Baking– it’s not just for late nights anymore!
As some of you may have heard, New York has been hit with 19 inches of snow– enough to make the mighty MTA grind to a halt for a full two days. My apartment is blissfully located just steps from a subway stop . . . which is currently not running. No matter, as I’m directly across the street from the B16 bus . . . which is also not running.
While I had planned to spend most of the day inside regardless of the weather editing website copy, working from home take on a different, oppressive flavor when it’s thrust upon you. After a glorious tromp through a blindingly white Prospect Park, and a brief rest by the pond to watch cygnets and ducklings frolicking in the icy water, I stopped by our local grocery store.
My luck– they had tart tins! My aimless Googling once again provided delicious results. I found this recipe from the New York Times for an Onion Pie, but was unenthused by the prospect of a Saltine cracker crust. Nigella Lawson (let’s just not get into the love I feel for Nigella Lawson) has a recipe, but just didn’t seem pie-y enough. I found a pat-a-pan pie crust for which I had all the ingredients, but was scared away by the 1,600 calorie nutritional label. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But psychology is a powerful thing. More searching got me here, which provides many alternatives for traditional pie crusts.
Bread crumb pie crusts! You guys, I just didn’t know it was possible. Not only would this involve bread and butter, it would involve crumbing the Irish Soda Bread I made last night. Everybody wins, and I get special points for the creative use of leftovers.
Today’s baking was much more difficult, as I was Netflix Streming Dexter, which is actually good and requires my attention.
- I crumb the Irish Soda Bread using my Magic Bullet– enough to fill the small cup twice.
- I slice up the onions (two giant ones). The stinging in my eyes makes it difficult to watch Dexter.
- I melt a full stick of butter (less than the recipe calls for) in a skillet, and mix 4 tbsp into the crumbs. After pressing the crumbs into the two small tart tins, I realize I don’t have enough crumbs– d’oh!
- I annihilate the rest of the Irish Soda Bread, cover it with more butter, and press it into the tins. Gorgeous!
- I reheat the butter, add a few grinds of sea salt, and start cooking the onions. It says to only stir occasionally, but stirring makes me feel useful.
- It’s the only thing that makes me feel useful.
- There’s not quite enough butter to cover the onions after I used most of it in the crumb crust, so I add a spash of olive oil.
- The whole kitchen smells like cooking onions. Sweet, amazing, and eye-stinging.
- I start to look for our cheese-grater while the onions are cooking to grate 4 ounces of cheddar cheese. However, my last roommate took it with her when she moved out (to be fair, it was hers). Magic Bullet to the rescue again as I cube and pulverize the cheese.
- To the cheddar I add about a quarter cup of Reggiano cheese because I thought that the distinct flavor would contrast subtly with the onion and cheddar . . . also it happened to be in the fridge.
- The onions are starting to caramelize beautifully, which is good because I’ve just about run out of things to do until they are done.
- I remember to preheat the oven to 375! I am amazing!!
- I whisk together 3 eggs and as eyeball approximately 3/4 cup half-and-half. The recipe calls for heavy cream, and that you should measure it, but I say, respectfully, “Screw you recipe! I’m in charge!”
- The onions are done, and I pour the eggs over them. It looks creamy and full of fat. I am pleased.
- I sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top, but the oven is not yet done preheating.
- I wait maybe 30 seconds, then pop the lil’ pies in anyway. Screw you, oven! I’m in charge!
- I settle back down to finish my Dexter episode, and realize I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Bad television makes for better baking-background. Words to live by.
- After only 20 minutes the mini-pies appear to be all browned and amazing.
The result was pretty darn wonderful. My Irish Soda Bread-and-butter crust held together very nicely, crunched agreeably, which contrasted well with the sweetness of the onions. I wolfed it down with some mixed greens and balsamic vinegar. Time consuming enough to keep me occupied during the snow storm (about 90 minutes start to finish).
Overall, this rates pretty highly on the Domestic Goddess scale. It looks gorgeous, it tastes fantastic, and I get extra points for a low-cost meal that makes creative use of leftovers. Yay me!
Of course, now it’s only 8pm. If sleep does not come in a timely fashion (as it usually doesn’t), I may be in this space sooner than I thought. Goodnight, readers!