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Vidalia Onion, Georgia’s Official State Vegetable

Vidalia Onion

Vidalia Onions, known for their sweetness, come from only one location in the world…Georgia.  It is Georgia’s Official State vegetable. Legislation passed in 1986 authorizing a trademark of the Vidalia Onion.   Once only grown in Vidalia, Georgia due to it’s low sulfur level in soil, it has since been designated by the agriculture department that twenty other areas in Georgia are permitted to grow Vidalia Onions.

To be clear on it’s pronunciation it is  Vi dell ya.    Not the Martha Stewart way Vuh dawl ya.  You’ll be shot!

Many people try to sell onions and pass them off as Vidalia.  So if you see a sign saying Vidalia, the onion better have a sticker designating it’s location or it isin’t a Vidalia.

I know Vidalia’s are not in season just yet…but soon to come.   In the meantime, one can still enjoy sweet onions roasted in the oven or on the grill.

Right now, it is hard to find onions just brought out of storage that don’t have soft spots.

The best way to tell if an onion is suitable for eating is to press the top where the stem would have come out.  If it’s soft, it’s really old.

Roasted onions make for a great side dish with just about anything.  Roast several and you have the makings for onion soup…just add beef broth and a little red wine.

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil doubled in a 12 to 16 inch square
Core the onion
sprinkle a pinch of garlic powder
sprinkle a pinch of coarse ground pepper
sprinkle a pinch of granulated beef bouillon into the core
drizzle a few drops of olive oil over and into the core
drizzle about one tbls of Worcestershire sauce over the onion
Close the foil up and around the onion and squeeze the top tight

Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by squeezing the foiled onion using a potholder. If there is considerable give, it’s done.

Corn Salsa with a Southwest Flare

corn salsa with southwest flare

I can not choose a culinary region of flavor I love most…be it Southern, Italian, or Southwest.  As soon as I try to pick my favorite food, I stop and think of another.  I know food regions I don’t like and stay clear of them completely. But one region of culinary essence I savor is that with a southwest flare.

A great side dish to kick up the heat with this recent cold front is this creamed corn salsa.  Derived from the recipe book I bought from Georgia Grille. It’s a little on the hot side so if dressed in layers, you’ll be removing one layer at a time.

This was served with black beans along with the entrée, pork tenderloin marinated in an apple cider/chile concoction.

Ingredients

One package frozen creamed corn
2 tsp Kosher Salt
Two green onions (scallions), diced
One large shallot, diced
One can diced tomatoes
One jalapeno, diced
1-1/2 tsp Chipotle in Adobo, puréed

Prepare frozen creamed corn according to package instructions. When cooked, add the green onions, shallot and let cook for about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and jalapeno, cook a couple of minutes more and then add chipotle. Continue to cook five more minutes.

Cabbage and Apples – A Nice Side Dish

What to do with leftover cabbage from yesterdays soup?  Cook it with apples and raisins for a nice side dish to pork  loin or a nice chuck roast.  When I was a kid, it was a very rare occasion that we children were invited to spend a night with my father’s parents. Unfortunately, for them, grandchildren were not high up on their list for sharing themselves. Not, for this grandma.  They ate three hot meals a day and by that era, my mother was not fixing a hot meal more than once a day. It was in October. Sitting on top of a hill (which from a child’s perspective was a mountain) the trees outside their tiny 1930’s, green roof, white frame house abundantly displayed an array of fall foliage.  I remember sitting at the formal dining table for lunch.  I had never eaten cabbage before and we were raised to eat everything on your plate, no options.  At first sight, I gagged, but sticking with my upbringing, I took a bite. I couldn’t believe it.  I actually liked it. At that time it was boiled with bacon grease. I, of course, rarely if ever use bacon grease for seasoning.
To this day, every time I make this dish, in October especially, I’m taken back to that little house on top of the hill.
Simmer the sliced cabbage and apples along with some raisins in water for about 30 minutes.  I added a small amount of Red Wine for flavoring.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Served with Wild Rice

I love the fall when all the seasonal vegetables and fruits are in abundance.  It’s a time to pull out the long sleeves and enjoy cooler temps and a calico of colors.  The first time I tried Acorn Squash was after reading a recipe from Martha Stewart.  Instead of mashing and creaming and souping the squash, I decided to stuff it with Wild Rice.  The following photos is my take on preparation.

I do not include a photograph of the actual cutting of the Squash.  For any of you who have cut pumpkins for your children, you understand the brutality.  It gets pretty ugly and the slamming down on a carving board makes my dogs run and hide.  At the time I was cutting into the squash, the thought occurred to me the if there happened to be a home invasion, the knife stuck in the squash could make for a good weapon.

Clean Out the Seeds and Stringy Stuff

Sprinkle Cinnamon Over the Edges and Interior

Drizzle a Small Amount of Olive Oil on the Edges and Interior

Place in a pan.  Bake in a Preheated 375° oven for about 45 minutes to an hour at the most.

Wild Rice

I use only Uncle Ben’s Long Grain/Wild Rice, Original Recipe.  Follow the instructions on the box.

Plating:   As you can see in the initial photo.  Place the Squash half on a plate, fill with Wild Rice and with a fork, fluff the squash in with the rice.

One can include pecan pieces in the Wild Rice just for added flavor and crunch.

Pear and Pecan Salad

Now that Pears are in season, they compliment a salad beautifully.  This is a Bartlett Pear.  I removed the skin and sliced and simmered in a pan of butter and Brandy for about 10 minutes until just softened.

I drizzled my own Raspberry Vinegarette over the salad and scattered a few pecan pieces over.

When I was typing this entry, I could not remember the name of the pear (senior moment).  I discovered this nice site for identifying various pears.