Indian Style Red Onions

As you probably know, I am a fan of all sorts of ethnic cuisines, probably more so than the standard American foods (granted my last meal will be fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet corn), and that is saying a lot as I do love great American food.  I could, and probably get away with it, eat some different ethnic food on a daily basis whether that be Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, or Filipino. You name it, I’m in. Lately, however, I am really craving Indian food. Maybe it is that simple, yet complex, notion of lentils cooked down in a curry gravy only to be swiped through with delicious warm naan bread, or maybe it is something like chicken tikka masala served alongside some rice, and well these Indian style red onions. It’s the simple things that get me.

It was years ago when I fell in love with Indian food, or Pakistani food for that matter. These platters would arrive and there would always, or most likely, be a small mound of simple red onions on the platter and I often scooted those to the side. That is until recently. I dabbled in them and low and behold those onions were definitely not there for garnish, they were there to boost the dish and cut through some of the richness of the dish. Not only that but they exploded in flavor, and that really intrigued me. Intrigued me so much I think about serving them along side most meals.

Indian Red Onions Condiment
Indian Red Onions Condiment

After dissecting the ingredients, I thought I would offer them up to my family during a recent hummus, grilled chicken, and pita party at the dinner table. I think they liked them. I know my wife did, all of the kids tried them, and I was eating them like chips alongside the rest of the meal.

These Indian style red onions are much like those trendy pickled red onions you are starting to see on like every burger nowadays (something I made back in 2009), but a bit more simple to make (believe it or not) and to me, loaded with more flavor. Addicting if you will.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala (find at your local Indian store)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

That’s it. Your only challenge, and a minor one at that is to get the chaat masala. You can Google it and make your own, but it is a lot easier to buy the store bought. Chaat masala is essentially a blend of Indian spices including cumin, coriander, ginger, dried mango powder, hing, and some chili powder, among other spices. The flavor profile is incredible to say the least.

Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients
Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients

Soak the onions in cold water for about 20 minutes, then strain the water.

Add the onions, lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and cayenne pepper to a bowl. Stir well. Cover and let them marinade for about 1 hour until you are ready to serve.

Soaking the onions takes that ‘bite’ out of the onions which is great in my opinion and you are not walking around after eating them with onion breath. Serve the onions alongside your meal and dabble in there, grabbing a few and include them after some bites. Talk about snap, crackle, and pop! These Indian style onions are sure to please and go really, really well alongside grilled meats, or heck even a bowl of great hummus, pita, and olives. Feel free to cover and refrigerate any leftovers for about a week. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

It was not too long ago where our families got together for an early summertime barbecue, or cookout if you will. I tend not to be a snob when it comes to the terms barbecue and grill out (or cookout), but when I hear a barbecue I think of meat smoked low and slow, then served while grilling is typically done over charcoal or wood, or for those that use gas, cooking at a faster pace. Regardless, any get together is always a fun time in our book, and we always like to bring something to the get together. When I ask the question to my wife if we can bring anything to the party, when I hear the word ‘Dessert’ I often panic in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out or anything, but dessert is typically not my cup of tea and I typically only make dessert for my wife and kids. I am more into the savory, not the sweet.

So when I heard a dessert, I immediately thought of taking this one on myself and making something very simple, sweet, and something I knew adults and children would love. That’s when I came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup salted caramel (or caramel chips)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Graham crackers or sliced apples

Again, this dip is way too easy to make and everyone crushed it. I think there was about 1/2 tablespoon left when we gathered the kids to leave the party. Yes, it’s that good, and a bit addicting.

Start by adding the cream cheese, butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients

Next add in both of your chocolate and caramel chips. Mix again to make sure all of the chips are combined.

Now get your silicone baking spatula out and get all of those goods scraped out and placed into your serving bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

When you are ready to serve, place your serving bowl next to a plate lined with graham crackers and sliced apples. Spread onto either one and get to town. These are sweet, creamy, and have a great little texture from those mini chips.

This is a quicker winner of a dessert. Hope you enjoy!

Hibiscus Iced Tea

I love shopping at my local Mexican grocery store. I have said it before and I will always say it as to how much fun I have browsing the aisles. Granted I’m pretty much the only gringo roaming the aisles, but that is just ok by me. At my particular store, one of the end caps is loaded with dried chilies and an array of spices. There are things I have never heard of before, such as different dried flowers for cooking, but one recently grabbed my attention, and one that I knew. Hibiscus flowers.  These dark burgundy looking dried flowers were grabbing my attention, only to be brought home and turned into a refreshing tea, that I knew my wife and I would love.

Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe
Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe

If you are not familiar with hibiscus tea, don’t worry. This stuff is brewed all over the world, has a great taste, and is super easy to make.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bag of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • Additional items could be lime, ginger, or allspice berries

Start by adding 5 cups of water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a pot. Bring to a simmer, add in the dried hibiscus flowers, and let this steep for about 30 minutes.  If you want to explore with lime, ginger, or allspice berries, go ahead.

After 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the hibiscus concentrate. This is your base, so if you are wanting to use this right away, mix about equal parts of concentrate to cold water, served over ice. My batch was pretty much gone in one day due to everyone loving it so much.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

This hibiscus iced tea is comparable to a blended cranberry juice flavor with that kick of cinnamon. Not only is it super refreshing to drink but it’s loaded with awesome health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, great for the liver, blood pressure, and it has anti-cancer properties, all of which my body probably needs.

If you are looking to impress some guests and help boost their immune system, why not give this hibiscus iced tea a try. It’s a winner! Hope you enjoy…

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert

Most every time I go to the store, I see small packages of what is called ‘puppy chow’, and I see people buying these powdered sugar based cereal. I’ve looked at the cost and say to myself ‘seriously, that much for this?!’. That when I figured I would come up with own batch, making it my own and loading up this puppy chow that I knew my wife and kids would love. The ingredients are way too simple and I pretty much had everything laying around with the exception of the Chex cereal. You’re going to love this one.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of Chex Mix (I used the Rice variety)
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10 Oreo cookies, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of regular M&Ms
  • 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Get a large mixing bowl, one large enough to hold all of the cereal comfortably.

Add the crumbled Oreos, then the cereal, then top with the M&Ms.

Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe
Loaded Puppy Chow Dessert Recipe

To another bowl, add the chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter. Place in a microwave and melt for about 90 seconds or until you have a smooth mixture. Give it a good stir, and if you need it to smooth out even more, add a few more seconds in the microwave.

Get your powered sugar ready.

Take the chocolate mixture and pour all over the cereal and quickly mix, then pour on the powdered sugar. Continue to mix until everything is coated. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and let cool.

Serve in bowls and seal in a bag for all of the leftovers. I must say my family probably took down a half of that batch and wow they were in heaven. If you are looking for a simple dessert and one that you can simply throw together for that sweet tooth of yours, give this one a go. The addition of the cookies and M&Ms were a huge hit. Hope you enjoy!