Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mama B's Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Bruschetta

1-2 French baguettes
5 Medium-large onions
2T Butter
4 Cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4C Soy sauce
1/4C Balsamic vinegar
2T Worchestershire sauce
1/4C Beef stock
1/2C White wine
1/2C Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Melt butter in large saute pan and add onions and garlic to pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, worchestershire sauce, beef stock and white wine. Mix and add to onions.

3. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed and onions are a dark brown color. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Slice baguettes to about 1/2" thickness, on the diagonal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes, until nicely crisped on outside.

5. To serve, place about 1-2T of onions on baguette slice and top with gorgonzola crumbles. Serve hot.

*As usual, measurements are approximate, as I do not measure when making my creations!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sea Salt Caramels

Adapted from the Country Living Magazine

Vegetable oil, for greasing

1C Sugar
1C heavy cream
1/2C (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1C light corn syrup
1T Grey Fleur De Sel (I get mine at Penzeys), or a coarse ground white sea salt

Line an 8 inch pan with foil, and generously brush with oil. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over high heat, cook sugar, without stirring, until it begins to melt and bubble. Using a metal spoon, stir slowly until sugar has completely melted, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add cream (sugar will seize into a solid mass).

Add butter and corn syrup, stir. Fit a candy thermometer to saucepan (****making sure it does not touch the bottom of the pan****), return to stove top, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture liquefies, about 30 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high and cook until caramel mixture reaches 238 degrees F. Do NOT stir. Immediately remove pan from heat. Carefully pour hot caramel into prepared pan. Using a spatula coated in vegetable oil, smooth any bubbles on surface. Sprinkle as much or as little of the salt as you'd like using your fingers.

Cool caramel until firm but still slightly warm, about 35 minutes.
Lift caramel from pan and peel away foil. Place on an oiled cutting board Sprinkle sea salt on the back side if desired and cut into 1-inch squares, using an oiled knife. Wrap individual caramels in waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container.

Mama B's TIPS:
1. Stirring the caramel when in its 2nd boil introduces more air and therefore takes longer for the caramel to reach 238 degrees.

2. When making any caramel, make sure you don't scrape the bottom of the pan. It will release any burnt pieces and make your whole batch of caramel taste burnt.

3. To make salted caramel sauce for cakes, ice cream etc, follow all instructions, but add 1 tsp sea salt to the caramel mixture, and let boil to 225 degrees. Remove from heat and place in glass jars.

4. Invest $10 in a digital food thermometer. It has an adjustable clip that holds the probe on the side, and you can set an alarm to go off when your food reaches the desired temp, which is so important in any candy making.

5. Placing salt on both sides of the caramel gives every bite a nice salty crunch!