Caramelized onions are like the butter of the gods

Caramelized onions are so good they’ve brought me back from a laziness-induced semi-retirement from blogging. I made a big batch of these when my CSA box showed up overflowing with oniony goodness. When six large onions and a half of a stick of butter spend two hours or so in a big old Le Creuset dutch oven truly magical things happen.

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Things I did with this batch of onions:

  • Used as a key condiment in a turkey sandwich
  • Tossed with pasta, peas, and roasted chicken for a simple supper
  • Mixed with ricotta cheese for a homemade ravioli filling (with wonton wrappers…so easy)
  • Gave a jar to a friend who had us over for a truly exceptionally amazing dinner
  • Smeared on toast with crumbled goat cheese
  • Filled an omelet along with spinach and ham
It’s my goal to always have some in the fridge or freezer since there’s nothing a little bit of caramelized onion can’t improve upon.
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Mini plant pot wrappers – by popular demand

I’ve gotten a few requests for the paper template we used to wrap the seedling pots our wedding favors came in. You know, these guys:

succulents wedding favors

Again, we just used the standard plastic seedling pot that the succulents came in. We wrapped them in paper and used printable gold foil labels from Paper Source to add the decorative seal.

So here’s the template file. Click to view in full screen and print.

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Posted in wedding

Speaking of adorable baby heads…

Check out my gorgeous little cousin, Charlotte, holding my brand new niece, Paige. Matchy matchy.


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Baby heads are better than grown up heads

Because they look adorable in hats like this. I knit this on a plane coming back from New York for my co-worker’s totally adorable newborn daughter. Check her out!

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Winning weeknight dinner #2: Steak salad with corn

Loyal readers of this (oft-neglected) blog will remember how much I love to declare victory over weeknight dinners.

Tonight was easy because I had good stuff on hand including half of a grilled flank steak in the fridge. Cheating? Maybe. Totally within bounds? Absolutely.

The star of this recipe are the grilled baby potatoes. These suckers are like what tater tots want to be when they grow up. Make these. They’re worth the effort. I guess if you’re feeling a wee lazy or white trash you could actually use tater tots. I won’t judge.

Steak salad

Steak Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Grilled Potatoes

12 oz flank steak
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes halves
1 cup corn, cut off cob is best
10 baby potatoes
2 oz blue cheese
equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil
Salt and pepper

Season the steak with salt and pepper, grill 4 mins per side, and allow to rest for at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile, par boil potatoes. Once slightly cooled toss with a little olive oil, lay on a cutting board and smash slightly with the palm of your hand. Grill these too. Once you do this, you will want to do this every night.

In a salad bowl, combine some oil and vinegar with salt and pepper. Toss with corn and tomatoes. Add spinach and toss throughly. Let it wilt for a few minutes while you slice the steak super thinly.

Top the salad with steak, potatoes, and blue cheese.

Serve. Plan to save some for lunch tomorrow and abandon that plan when you realize it’s totally delicious and you don’t want to stop and it’s not that heavy a dinner anyway so you should really just finish it off. Enjoy.

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Soft boiled eggs for JSC

I think about my grandmother a lot on April 15 as this would have been her birthday. She had so many wonderful qualities that I strive to emulate including grace, warmth, and generosity. Most notably as it relates to this blog, she was an amazing cook.

There were four breakfast items, in particular, that stand out in my memory: belgian waffles made with soda water for extra lift, Quaker Oat Squares, blueberry muffins, and soft boiled eggs. She served the latter in the shell in delicate egg cups with strips of buttered toast for dipping. I always found them challenging; both the runny texture and the process of scooping out the egg with a tiny spoon weren’t really designed for the under-ten set. But as an adult I’ve rediscovered the glory of the six minute egg. The technique produces eggs not unlike perfectly poached eggs with none of the mess.

I made time this morning to cook a few and served them as she would if grandchildren asked nicely: over cubes of buttered toast. Had my grandmother been a gangsta I would pour out a bit of my Colt 40 in her honor. As it is, I’ll spill a little yolk instead.

soft boiled eggs

Soft boiled eggs on buttered toast

The technique is simple and can be done on any weekday morning. Boil a pot of water. Add two eggs gently — I use a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6-7 minutes. Move eggs to cold water for a second. Crack and peel (carefully) as you would a hard boiled egg. Eggs that aren’t fresh from the hen are best for this as they peel more easily. Serve over toast that you’ve buttered and cut into small cubes or on buttered english muffin halves. Really…it’s all about the butter and the absorbent bread product. Improvise.

There is no better breakfast.

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Wedding bands so good they deserve their own post

I showed some love to our fabulous wedding vendors a few months back, but didn’t mention the bands who played our wedding and rehearsal dinner. My bad.

Searching for a wedding band sucked. There’s a lot of cheese to be found in the wedding band circuit, and there are only so many horrific, tinny versions of Mack the Knife a girl can stand listening to online before she just goes nuts.

We stumbled on two great bands that we can’t recommend highly enough. Check them out:

 


 

Martini Straight Up

We wanted a big band sound that didn’t sound like bad karaoke and would have all of our guests — from 2 to 72 — dancing all night. And that’s what we got. Rich Martini, the band leader, is the consummate professional. He listened to what we wanted and was eager to deliver. We also requested two custom songs, which the band was happy to learn and performed beautifully during our reception.

The best part? For less than we were quoted for some three piece bands, we got 9 pieces including a 3-piece horn section for our full reception plus a 3-piece jazz group for cocktails. Not going to lie, a band is still a big line item, but we definitely feel like we got a great value with Martini Straight Up and totally recommend them for Bay Area events.

 


 

The Easy Leaves

We weren’t really planning to have a band at our rehearsal dinner — a bbq on the lawn at the Geyserville Inn — but when we fell deeply in smit with these two crooners playing at a winery holiday party, we had to find out if they’d play our shindig. They would, and they did, and they were absolutely awesome.

The band consists of two guys on an upright bass and a guitar, though they also play with a pedal steel and drums. They play all original music and it’s fun, infectious old-timey bluegrass/Americana/alt country goodness.  Our impromptu dance party was such a blast that we passed the hat to add another hour and they started all over again, because they’d played through their entire catalog. My 2-year-old nephew danced from the first song to the last and was disappointed that they didn’t come back for the wedding. Fan for life.

The evening ended with the majority of my family purchasing their CD, and I’m sure they have a cult following in New Hampshire as a result. They certainly have a cult following in my car where I regularly blare Dance with me Katie and One Flash in the Pocket. Mmmm. Hippie goodness.

 


 

Jon Shearer

An absolutely lovely man who played acoustic guitar for our ceremony. Delightful to deal with. Beautiful music that was just the right tone. And very affordable to boot.

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