Monday, July 6, 2009

A Produce Indulgence

I haven't posted in a while. I've been TOO busy!

I recently left my job in fundraising for a non-profit in New York City to travel over the summer (and relax!) before going to culinary school at The French Culinary Institute in New York come September. I moved back home to Connecticut about a week before my last day, giving me some opportunities to eat at some of the great restaurants here, including Paul Newman's The Dressing Room and Cava.

Two days after I finished work, I packed my bags for a trip around Italy (see my upcoming post), including Tuscany, Florence, Venice, and Lake Como. Maybe I should say I ate my way around Italy - it's more accurate.

To top that off, a couple of days upon returning to the States, I turned around and flew out to Southern California with some friends of mine for a girls weekend in the sun (please, too, stay tuned!).

All of this fun and travelling has left me rejuvenated, but my system screaming for some TLC: abundant fresh, colorful fruits and veggies, exercise, and *ideally* some swapping of wine (wine, and more wine) for kombucha.

So, with a couple of free days ahead of me, I've got a plan to detox a bit from all the alcohol, sugar, and processed foods I've consumed. I hit up the local Whole Foods to buy a bunch of fresh, organic produce. Last week, I spotted some amazing grass-fed ground hamburger meat from Wolfe's Neck Farm (my friend's family owns this place - great work!), and tossed it in the freezer to have on hand. Add to that some yellow onions, local Millstone Farm lettuces, local vine-ripened tomatoes, and I have tonight's meal: grass-fed hamburger with emmenthaler and caramelized onions on a brioche bun, with a large local green salad!

Caramelized onions are easy to make. Some will saute vidalia onions in a saute pan with some olive oil. I prefer using organic yellow onions, sliced thinly (about 1/8 of an inch or a bit more) on a mandoline, tossed with some olive oil and a bit of good (see an upcoming post on how to find a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar!) balsamic on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. I put them in the oven set at 375 degrees (I turn it to convection bake, so this may decrease my cooking time) for 15 minutes, at which point I stir the onions and rotate the pans, returning them to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Super easy and painless (I wore my sunglasses while slicing the onions - so truly painless!). All I have to do now is grill up my burger, and toss the greens with some olive oil and fleur de sel. Maybe even cook up a couple of the extra strips of thick maple-glazed bacon I got for my Fruit and Nut Rice Salad (to come tomorrow)... I'm hungry already!

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