Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gifts To Go

It is a wonderful thing to get an edible gift over the holidays. People drop in unexpectedly, stay longer, family members gather at meal times, including those grown children who ordinarily aren't around for dinner any more.

Bottom line is I am often called upon to prepare more food than I expected for more folks to enjoy.

So, a little something extra to pad the pantry is always a good thing.

Plus, portable potables are the ideal hostess gift. You get invited somewhere to share a meal? What nicer "thank you" is there than to depart, leaving your host/hostess with something wonderful to eat they didn't have to prepare or clean up after?

With that in mind, I share a new recipe for me that worked out beautifully, is entry level cook proof, makes sufficient quantities to share and keep, and is just plain versatile and delicious. What, you wonder, is this wunderkind of the Holiday Delight table?

Onion Marmalade. Yup. After having this featured in three of my recent favorite restaurant meals lately, I was determined to have some on hand. A quick search of even my expanded grocery store's supplies left me in the lurch, so off to the internet I headed to find a recipe. I found seven- used one - and here it is for you to try:

Onion Marmalade Recipe

6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 cups sherry or red wine vinegar
3 cups sugar
2-4 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns, cracked

Place all ingredients in a non-reactive, thick-bottomed pot over low heat. Simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated and onions are translucent. Set aside to cool. Place in glass jars and refrigerate. Will keep for 4-6 months.

This savory jam is well-matched with pates and terrines, or on roasted meats and chicken. Recipe from: Executive Chef Staffan Terje, Scala's Bistro, San Francisco, California

One caveat: "Simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated..." took the better part of 4 hours. Not like it took more than a casual check every now and again, but not something to start when you need to leave the house in short order.

Our favorite way to enjoy this treat (so far) is atop warmed Brie.

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