Summer staycation leads to inspiration in the kitchen

features@beaufortgazette.comJuly 8, 2014 

Onion yellow.jpg

For a delicious treat, cut up an onion and fry it in some bacon grease.

JULIE NOTARIANNI — Submitted photo

For me, the same amount of planning goes into a stay-at-home vacation as it does for my travels to faraway places.

This summer, I have mapped out days for simply enjoying the beauty around me and for experimenting with my favorite ingredients in the kitchen.

I'm choosing recipes that help me travel back in time. And I treat the adventure as if it were my job: I shop for the ingredients, do all the prep work. I cook. Then I become my own maitre d' and waitress, serving myself meals on the finest of china and with the finest of flatware.

Now, I'm not saying I dress in my finest for dinner, but this is my vacation so there will be no paper plates at my table.

Today I am preparing some Vidalia onions. Here is a quick-and-easy recipe for fried onions: Peel and slice onions. In a frying pan, heat bacon fat (about 1/4 cup for a large onion). Add onions to hot grease and cook until slightly browned, turning them often with a spatula. Cover and continue cooking until the onions are tender. I like mine served with ketchup.

Another favorite of mine is barbecue onions. When the fried onions are cooked, place them in a casserole dish. Pour some tangy barbecue sauce over them and then bake for 30 minutes at 400 degree. Top with chopped parsley before you serve them.

MARINATED TOMATOES AND ONIONS

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

4 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

6 large tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced

4 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well blended. Layer half of tomatoes in large serving bowl and cover with half of onions. Sprinkle with half the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with some of marinade. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill before serving.

Source: "Too Busy To Cook? Time-Saving Recipes and Easy Menus from Bon Appetit," (1981)

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.

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