Archive for ‘how to’

October 28, 2011

How To Caramelize Onions

Congratulations!  You made it to Friday!!  Winking smile

This week has been all about two things in our kitchen: caramelized onions + roasted garlic.  [I know, decadent, right?] 

It all started when this woman at the farmer’s market sold me a bucket-full of her Kula onions [the sweet Maui variety] for a dollar.  One dollar!  I have to take a photo of it this week because you guys will never believe it! 

At first I wasn’t sure what to do with so many onions.  And then it began – the obsession.  I felt like I was in the island-girl version of the film Bubba Gump.  Roasted onions, onion pasta sauce, soup with onions, onion + veggie omelets.  And then… caramelized onions.

The idea of caramelizing onions always seemed too time-consuming and difficult to me.  I once watched Alton Brown take on the task, and it seemed like the sunshine in his kitchen had come and gone in the time it took for him to show me how to properly caramelize the things. 

I won’t lie and tell you that it doesn’t take a long time. It does.  But it doesn’t take as long as I had expected.  I now realize that it take less than an hour for prep and caramelizing.  And the end result?  So worth it.  Plus, if you start with quite a few onions, you’ll have extra to store in the fridge.  For, you know, grilled veggie sandwiches.  Or to top a baked sweet potato.  Or to eat straight out of the container. 


Caramelized Onions


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium sweet onions
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt


Peel and slice/dice your onions [the thinner you slice them, the faster they’ll cook]. 

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot to medium low.  This is essential for caramelizing onions, as you don’t want them to become crispy or brown… you simply want to slowly bring out the sweetness of the onions. 

Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and add the onions as well as the sea salt.  It’s important not to skimp too much on the salt as it brings out moisture in the onions. 

Cover the pot and hang out around the kitchen, because you’re going to have to stir the onions every 5-10 minutes, making sure the heat is low enough to not burn the onions or make them stick to the bottom of the pot. 

After about 20 minutes, remove the lid and allow the onions to continue cooking – continue to stir every 5-10 minutes – until the onions are fall-apart soft, transparent, and light brown [they’re not the prettiest]. 

All together, the caramelizing process should take about 30 to 45 minutes. 



My favorite caramelized onion recipe from this week was this incredible caramelized onion + butternut squash soup [recipe to come soon!]. 


Any big plans for the weekend?

I’ve got three papers, a football game, and a few good naps lined up. Winking smile 

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

October 12, 2011


I love cooking.  If I had the time, I would cook every meal from scratch, going to the market for specific ingredients and eating things hot off the stove [this has become especially true since we got rid of the microwave!].  But life doesn’t quite work that way.  And my farmer’s market is only open on Saturday mornings.

To make things easier on myself during the week, I like to take some extra time during the weekend to wash and prep a few of our favorite fruits and veg.  It makes it ten times easier to make a healthy meal when everything is set up nicely for me. 


When we’re especially in a rush but don’t have much time to cook, Ben and I will make protein smoothies with frozen fruit, spirulina/dark leafy greens, maca root, and chia seeds.  I usually just mix my protein powder with water [I’ve really been loving this all-natural ProEnergy supplement!], but Ben’s smoothies usually contain some frozen banana or berries and maybe a bit of nut butter to up the calorie content. 

To freeze bananas for smoothies [or muffins or whatever], first peel and slice the bananas and place them in the freezer on a cookie sheet.  Once they’re frozen through, place them in a ziploc or tupperwear in the freezer.  Freezing them in small pieces ensures that they won’t stick together, so you can pull one piece out at a time rather than having to work with a huge hunk of banana-mush. 


Another thing you’ll always find in our fridge is some type of dark leafy green [usually kale, chard, and/or spinach].  Kale preparation isn’t difficult, but it does feel time-consuming after a long day’s work.

To prep kale for the week, de-stem the leaves and tear them into small pieces, then rinse and spin-dry. 


Place the clean, dry kale pieces in a ziploc or air-tight container with a paper towel at the bottom, and you’ll have kale ready for the week! 


Do you have any time-saving prep tips?  I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient! 

Aloha Pumehana.
Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


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