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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (3/16/12) ~

Culinary Q & A #2On this, the eve of St. Patrick's Day, I'm here to tell you, March has been an "odd" month here in Central PA. Typically, we are used to cold winds and rain, which keeps me cooking warm comfort food until the end of the month.  Not so this year, we have had an entire week of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to upper 70's.  Joe not only cleaned our BBQ grill, he's used it three times.  Our deck and patio furniture is out and I actually drank my AM coffee outside yesterday!

Mel's Irish March Madness Menu:

Irish Soda BreadWhile I personally am not Irish, I do enjoy this holiday and Kitchen Encounters has posted some wonderful Irish recipes guaranteed to make your St. Patrick's Day a tasty one.  We'll start our day out tomorrow morning with my recipe for: ~ Irish Eyes are Smilin' on Mary's Irish Soda Bread ~, found in Categories 5 & 11.  It is pictured here served in the traditional manner:  toasted w/butter and jam!

PICT0094For a warm and hearty lunch, we'll be having a bowl of my ~ Baked Potato, Roasted Garlic & Cheddar Cheese Soup ~, and you can find this recipe in Categories 2, 11, & 22. It is thick and rich and so full of the subtle flavors of bacon, garlic and cheddar, everyone is going to want seconds.  I made a big pot, for Sunday leftovers.  While everyone is watching the basketball games, they'll be anticipating dinner:

Corned Beef #1 (Intro Picture)My ~ Braised & Brown Sugar Crusted Corned Beef ~, found in Categories 2, 3, 11, 19 & 20, has garnered a permanent spot on our St. Patrick's Day dinner table.  I'll be making deli-style sandwiches served on my ~ Crusty Caraway Seed Dinner/Sandwich Rolls ~, found in Categories 5 & 12.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!


PICT2728I had one question this week from a Facebook reader who read my post on Tuesday for: ~ The New Meaning of Outstanding:  Iberico Pork ~.  The entire meal was made on the grill and I served the pork with roasted sweet potatoes and caramelized onions.

Q.  Michal asks:  Mel, you showed caramelized onions with the Iberico pork.  Can you tell me how you make them?  I ran a search on your blog and nothing came up.

A.  Kitchen Encounters: Great to hear from Michal!  I am so happy you asked about this! Caramelizing onions on the grill isn't so much a recipe as it is a technique Joe and I use and everyone just loves them.  You'll be happy to know it's super-easy too.  Before we start, note that I use large, yellow or sweet onions exclusively on the grill!

PICT2716 PICT2705Peel and slice each onion in half, pole-to-pole. (as many onions as you want to caramelize).  Place them, flat sides down, side-by-side, in an appropriately-sized disposable aluminum pan, which has had some butter melted into some olive oil over low heat.  In this pan, I have melted 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter into 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.  

PICT2719Seal the pan tightly with aluminum foil.  You must seal the pan with foil, because you not only want to caramelize the onion, you need to cook it through too.  The steam build-up in the covered pan will achieve both objectives!

Note:  To speed up the caramelization process, cut onions into quarters, remembering to slice them pole-to-pole!

PICT2705Place the pan, over medium-high heat, on the grill grids, and allow to cook until the flat sides of the onion are golden and the rest of the onion is fork tender.  Depending upon the size of the onion and the hotness of your gill, this can take 15-30 minutes, with the finished color and texture being more important than the time it takes to get it there!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or, email me directly!

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

(Recipes, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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