Saturday, April 30, 2011

Honey-Roasted Onion Tart

So many good recipes … so little time to put them on this blog! But I’m making a belated New Year’s resolution to post at least every two weeks. Preview of recipes to come: quinoa, black bean and corn tacos; mushroom and Swiss chard lasagna; beef jerky; braised leeks; and black bean and spinach enchiladas—all made recently, and all worth sharing, along with this recipe for honey-roasted onion tart.

I made this dish last Sunday for Easter brunch at Julie’s house, and so far, of the onion tarts I’ve tested over the years, this is my favorite. The onions are tossed in honey and white wine and roasted to a caramelized, almost crispy perfection. The bacon (I made two tarts, one with turkey bacon and one with prosciutto) provides richness, while the fresh ground nutmeg and fresh thyme lighten the flavors. Best of all, this is an easy recipe. I prepared the ingredients at my house, and then put the tarts together and baked them at Julie’s. One tart serves 6-8 as an appetizer.

Honey-Roasted Onion Tart
modified from Bon Appetit


• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
• 3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 2 large sweet yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-rounds
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray
• 3/4 cup crème fraîche
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves


1. Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 375°F.

2. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 14x10-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13x9-inch rectangle. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust.

3. Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet.

4. Whisk honey, wine, and reserved 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in large bowl. Add onions; toss to coat.

5. Coat another large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread onion mixture in even layer on sheet. Roast 30 minutes. Turn onions over, allowing rings to separate. Roast until onions are caramelized, turning often for even browning, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cool onions slightly.

6. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.

7. Mix crème fraîche, sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl.

8. Using offset spatula, spread crème fraîche over crust to folded edge.

9. Arrange onions atop crème fraîche.

10. Sprinkle with bacon.

11. Bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

12. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Note on bacon: I prefer turkey bacon, since it's not so heavy. Also, if you use prosciutto, don’t cook it beforehand.

(Photo by Julie Fay Ashborn)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do-It-Yourself Power Bars

Ever since my wonderful agent (Alexandra Machinist) sold my novel in January, I’ve felt like I’ve been running in quicksand. On top of working and volunteering, I have a crazy editing deadline. At first my approach to feeding myself during this time was: minimal effort. I bought loads of prepared foods at Trader Joe's and heated things up as the days went on. But after a week or so, my body begged for some culinary TLC. So I pulled Super Natural Cooking from my cookbook shelf (unopened after three years) and marked recipes I could make on Sunday night to tide me over through each week.

I promise to post the Otsu recipe soon (perfect for lunch), but right now I want to sing the praises of the Do-It-Yourself Power Bars. They are like healthy Rice Krispie Treats, and oh so satisfying despite being wheat and sugar free. (Actually, they call for a fourth cup of sugar, but I have no idea why, since it seems to me that sugar would ruin them.) I’ve made three batches so far, and I’m still not tired of them. Better yet, I’ve shared them with sweet-tooth kids, and they haven’t even realized they’re eating something healthy!

Do-It-Yourself Power Bars
modified from Super Natural Cooking


- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup oat bran
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal (not puffed)
- 1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt


1) Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with the vegetable oil.

2) Mix the oats, walnuts, oat bran, rice cereal, cranberries and ginger together in a large bowl and set aside.

3) Combine the rice syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes.

4) Pour over the oat mixture and stir until the syrup is evenly incorporated.

5) Spread into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire.

6) Store using wax paper, since the bars are sticky.

Note on ingredients – the best deals

Whole Foods:
- Brown rice cereal: Arrowhead Mills brand (the recipe calls for crisp rice, “not puffed,” but I could only find puffed, and it works just fine)
- Brown rice syrup: Lundberg brand (not cheap, but Whole Foods definitely has it)

Trader Joe's:
- Oat bran: store brand
- Rolled oats: Country Choice brand

World Market/Cost Plus
- Crystallized ginger: store brand