April 30, 2012

Re-integrating Part 2 (or How to Chop an Onion)

Tonight, lasagna.

I realized this weekend that the key ingredient to me feeling reintegrated into my routine is chopping an onion.  It is comforting.  It is comfortable.  It means I am making a meal from scratch.  It means that garlic is soon to follow, and then who knows?  It doesn't really matter what comes next.  Onions start most of our dishes.

Last year we grew all of our own onions for the Fall 2011-Summer 2012 year.  We planned out how many onions we eat a week (4, on average) and then simply multiplied it by 52.  Then - BAM - we planted 208 onion seeds.  No big deal.

Actually it was.

It was my greatest gardening achievement to date.  They were big, beautiful, robust, flavorful, tear-inducing and plentiful.  I braided a few onions together, too.  For eight months now, we have reached into the crate in the closet day after day, and grabbed our own onion babies and returned to the kitchen to chop chop chop.  From seed to bulb to cast iron.

I was taught to chop an onion when I was working at Great Harvest Bread Co.  At Thanksgiving time (the busiest season for GHBC), we made "stuffing bread" with onions, celery, sage and other stuffing flavors.  So we had to chop hundreds of onions.  I went from rookie to well, a shade past a rookie real quick.  But now I get it.  And it's one of the skills I am so thankful I have.

It's quite simple and fast.  Jacques Pepin has a great video.  But I like Julia Child's description in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  If you learn one kitchen skills, make this be it.  You won't regret it.

Onion seedlings.

Despite the dark closet, they know it's spring time.

1 comment:

  1. That is so awesome! Growing onions is something that I will master someday. And, onions sauteing in a pot is a sure way to smell like you really know what you're doing in the kitchen! So good. I hope you're feeling a bit more re-integrated now!