slice a tomato, add a slice of mozzarella cheese, a piece of fresh basil, and a thick slice of pickled red onion. Eat on the side of scrambled eggs. The possibilities are endless.

Are onions good for you? You bet!

  • Lots of immune building antioxidants, quercitin, Vitamin C, chromium to balance blood sugar, fiber , manganese and molybdenum, Vitamin B-6, folate and potassium. 60 calories a cup.

How do you like to eat your pickled onions?
So glad you stopped by - please leave me a comment..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fresh Mint and Lemon Salad Dressing

                                               Fresh mint and lemon salad dressing

This homemade lemon herb salad dressing is made fresh ingredients and is probably one of the tastiest and healthiest salad dressing recipes you will ever try. ( I had to use lime instead of lemon- all good) In one of my earlier posts, I promised you recipes that include fresh herbs and lots of immune boosting antioxidants.

Use lemons or limes- your preference                
Well, this is it; in our family we call it, "Joyci's dressing" because my sister in law Joyci created this sensational recipe. We eat it on salad, vegetables, rice, quinoa, etc.
Our extended family of twenty- four members thinks it is extraordinary, and when we get together for a holiday or family meal, the first question asked is,

" Did Joyci make her dressing?"

That is because her dressing enhances almost everything it touches. It makes a salad into a sensation, it makes plain rice more exciting, and makes vegetables more inviting.  Our motto is ,

" Try it on everything"

 Is it healthy? You bet! It is mostly healthy fresh vegetables whizzed up with fresh lemon and omega rich olive oil or make it with coconut oil .

1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh organic parsley, chopped
1/2 clove fresh garlic ( optional)
juice of 3-4 juicy fresh organic lemons ( must be fresh )
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil ( or more if needed for smoothness)
1 tablespoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar  ( optional)
1/4 cup fresh mint ( or more)
salt and pepper if you must ( we don't)
Using a small food processor or strong blender like a Vitaminx process the red onion, parsley, mint, garlic( optional)  and olive oil . Add freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice and white vinegar. Process until smooth.
Place in a salad dressing bottle and bring to the table. Last in refrigerator about 4 days.

Assemble ingredients and chop

Place in a strong blender ( like Vitamix) or a food processor

Process until smooth

Pour into a salad dressing container

Toss dressing on your favorite salad

Variation: Use fresh dill or basil  instead of mint

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Simple Kitchen Spices That Boost Immunity

Do you want to boost your immune system,  improve your defense against aging, and have a stronger defense against exposure to the harmful affects of environmental pollution, chemicals in foods, and stress?

Herbs like oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and mint can boost the health value of your meals with protective antioxidants ! ( I grow all of those herbs in little pots on my patio and use them in my cooking)

It is hard to believe, but according to extensive research done at the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, fresh oregano leads the herbs with 42 times the antioxidant activity of apples, 12 times the antioxidant activity of oranges, and  4 times the antioxidant activity of blueberries.

That means that one tablespoon of fresh oregano provides the same antioxidant activity as a small fresh apple. Adding fresh grown herbs to your salads, omelettes, soups, etc. can help boost your antioxidant activity and  immunity.

Why is antioxidant activity important to your good health?

Antioxidants fight free radicals! Fights aging

Exposure to stress, pollutants, smoke, chemicals, radiation, toxins, pesticides, allergies, etc. triggers the production of free radicals in our bodies, which damage the cells and tissues of our body. We become like a car that is rusting. The damage done to our bodies by free radicals contributes to almost all diseases including heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, cancer and even cataracts.

Antioxidants, which are plentiful in fruits,vegetables, nuts, seed, and spices, help protect us against the continuous damage done by free radicals ( Lester Packer- PH.D. Univ of California Research) . In the past thirty years there has been extensive research on the benefits of antioxidants. Even the researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture state,  "antioxidants could provide potential anti-cancer benefits when supplementing a balanced diet."

Since small amounts of herbs and spices provide high antioxidant protection, doesn't it make sense to make an effort to include more of them in your food ?

Fresh Oregano, rosemary, dill, thyme and mint are the strongest of the herbs in antioxidant value. And of course, the fresher the herb, the more potent the antioxidants.  Spices like turmeric, cumin, cilantro, and basil provide other important nutrients as well. And fruits and vegetables contain other vitamins and minerals in addition to antioxidants, so keep eating them ( organic and GMO free are the best)

Herbs are easy to grow on your windowsill, deck, or garden
This past spring, I planted fresh herbs in little pots and  grew them on my patio ledge all summer. Last year, my May 28 blog post had pictures of all my adorable herbs and some recipes using fresh herbs. Read my post How to Grow Herbs on Your Windowsill

It was my first time planting window herbs, and I chose a small pot each of oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, dill, cilantro, basil, and stevia. I had to ask friends to water while I was on vacation, but it in mid September  I was still enjoying the health giving benefits and great taste of my prolific fresh herbs.
The dill and cilantro gave up when the weather got really hot, but everything else was still  producing

I snip herbs for salads,salad dressings, soups, roasted vegetables. I bought some ripe organic tomatoes from a local farm, and yesterday I made a huge bowl of tomato, red onion, and fresh basil salad with lemon and oil dressing and sprinkled with cumin.
I also use the fresh herbs in omelets, Caprese salad, etc.
In addition, I dried, crumbled, and stored some of the herbs for winter use.
I didn't use the stevia, but I will dry some to use in tea for the winter.

Fresh herbs are so easy to grow and are potent antioxidant providers. I encourage you to plant some this  spring.

Why are fresh herbs that you grow more nutritious than the ones you buy already cut in the supermarket?
The fresh herbs retain all the nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals right up until the minute you cut them. Store bought produce begins to lose some of its nutrient value after its is cut and sits.

Antioxidants: Most people don't realize that herbs have been used for thousands of years and add powerful antioxidants to all of your meals.

Oregano-: Add to pizza, Italian recipes, etc.

Rosemary: Rosemary roasted potatoes, meat dishes

Thyme: Add to recipes using cooked tomatoes, soups, 

Parsley:  Add fresh to salads,  potato salad, Soups, pasta salads,  

Cilantro:  Add to salads, tomato dishes, Mexican recipes, Middle Eastern recipes 

Basil : Good with tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, caprese salad,

shared on  Wildcrafting Wednesday 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The information in this blog is for educational purposes only.  Always check with your doctor before making any changes or adding any new foods, supplements, or herbs to your diet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vegetarian Chopped Liver

This recipe is made with vegetables but actually taste like chopped liver. It is vegan and gluten free.

Does anyone eat real chopped liver? The fat content is so high.
Although, one of my father's favorite summer meals was a heaping bowl of fresh  blueberries with a whole pint of real sour cream. If that was not enough, he would wash it down with a large glass of whole fat milk that had been left on our doorstep that morning by the milkman.

My father was tall, strong, healthy, and slim despite his daily indulgences in real sour cream, butter, whipped cream, whole milk. I grew up in the early 1950's and 60's. Time of the Beatles, Elvis, black and white TV, and real food. We ate liver- an organ food loaded with cholesterol, bad fat ,and probably full of toxins.

My father liked his liver chopped. To please him, my mother spent what seemed like hours making the recipe. First, she  attached the big grinder to the counter top and then cooked the liver and onions and  pushed the liver, onions, and spices through that huge grinder to make the prized chopped liver.  It was a laborious job, but thats what people did in those days.

Was the food healthy? Who  knows? My family thrived on it.. my grandmother lived to a healthy old age of 107..

As for me, I am a vegetarian and choose foods  that I feel are healthier options.

This is my recipe for Vegetarian Chopped LiverIt takes about 20 minutes to make.

I call it  walnut pate , vegan pate or vegan chopped liver whatever name seems to fit when I am serving it .It is a delicious recipe and almost tastes like the real thing. It is made with walnuts and a little olive oil, which are both  touted for being very healthy fats rich in Omega 3. The remainder of the recipe is vegetables, so enjoy as a spread or even as a 1st course appetizer with wedges of ripe jersey tomatoes and crisp cucumber slices.  It is fast and easy to make and everyone ( except chopped liver haters) loves it.. I make it for company all the time and there is never a drop left over. Try it you will like it..

Please leave comments. It is nice to know who is reading my blog and what you think of the recipes and shared information. If you have a variation of the recipe that you make, PLEASE share it in the comments following each blog.. Everyone will enjoy the variety of ideas and interaction.

Vegetarian and vegan chopped liver

1 can of petite sweet peas, drained ( I think canned works best , but try fresh or frozen, but thaw well and drain)
1 cup of walnut halves or pieces
2 very large onions, slice in half moons
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Spray a dutch oven with olive oil spray and add 3 T olive oil. Very slowly and stir often,  saute onions slices until caramelized and reddish. Set aside

Use a food processor with the sharp blade  Add nuts and pulse until coarsely ground not smooth.
Then add peas and cooked onions. sea salt and pepper to taste
Pulse until mixture is smooth.
Its done!
Put into a small domed bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator
Turn out onto a flat serving plate and decorate with tomato wedges and cucumber slices on the side.
Enjoy with gluten free crackers, crudites, or gluten free bread.

Visual Step by Step

Assemble Ingredients and slice onions in half moons

Pulse nuts in food processor

Saute onions until caramelized
Process onions, walnuts, peas in processor until smooth and creamy

turn contents over and serve as a dome
Disclaimer: These are not gluten free rolls, I took this picture when serving company
Gluten free rolls are available at Trader Joe's

Again please leave comments in the comment section at the end of this blog. It is nice to know who is reading my blog and what you think of the recipes and shared information. If you have a variation of the recipe that you make, PLEASE share it in the comments following each blog.. Everyone will enjoy the variety of ideas and interaction.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Good Video that explains Gluten Intolerance

If you need to understand gluten intolerance better, this video explains gluten intolerance very well .
It's worth watching

People frequently ask me to explain what causes gluten intolerance. I came across this video and thought it explained the causes very well.
Disclaimer: I do not endorse, nor am I affiliated with this video. It is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. I

Gluten Video Dr Rodney Ford

Disclaimer: I an not endorsing or affiliated with this video. I found it interesting and am simply sharing for information purposes.