A Versatile Red Onion Marmalade

We went to BJ’s Wholesale Club Labor Day weekend to pick up a rack of ribs for smoking. While we were there, I decided to pick up some red onion to add to a quinoa salad. Of course, we were forced to buy the 3 lb bag of red onions, when all I really needed was one. So, we used a few red onions here and there the past few weeks, but we still had quite a bit left. I originally thought I would make pickled red onions with the left overs because I love anything pickled. But as I was searching Pinterest, I came across a red onion marmalade recipe. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) I decided to make this because it looked more versatile – I could potentially use the marmalade to complement more types of dishes.

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At first, I thought it look very much like caramelized onion, but it truly is more like a marmalade – much sweeter and stickier than caramelized onion. That threw me off at first; I thought maybe I used too much brown sugar or butter, but it’s meant to be that way. In the end, I think I may have still reduced the sugar and butter by just a little bit or added more red onion to suit my taste buds.

Overall, this was really simple and I followed the recipe pretty closely. I sliced the onion, melted the butter, mixed in the onion, and then mixed in the brown sugar.

 

I left the stove on medium/low heat just so the mixture was constantly on a “low bubble”.  It took about 30 minutes for me to cook this down until the onions were tender and dark and the mixture was super sticky (not a lot left to reduce down). I then added the red wine vinegar a little bit at a time, cooked it down, then added more, etc. until the red wine vinegar was used up. This took about another 10 minutes.

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Approximately 5 minutes into cooking
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Near the end of cooking

We had some steak in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten that night, so Jake fired up the grill and we enjoyed the marmalade as a topping. Jake really liked it, I think particularly because he has a sweet tooth. I have to admit, it did pair nicely with the savory steak. On the side, we had air fried kale and mushrooms. I also made roasted potatoes with garlic and green onion.

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I think this might also go really well with the traditional piece of toast or can even be used as part of a marinade, incorporated into salad dressing, or used as a puff pastry appetizer topping! Yum!

I hope to see some comments about successful marmalades you’ve made and what you like to eat them with!

Sincerely,
Fu’d

Oui Oui, French Bread & Shrimp Scampi

Jake’s dad makes a lot of really scrumptious seafood dishes. One of those dishes is his famous shrimp scampi that I have only heard whispers about, but had not actually witnessed or tried myself. Last night put an end to all those rumors! Jake’s parents came over and not only made that famous shrimp scampi for us, but also taught us how to make it. Warning: I’m not at liberty to divulge all the details, but I will talk about some of its ingredients and leave you drooling with some photos. In honor of the shrimp scampi, I also put my new stand mixer to use again and made a fresh loaf of french bread.

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The surprising and not-so-surprising thing about the shrimp scampi recipe is that it is very simple – not a lot of ingredients. It is primarily comprised of clam juice, butter, clams, and garlic. Seasonings and other flavorings seem like they could be up to you. You could even add a little at a time, taste test, adjust, and repeat until you’re happy with the flavors. In my opinion, any of the following could add some nice flavors: salt, pepper, scallions, shallots, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, a squirt of lemon, or splash of white wine or white cooking wine. You’ll obviously need shrimp to make it shrimp scampi, but you can feel free to add whatever other seafood you like. In this case, we had shrimp, scallops, and lobster – the trifecta. A flaky white fish or muscles would also complement this dish well.

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Lobster is prepped and ready to add into the sauce
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Sauce being cooked on the stove

We enjoyed the sauce with some linguini. I almost offered to make fresh pasta with my new stand mixer pasta attachments. But since I’m still a novice at that, I didn’t want to mess up the dish or the cooking lesson. Next time, it will definitely be worth a try.

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Whenever you have a pasta dish in front of you, it is a requirement that you have some bread to sop up that extra sauce. So, here comes the french bread. As usual, I used handy dandy Pinterest to find an easy recipe. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) The actual work to make the bread isn’t difficult, but I had no idea how time consuming the entire process is. If I ever make bread again, I would not make a single loaf. If I’m going to spend an entire day waiting for the dough to rise, I would probably make a few loaves.

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In this recipe (and I think most bread recipes like this), you need to let the dough rise for an hour, then punch it down, let it rise for another 30 min, then shape the loaf, and let it rise for another 30-60 minutes. I chose to brush the loaf with an egg white wash before baking. However, it seemed a bit dry, so I decided to additionally brush it with butter and some dried rosemary near the end of the baking time and after it was done and out of the oven. Wow, the aroma from the butter and rosemary was SO good. Also, about halfway through the baking, the bottom of the bread was browning a lot faster than the rest. Since the bread was firm enough at that time, I put it on a baking rack, which sat on top of the baking sheet.

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The bread had a nice flavor, but it was a bit dense. I had to do a little research afterward to see what it would take to get a fluffier inside. I suspect I didn’t knead the dough for long enough. Also, I might experiment with the different flours that I use. Also, the “jelly roll” method that was used to make the loaf left noticeable spirals inside when slicing the bread. I wonder if I just need to either roll it tighter or maybe next time I’ll just shape the loaf without flattening first and rolling.

To finish it off, Jake’s mom had brought cupcakes for us to enjoy for dessert. We were already so full from the pasta that having an individual-sized dessert hit the spot.

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All in all, it was a great dish to mark the end of summer. Even Whiskey and Brody (our pups) wanted to try some. I can’t wait to try the recipe and hopefully perfect it!

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Sincerely
Fu’d