You guys, this week I am so proud to have my friend Nathan write a guest blog for us. Nathan and I go way back to the 8th grade, long before our underemployment adventures (and puberty) began. I’m so happy to have you back in my life, Nathan! If you want to see more amazing recipes, make sure to check out his personal food blog here!
Living post undergrad can be tough but having a friend to join you in your frustrating, under-employment seems to help. Caroline and I have reconnected after a few years of disconnect and I have found a fellow person to understand the difficult position of living in New York, trying to gain meaningful employment and live off very little in a city that requires a lot. Caroline has asked me to contribute to this blog because of my post-grad struggles and my absolute obsession with cooking, food and food culture.
There are a lot of questions when you graduate but the biggest is, what’s next? In high school I had already decided my immediate action post undergrad and that was to travel. I spent the last year travelling to places, experiencing new cultures, foods and people and now I’m back. Now what? I have had a lot of great experiences but I’m still in that confused state of what I want to do. As I apply for jobs I can only wish of getting, I continue to feel lost for a path forward. I just want to do everything food related! When I reach this point of uncertainty and vexation , I realize I need a break to calm myself and for me this means cooking.
One of the most comforting foods, for me, are caramelized onions. I love to cook them for a long time over a low heat until they turn a deep chocolate brown, melt into a thick onion jam and gain a complex sweet savouriness.
Rather then eat these onions by themselves, which I have done, I decided to create a simple onion tart. You can use this recipe as a base for most tarts just change out the filling with any pre-cooked vegetable, cheese or meat and add more eggs if necessary.
To start I made a rosemary-whole wheat crust but store bought tart crusts also work well. If making your own crust, precook it with weights in the middle, I personally keep some dried chickpeas specifically for this process and use them over.
Rosemary-Whole Wheat Crust (Makes 2 crusts that freeze well)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 T. cold solid vegetable shortening
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 T. dried rosemary
A glass of ice water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the flours and salt into a food processor or large bowl and mix well. Add the butter and shortening all at once and cut or pulse it into the flour mixture until the mixture forms little balls and no big chunks remain. Dump the mixture into a large bowl, if using a food processor. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of water over the mixture. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, bring the dough together into a ball, it should just come together into a loose ball (add water by tablespoons if more is necessary). Cut the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling it out or freeze for later use. When ready remove dough from fridge and roll to a 1/4 thickness and place into tart pan. Chill again for 30 minutes (this ensures a crispy crust). Once ready to cook poke holes in the crust with a fork and line inside with parchment paper filled with weights to keep the crust flat. Bake for ten minutes and then fill with your desired filling.
Caramelized Onion filling with Zuchini and Olives
4 large sweet onions, in thin slices
3 T. olive oil
2 T. chopped black olives
1 Zuchini, thinly sliced into rounds
1 large eggs
1/8 cup milk
1/2 t. pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Saute the onions in the olive oil in a large pan over high heat for a few minutes, once they begin to wilt lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for an hour stirring every 10-15 minutes (if the onions begin to burn add a couple tablespoons of water and stir). Once the onions are browned and melty remove from the heat to let cool. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add this to the cooled onions (patience is a must, let them fully cool unless you want scrambled eggs), mix and dump into the prepared crust. Using a spatula make sure that the filling is evenly spread. Now take the zucchini slices and place them in a circle around the top until the entire top is covered. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the filling is set (firm). Top with the chopped olives and serve warm or at room temperature.
Thanks Caroline and Taylor for this opportunity of guest posting! I hope that all of you 20-somethings out there will take a minute off from your hectic lives and find some comfort in cooking. Enjoy!