BONUS BLOG – Pickled Red Onions

Happy Friday and welcome to another BONUS BLOG! We like to throw these shorter recipe posts in to highlight techniques or simple recipes that pack a big punch. These Pickled Red Onions do exactly that. They are small but mighty, bringing huge flavor to any dish!

If you’ve been along on this journey with me from the start, you may remember my onion rant in our blog about the Peanut Stew Incident of 2021. Aside from rainbow sprinkles, onions are probably my number one food obsession. They are incredible raw, sautéed or caramelized, but take those scrumptious little veggies and pickle them in a sweet brine and EUREKA, you have a masterpiece!

These Pickled Red Onions will take any dish to the next level. We use them on tacos, sandwiches, quesadillas, salads – literally anything you can think of. You could, for example, add them to our Greek Chicken Pitas for an extra layer of flavor (hint, hint). Play with them! Use them in your own favorite meal and see how they enhance it.

Pre-COVID, we would have people over often, and these were always a hit. On multiple occasions, friends asked for the jar and a fork after the meal was over and just went to town on these bad boys. In fact, this was one of our most requested recipes from family and friends when they learned about this blog. We hope that you will find them just as addicting and always keep a jar on hand, like we do! Who knows, you just might need them for our next post coming out on Tuesday …

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Techniques, Uncategorized

BONUS BLOG – Perfectly Textured Tofu

Welcome to our first BONUS BLOG! We plan to do these shorter blog posts occasionally when we have a dish or technique to share that will be used in other recipes in the future. Today, we’re talking about tofu! We will be featuring a few tofu dishes on Feet Up in the Dining Room, the first of which will be shared on Tuesday.

In our family, we eat a good amount of poultry and seafood but we also love to use tofu. Many people are put off by the texture, and I don’t blame them. If you were to just take it out of the container, drain it and cook it, you would have something that’s mushy and relatively tasteless. However, if you know how to make it properly, tofu can be a really excellent meat replacement for any dish!

Pre-COVID, we would have people over for dinner often. As many of our friends are strictly vegetarian or vegan, we have quite a few meat free recipes in our rotation. In fact, our former restaurant, Burrito Fresco, was known for being extremely veggie friendly as we made sure our non-meat options were up to par and delicious, not just substitutions.

Below, we share a technique for cooking tofu that Steven Michael has perfected over the years. Through a lot of trial and error, he was able to find a way to make tofu with the perfect texture, while keeping it healthy. It’s common for people to fry their tofu in an attempt to fix the texture, instead Steven Michael bakes it to avoid adding extra fat . This is just a technique and not a full recipe, however, this will be linked back to for future recipes starting with our next post this coming Tuesday, BBQ Tofu Bowls. We hope you enjoy!

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Peanut Stew with Turkey Meatballs

Well, I promised this blog wouldn’t be all successful recipes and here we are. Right out of the gate, we have a failure. This was not disgusting but also … not good. It was edible enough, but no one was going back for seconds after choking down our first helpings. But look how pretty it turned out!

Many times, Steven Michael will find a recipe online and use it as a jumping off point to cook something for the family. He will take the base recipe and tweak it in the process of making it to fit our palettes. We love ethnic food, so when he found a recipe for Peanut Stew with Chicken Meatballs, we decided to give it a try. The original recipe was similar, but called for more spicy ingredients and, as I’m a complete wuss when it comes to heat, Steven Michael made this mild for me. Honestly, I don’t think all the spice in the world could have saved this one. Unless, it was so spicy you lost your ability to taste and just assumed it was delicious. He also substituted ground turkey instead of chicken for the meatballs and spinach for kale, but let’s be honest, that’s an improvement. Kale = eww.

We had really high hopes as the cooking process began. He started with the meatballs as I got out my pad and pencil to document the recipe and propped my feet up on the chair next to me.

I’ll admit, I was excited to try the meatballs because they had big chunks of onions and garlic in them. If I had to name a single ingredient that gets me super pumped to eat a dish, it would be freaking onions. Full disclosure, I “hated” onions for over half my life because my mother hated onions. As a kid, I constantly listened to her order everything without onions (or tomatoes), and so I assumed they must be gross. WRONG. There was a time when I would lie to waiters and tell them I was allergic to them to make sure they didn’t forget to remove them from my food. That worked out pretty well for the most part, until a super concerned waiter at a BBQ place informed me that I couldn’t have the BBQ sauce because it was cooked with onions in it. That lie really came back to bite me in the ass. I awkwardly explained that BBQ sauce onions were just fine, just not other onions (cough cough). Fast forward to a few years into dating Steven Michael, when he forced me to try onions and BAM! Life changed.

Sorry, I got a little off topic there … back to the stew. Once the meatballs were in the oven and smelling great, Steven Michael moved on to preparing the Peanut Stew. This is where things get weird. At first, the kitchen smelled amazing as the onions (yay, onions!) and other veggies were being sautéed. Then, very slowly, it started to smell like the barn at my Aunt Marion’s horse farm that I used to visit as a child. Not a good sign.

When the stew was plated and ready to eat, Steven Michael and I looked at each other, counted to three and took our first bites. Nope. Despite being full of highly flavored ingredients, the end result was bland AF with an undertone of gross. As I said earlier, it wasn’t inedible, it just wasn’t enjoyable. The bites with a little bit of meatball and an actual peanut in them were almost good. Almost. We ate our bowls, and immediately went to the cupboard to find something tasty to cover the blah.

I know I just spent six (well, five if you don’t count my onion rant) paragraphs telling you how bad this was, but I don’t want to discourage you from trying it for yourselves. Do what Steven Michael did and use this as a jumping off point to create your own version of this (horrible) meal. There is definitely a way to make this delicious, we just didn’t hit a home run this time. If you do, let us know how it went!