Friday, January 6, 2012

Onion Dip

I told you all about my love for onion dip when I was a kid when I shared my version of Mark Bittman's Veggie Dip. I also shared another dip recipe - Spinach Leek Dip - which is also delicious.  But sometimes nothing quite replaces classic onion dip served with potato chips - times like my munchkin's 3rd birthday party!  Unless, of course, by "classic" you think I mean from soup mix, in which case this might be the first time you're reading this blog...ingredients like partially hydrogenated soybean oil, MSG, and disodium inosinate are not part of my cooking these days.  But I have proven yet again that ingredients like these are DEFINITELY not necessary to make yummy treats.  This onion dip, amazingly enough, gets most of its flavor from real onions.  And while part of me thinks it's really sad that we've gotten to the point that people were surprised that I could make onion dip without a powder, I was also so excited to be able to share this treat with our guests, knowing that I had managed to serve delicious food without compromising my ingredient standards OR creating a ton of work for myself. 

Onion Dip
adapted from Food Network

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions (approximately 1 large onion)
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt*
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until they are very well carmelized, approximately 20 minutes or longer (turn the heat down if the onions start to burn - this is best done as a slow process.  The onions don't need much attention, though, so plan to do this when you have other things going on in the kitchen!).  

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions.  At this point you can call the dip done, but I chose to puree using my immersion blender to create a smoother dip that was less likely to offend any 3-year-olds (or grown-ups) who might not appreciate the pieces of onion.

Refrigerate the dip overnight.  Stir and adjust seasoning before serving.

* You could skip the yogurt and just use more sour cream, but I did not think the yogurt compromised the taste or texture at all, so I think it's a nice way to lighten this up a little bit.  On the flip side, you could also experiment with using more yogurt to replace the sour cream and/or mayo - if you do, let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Delicious Whole Grain Waffles

If there's one thing I've learned in the past 2 years since I started this blog, it's that homemade foods are often simpler than they appear.  I grew up on Eggo frozen waffles, with the occasional homemade version from Bisquick (until one day my dad decided the ancient, caked-on waffle maker was just way too hard to clean, and into the garbage it went!).  As an adult, my mom bought one of the fancy belgian waffle makers to use on ski trips, but we still used a mix and even that way they seemed like such a big deal to make.  Frozen waffles, of course, are super-easy, and there are lots of brands of supposedly more wholesome varieties.  But upon closer inspection, like so many processed products, it's hard to find a whole grain, organic version that doesn't have all sorts of additional ingredients like flavors, preservatives, dough conditioners, etc that I could do without.  And that's not even considering the price tag!

So after about a year of doing without waffles altogether because I wasn't happy with the choices in the store, I finally decided to invest in a waffle iron.  I found a recipe on All Recipes that was packed with wholesome ingredients but promised to be delicious.  With a little bit of skepticism, I gave them a try on my new waffle iron and was blown away.  Somehow, miraculously, these waffles are 100% whole grain, incorporate flax seed, and are LIGHT!  They crisp up beautifully, are just a tad sweet, and are enthusiastically gobbled up by my 3-year-old.  I would venture to guess that you could serve these to any crowd and no one would ever guess the ingredient list!

So make a double batch, throw the extras in your freezer, and enjoy wholesome AND convenient waffles any time you want!

Delicious Whole Grain Waffles
adapted from All Recipes

Dry Ingredients
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup quick oats (or wheat germ)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil (may sub half for unsweetened applesauce if you wish)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Pour dry into wet and quickly whisk just until combined.  Allow batter to sit while preheating waffle iron.  Pour batter into waffle iron in batches according to manufacturer's directions, and cook until crisp and golden brown.  Serve immediately, or let cool, freeze in a zip-top bag, and reheat in the toaster whenever you want.

Makes 11 waffles (1/2 cup batter each)