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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie

06/07/2021

~Caramelized Onion, Gruyère & Dijonnaise Omelette~

IMG_1787As a bigger fan of fluffy American-style omelettes vs skinny French omelettes, and, as an advocate for savory breakfasts over cloyingly-sweet breakfasts, this egg-cellent caramelized onion-stuffed cheese omelette is one of my favorite ways to break the fast -- it tastes every bit as good as it looks  There's more.  It pairs perfectly with a bloody Mary for breakfast (no orange or grapefruit juice with this omelette please), a glass of wine for lunch, or, a pilsner of beer for dinner.

IMG_1630 2Caramelized onions seem to slip through the cracks when many of us are pondering breakfast. Trust me when I tell you, eggs love caramelized onions.  While I adore them in an omelette, they're excellent mixed into a frittata, layered into a quiche, or, folded into scrambled eggs too. it does take a bit of time and patience (not energy) to properly caramelize  onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop.

Put the coffee on, roll up your sleeves & break an egg.

IMG_1724For each omelette:

3  large eggs, preferably at room temperature

1/4  cup cream or half-and-half

2  tablespoons Dijonaisse, (Note: My recipe for Dijonaisse is a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, dehydrated minced garlic, dehydrated minced onion, and, coarse-grind black pepper.

1/2  cup shredded gruyère cheese

1/2  cup caramelized onions

2  teaspoons salted butter

For the optional accompaniment:

1  medium handful mixed Spring greens

6-8  cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters or sliced into coins

IMG_1731 IMG_1731~Step 1. Crack the large eggs into a 1-cup measuring container and add enough cream or half-and-half to total 3/4 cups total liquid (about 4 tablespoons).  Add the Dijonnaise.  Use a fork to whisk vigorously, until thoroughly combined.

IMG_1735 IMG_1735 IMG_1735 IMG_1743 IMG_1743~Step 2.  In an 8" nonstick skillet, melt butter over low heat.  When butter has melted, use the fork to briefly rewhisk egg mixture, then pour it into the warmed skillet. By patiently manually lifting, lowering, and tilting the pan on and off the heat, allow eggs to set up a bit around the sides of the skillet -- about 45 seconds over low heat w/no pressure to rush.

IMG_1751 IMG_1751 IMG_1751~Step 3.  Increase heat to medium.  In various spots around the entire perimeter of the skillet, slip a thin spatula under the setting eggs.  In each of those spots use the spatula to lift the eggs up, while, at the same time, tilting the pan in the direction of the spatula to allow the remaining liquid to flow down and into the setting eggs -- about 45 seconds over medium heat w/no pressure to rush.  The surface of the omelette should be semi-moist and glistening with no liquid or little liquid puddling on the top

IMG_1760 IMG_1760 IMG_1760 IMG_1760 IMG_1786~Step 4.  Decrease the heat to low.  Scatter the Gruyère cheese, in a half-moon shape, over half of the omelette, then, scatter the caramelized onions atop the cheese.  Give cheese about 45 seconds to soften over low heat with no pressure to rush.  Using a large spatula, lift the empty side of the omelette up and over the cheesy side of the omelette.  Allow the omelette to rest in the pan about 45 seconds.  With the aid of a wide spatula, gently slide omelette from skillet to plate and serve immediately with the Spring mix and tomatoes.  

Transfer to plate & serve w/Spring mix & tomatoes:

IMG_1774Caramelized Onion, Gruyère & Dijonnaise Omelette:  Recipe yields instructions to make one hearty omelette/1-2 servings.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; fork; hand-held box grater; 8" nonstick skillet; large thin spatula; large wide spatula

6a0120a8551282970b0240a48937be200dCook's Note: I declare:  I love briny tapenade in an omelete as much as I like caramelized onions in an omelette.  Throw in a few salty crumbles of feta cheese, place it on a bed of bright green baby arugula or baby spinach leaves and garnish with a few diced tomatoes.  Toast goes nicely, but there's no need for bacon or sausage with this any-time-of-the-day meal.  Life in the 'burbs with this omelet in it is very, very good.  ~ Mediterranean-Style Olive Tapenade & Feta Omelette ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos Courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021) 

06/04/2021

~ My Dijonaisse-Dressed Baked Russet Potato Salad ~

IMG_1689I'm a lover of potato salad, and, when a hankering for it hits, I don't want to waste a lot of time getting from point A to point B, meaning, I want potato salad, aka as quickly as possible. For that reason, this is my "go to" recipe --  it's nothing fancy, but, it's done within the hour (and in potato salad time, that's quick).  There's more.  While the potatoes are in the microwave oven baking, I often chop some optional additions (celery, onion and/or hard-cooked egg), and mix them in too, but, I'm here to tell you, this quick-fix potato salad, pure and simple, tastes great just as it is.

Do we need another potato salad recipe in a long line of potato salad recipes?  You betcha.  This one is one more to love:

6a0120a8551282970b0264e2e2ff8f200dThe cook in every family has a favorite potato salad recipe. From my Eastern European heritage family, in my repertoire, Classic Creamy Potato and Egg SaladBaked Russet-Potato Salad, Red Potato Salad w/Horseradish-Mayonnaise, and, Vintage Pea, Carrot & Potato Salad Olivier, are amongst my family's favorites. That said, unlike almost all of our grandmothers and grandfathers, we of subsequent generations began moving or traveling to different areas of the US and/or started traveling around the world -- we eat globally and regionally, as well as locally. Our pantries contain spices and ingredients from many cultures, and, because potatoes are a great foil for foodie creativity, it should come as no shock to anyone that potato salad has been fused with flavors from other cuisines.  Example:  My Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo, pairs great with almost any Tex-Mex-style grilled chicken, steak or spareribs.

Got a hankering for potato salad?  Ready, set, go:

IMG_1494For my French-style Dijonnaise:

3/4  cup high-quality mayonnaise, Hellmann's or Duke's

6  tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

2  generous teaspoons dehydrated minced garlic

2  generous teaspoons dehydrated minced onion

1  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

IMG_1713For the potatoes & optional add-ins:

4  large or 5 medium Russet potatoes, baked in the microwave and chopped as directed below

4-6 large hard-cooked and chopped eggs (optional)

3/4-1  cup diced celery (optional)

1/2-3/4  cup diced yellow or sweet onion (optional)

IMG_1501 IMG_1501 IMG_1501~ Step 1.  Measure and place all ingredients in a 2-cup-size food-storage container.  Stir to combine. While the potatoes are baking in the microwave (about 15 minutes), refrigerate the Dijonnaise --  just to chill it down a bit.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad384d13e200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad384d147200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3ca8044200b~ Step 2.  Rinse the Russet potatoes, and, using the sharp tip of a paring knife, pierce their skin in 4-5 spots. Microwave until potatoes are fork-tender, yet still-firm and slightly undercooked.  In my microwave this takes about 18 minutes.  Remove from microwave.  Slice the Russet into 1/2" - 3/4" discs, then, peel back the skins from the discs.  Slice the discs into 1/2"-3/4 chunks, placing them on a baking pan as you work.  Place the potatoes in the refrigerator for 8-10 minutes to quickly cool the potatoes to below room temperature.  If you want to add any of the optional add-ins, read Step 3.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3ca80aa200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3aad67c200d 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3ca80b1200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3ca80b6200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3aad689200d~Step 3.  The moment the potatoes go into the microwave, now's the time to prep any or all of the optional add-ins. Hard-cook the eggs (either via the blue link to my method or your favorite method) as directed.  Do not overcook the eggs -- everyone detests those greenish-gray halos around overcooked yolks. Peel and dice the eggs into 3/4" bite-sized pieces and set aside.  Dice the celery and onions -- small or medium dice, your choice.  Set aside.

IMG_1716 IMG_1716 IMG_1716~ Step 4.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the Dijonaisse.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold Dijonaisse into potatoes. Add and fold in any of the optional additions too.  Cover and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.

It's a great cool-down side-dish to Buffalo chicken wings:

IMG_1670And perfect alongside a cheeseburger craving too:

IMG_1647My Dijonaisse-Dressed Baked Russet Potato Salad:  Recipe yields 6-8 cups/6 cups without additions/8 cups with additions/8-10 servings.

Special Equipment List: 2-cup food-storage container w/tight-fitting lid; spoon; paring knife; cutting board; chef's knife; large rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b02788019d282200dCook's Note: Mom's macaroni salad. This, now retro, 1950's era recipe is nothing fancy, nothing special, and, definitely not gourmet.  It's simply old-fashioned, pull-a-chair-up-to-the-table lip-smacking goodness. There's more, if one keeps this easy--to-make, creamy-crunchy picnic-and-potluck side-dish staple on-hand in their refrigerator, it only takes one scoop from the bowl to a plate to turn anything, from a lunchtime sandwich to a dinnertime pork chop, into a delightful meal. Try ~ Mom's No-Nonsense Elbow Macaroni & Egg Salad ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)

06/01/2021

~So You'd Like Perfectly Caramelized Onions on That~

IMG_1641Caramelized onions are a marvelous condiment to have on-hand.  They're an awesome topper for a hamburger, steak or cheesesteak, they're wonderful on pizza, and, oh-my-sigh, I love them in a cheese omelette for breakfast. That said, it does take a bit of time and patience (not energy) to properly caramelize  onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop, and, after all, one can't serve French onion anything without properly caramelized onions -- quite frankly, they're the star of any French onion show. The words I use to describe the task of caramelizing onions on the stovetop:  a super-easy babysitting job.

6a0120a8551282970b017d3bf9e9ba970c 2Caramelizing onions = a super-easy babysitting job.

6a0120a8551282970b026bded58163200cFor the caramelized onions:

1 pound (after peeling) 1/8"-1/4"-thick-sliced half-moon-shaped sweet onion  

2  tablespoons salted butter

2  tablespoons olive oil

1  teaspoon granulated sugar 

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

2-4  tablespoons sweet white wine or sherry, for deglazing pan (water may be substituted)

6a0120a8551282970b0278802d7740200d 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d7740200d 6a0120a8551282970b026bded5823a200c 6a0120a8551282970b026bded5823a200c 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d7772200d 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d7772200d 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d7772200d~Step 1. Peel and slice onions.  Over low heat, in a 12" skillet, melt butter into olive oil.  Add onions to skillet.  Season with sugar and salt.  Using a slotted spoon or spatula, stir until the onions are coated in oil/butter.

6a0120a8551282970b0282e105d4bc200b 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d77b8200d 6a0120a8551282970b026bded58278200c 6a0120a8551282970b0282e105d4c1200b 6a0120a8551282970b0278802d77d2200d 6a0120a8551282970b026bded58289200c 6a0120a8551282970b026bded582a3200c~Step 2.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Continue to slowly cook, stirring occasionally.  After 10 minutes, onions will have lost a lot of volume and will be limp and steamed through.  There won't be any browning just yet. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. It's now that you are going to start to see what I refer to as light browning.  Continue to cook, stirring more frequently, another 10 minutes. Now the onions are nicely-browned and truly beginning to caramelize.  Keep going.

6a0120a8551282970b026bded582be200cNote:  From this point on, do not leave the stove.  The onions will require almost constant stirring, and, they can and will go from browned to burned quickly.  My onions cooked for another 5 minutes today, with me stirring constantly, before I added the wine and quickly (30-45 seconds) deglazed the pan, or, for a total of 35 minutes.  Deglazing the pan is an important step that takes caramelized onions from ordinary to extraordinary, so, don't skip it.  Transfer  the caramelized onions to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

You'll love 'em on my Pan-Seared French-Onion Burgers

IMG_1594You'll love 'em in my breakfast, lunch or dinner Caramelized Onion, Gruyère & Dijonaisse Omelette too:

IMG_1787Would You Like Caramelized Onions on the Burger?:  Recipe yields 1 cup caramelized onions.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12" nonstick skillet; large slotted spoon or spatula; paper towels

IMG_1628Cook's Note: As far as mayonnaise-based condiments go, this is the condiment that makes everything taste fancy schmancy in a French kinda way, and, it complements caramelized onions perfectly.  It is sooooo good on sooooo many things.  To name a few: French fries, steamed or grilled vegetables, an ordinary ham or turkey sandwich, and, of course, a mouth-watering cheeseburger.  There's more.  It's great used as a dressing for potato salad.  Make a big batch or a small batch, whatever you need, it's only going to take five minutes.  Try my  ~ Dijonnaise -- Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard and Spices ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)