Onions

Discussion in 'Five Star Kitchen' started by sister herb, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. sister herb
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    Onions are one of the most popular and versatile vegetables in the world. They can be eaten raw, sautéed, baked, grilled, stuffed, and pickled… Onions are a vitally important part of our culinary history.

    HISTORY OF ONION

    The onion or allium family is a large and diverse one containing over 500 species. It has not one but four possible wild plants it could have evolved from all of which grow in the central Asian region. Because onions are small and their tissues leave little or no trace, there is no conclusive evidence about the exact location and time of their origin. Many archaeologists, botanists and food historians believe onion originated in central Asia.

    It is presumed that our predecessors discovered and started eating wild onions very early, long before farming or even writing was invented. Very likely, this humble vegetable was a staple in prehistoric diet.

    Most researchers agree that the onion has been cultivated for 5000 years or more and that they were first grown in Iran and West Pakistan. However, the archaeological and literary evidence suggests cultivation probably took place around two thousand years later in ancient Egypt. Since onions grew wild in various regions, they were probably consumed for thousands of years and domesticated simultaneously all over the world. This happened alongside the cultivation of leeks and garlic and it is thought that the “…slaves who built the pyramids were fed radishes and onions”.

    For over 4000 years, onions have been used for medicinal purposes. Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion alleviated ailments. There is documentation from very early times, which describe the onions importance as a food and its use in art, medicine and mummification.

    Egyptians buried onions along with their Pharaohs. The Egyptians saw eternal life in the anatomy of the onion because of its circle-within-a-circle structure. In mummies, onions have frequently been found in the "…pelvic regions of the body, in the thorax, flattened against the ears and in front of the collapsed eyes. Flowering onions have been found in the chest, and onions have been found attached to the soles of the feet and along the legs". King Ramses IV, who died in 1160 B.C., was "…entombed with onions in his eye sockets".

    Some Egyptologists theorize that onions may have been used because it was believed that their strong scent and/or magical powers would prompt the dead to breathe again. Other Egyptologists believe it was because onions were known for their strong antiseptic qualities, which were construed as magical, and could be useful in the afterlife.

    The onion is mentioned as a funeral offering and onions are depicted on the banquet tables of the great feasts and they were shown upon the altars of the gods. Paintings of onions appear on the inner walls of the pyramids and in the "…tombs of both the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom". Frequently, a priest is pictured holding onions in his hand or covering an altar with a bundle of their leaves or roots.

    Onions grew in Chinese gardens as early as 5000 years ago and they are referenced in some of the oldest Vedic writings from India. There is evidence that the Sumerians were growing onions as early as 2500 B.C. One Sumerian text dated to about 2500 B.C. tells of "…someone plowing over the city governor's onion patch".

    Onions may be one of the earliest cultivated crops because they were less perishable than other foods of the time. They were transportable, easy to grow and could be grown in a variety of soils and climates. In addition, the onion was useful for sustaining human life. Onions prevented thirst and could be dried and preserved for later consumption when food might be scarce.

    Onions are mentioned to have been eaten by the Israelites in the Bible. In Numbers 11:5 the children of Israel lament the meager desert diet enforced by the Exodus: "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic".

    In India as early as the sixth century B.C., the famous medical treatise Charaka - Sanhita celebrates the onion as medicine “…a diuretic, good for digestion, the heart, the eyes and the joints".

    It was the Romans who introduced the onion family to Europe. The Romans ate onions regularly and carried them on journeys to their provinces in England and Germany. Pliny the Elder, Roman's observer, wrote of Pompeii's onions and cabbages. Before he was overcome and killed by the volcano's heat and fumes, he catalogued the roman beliefs about the efficacy of the onion to cure vision, induce sleep, heal mouth sores, dog bites, toothaches, dysentery and lumbago. Excavators of the doomed city would later find gardens where, just as Pliny had said, onions had grown. The bulbs had left behind telltale cavities in the ground.

    The Roman gourmet Apicius, credited with writing one of the first cookbooks (which dates to the eighth and ninth centuries A.D.), included many references to onions.

    The origins of its name are also Roman or at least Latin. The Late Latin name unio was used to describe a species of onion resembling a single white pearl. This was later formed into the basis for the French, “oignon” and then later the English, “Onion”.

    By the Middle Ages, the three main vegetables of European cooking were beans, cabbage and onions. In addition to serving as a "…food for both the poor and the wealthy…” onions were prescribed to alleviate headaches, snakebites and hair loss. They were also used as rent payments and wedding gifts.

    The Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed onions as a diuretic, wound healer and pneumonia fighter. Likewise, Dioscorides, a Greek physician noted several medicinal uses of onions. The Greeks used onions to fortify athletes for the Olympic Games. Before competition, athletes would consume pounds of onions, drink onion juice and rub onions on their bodies.

    The first Pilgrims brought onions with them on the Mayflower. However, they found that strains of wild onions already grew throughout North America. Native American Indians used wild onions in a variety of ways, eating them raw or cooked, as a seasoning or as a vegetable. Such onions were also used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in dyes and even as toys. According to diaries of colonists, bulb onions were planted as soon as the Pilgrim farmers could clear the land in 1648.

    During World War II the Russian soldiers were so taken with onions ability to prevent infection, that they applied onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic.

    And through the ages, there have been countless folk remedies that have ascribed their curative powers to onions, such as putting a sliced onion under your pillow to fight off insomnia.

    Yet today, onions are still considered a modern day preventative and healer. These days herbalists use the plant for treating such ailments as earaches, hemorrhoids and high blood pressure. While garlic, another allium, has been highly touted as a cancer preventative, most people consume far greater quantities of onions.


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  2. sister herb
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    We have a huge amount of different types of onions. Let´s look some:

    Different Types of Onions - A Complete Glossary

    Baby Onion

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    In general, onions may be sautéed and added to baby’s food between 8-10 months old.
    Of course we always recommend that you contact your baby’s pediatrician when introducing new solid foods to your baby.


    Pearl Onion

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    Also known as baby onions or button onions, pearl onions are a variety of tree onion, often used for pickling as cocktail onions.
    Pearl onions are also used in recipes like succotash and onion relish because of their sweet, mild flavor and their attractive, diminutive size.

    Bermuda Onion

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    A big onion with a mild flavor and white flesh. Bermuda onions are believed to be of Italian origin.

    Boiling Onion

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    A small thin-skinned onion that is good for stew recipes.



    Brown Onion

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    The British name for a yellow onion.


    Cipollini Onion

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    A rich, sweet, flying saucer shaped onion from Italy.


    Egyptian Onion

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    Also known as top onions, tree onions, walking onions or winter onions, these onions are very strong flavored.
    Their green stalks are also edible.


    Fresh Onion

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    Also known as spring or summer onions, these onions come in yellow, white or red varieties. They are available between March and August and have thin, light colored skin.
    They are sweet and mild because of their high water content. This high water content also makes them susceptible to bruising.
    Fresh onions have a delicate flavor, which is suited to salads and lightly cooked recipes.


    Green Onion

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    These small, young onions are harvested when their shoots are still green.
    They can be chopped and used as a topping or an ingredient. Green onions are used interchangeably with scallions, which are another variety of green onion.


    Leeks Onion

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    The leek is a mild flavored, pale green and white member of the onion family. The edible part of the leek, also known as the stalk or stem, is a bundle of leaf sheaths.
    Leek should be fried, because boiling makes them mushy. They can also be eaten raw or used to make leek soup.
    Their flavor can be compared to a cross between onion and cucumber. Wild leeks are very different and their pungent taste is like onions and garlic together.
    You can use wild leeks in the place of onion and garlic in a recipe.


    Maui Onion

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    These sweet, juicy onions have a golden yellow skin. They are grown on the Island of Maui, Hawaii, and have a high water content.
    Maui onions can weigh between ½ lb and ¾ lb and they are shaped like flattened globes. They are available from
    April to June, making them the earliest sweet onions available. Maui onions make great onion rings.




    Pickling Onion

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    Main crop onions that are picked when they are still young. Pickling onions have a pungent, strong flavor and are only available in the fall.
    They are pickled in malt vinegar.


    Purple Onion

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    Red Onion

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    Also known as purple onions, this variety has a purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with purple.
    Red onions are mild to sweet in flavor and grow quite big. They are often eaten raw in salads but they can be cooked and added to other recipes.
    The flesh loses its purplish color when the onion is cooked.



    Red wing Onion

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    A tasty variety of red onion.



    Salad Onion

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    Scallion onion

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    Also known as, spring onion, salad onion, or green onion, scallions are milder than other onions and are often used in Asian recipes and
    salad recipes amongst others. Diced scallions are often used in seafood dishes, noodle dishes, and soup recipes. They are also used in Eastern sauces.


    Shallot onion

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    A sweeter, milder relative of the onion. Shallots have a delicate, mild flavor and grow in the same way as garlic,
    in that you might find two or three held together at the root when you peel one. Because shallots are much milder than onions, if a recipe calls for shallots that is what you should use.


    Silver skin Onion

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    A very small variety of white onion, which is pickled in malt vinegar.



    Southport Red Globe

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    A sweet red onion with a purple tinted flesh.
  3. sister herb
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    Spanish Onion

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    These come in yellow, white, and red. Yellow onions are renowned for giving French onion soup its distinctive sweet and tangy flavor.
    Red onions are good for char-grilling. White onion are used in Mexican cookery and they become very sweet when sautéed.



    Super Sweet Onion

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    Very mild onions from Texas, which are crunchy and delicately flavored. Super sweet onions, also known as Supasweet onions, are famous for being "tear-free" and are eaten raw in salsas, sandwiches, and salads. They are available from March to August.



    Sweet Onion

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    A sweet onion is any onion that is not pungent. There are different sweet onion varieties and sweet onions have a higher water
    content and a much lower sulfur content than other onion types, which is what makes them sweet.



    Vidalia Onion

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    Also known as Yellow Granax, this onion is named for its growing location in Georgia. Other notable sweet onions include the Walla Walla,
    the Sweet Imperial, and the Spring Sweet. Vidalia onions are often used in salads, in onion soup and in any dish where a sweet onion flavor is preferred over a pungent taste.



    Welsh Onion

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    This onion, which tastes like a yellow onion, is not actually native to Wales. Welsh onions are especially popular in Asian,
    Russian, and Vietnamese cuisine. Welsh onions are often grown as ornamental plant. Small ones resemble chives and big ones resemble leeks.


    White Onion

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    An onion with a white skin and a strong tasting white flesh. White onions feature frequently in Mexican recipes.
    They can be sautéed to a deep brown color, making them ideal for French onion soup, and they are great for giving a sweet and sour flavor to other ingredients.


    Wild Onion

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    Any species of onion growing wild rather than cultivated.



    Yellow Onion

    The most common type of onion, yellow onions have a brown skin and white flesh. Often known as brown onions in Britain,
    yellow onions have a pungent flavor and are suitable for many different recipes.



    Tree Onion

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    Spring onion

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    Storage Onion

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  4. sister herb
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    Then we also have different types of garlic and chives:

    Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

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    Porcelain garlic
    The classic, pearly white garlic, with a stiff neck and figure-hugging skin. It holds just four or five uniform cloves. The neck is the remains of the bulb's shoots, a snaky tangle known as the "scape" which can be used in cooking. White garlic is beautiful to look at, simple and strong in taste.

    Rocambole garlic

    Purple-streaked, loose skinned, a big-flavoured garlic that doesn't keep long. Hot and full of flavour, they are a chef's favourite. High in sulfenic acid, which gives garlic its chilli-like burning taste, but quickly dissipates. (If you want to conserve this heat, treat the garlic gently – don't crush the clove, and cook it less.)

    Spanish or red garlic

    Gorgeous purple colour, almost fig-like and often very large. Some varieties can be mild, others, such as the chesnok, are high in sugars and have been declared the best for roasting. Here's a favourite roast garlic and pea soup from Nigel Slater's book Real Food.

    Artichoke or Italian garlic

    A group of bulgy, many-cloved types. Taste varies wildly with age and type, and green shoots may appear early in some of the cloves. These can be easily removed if you slice the clove in half from the top.

    Black and smoked garlic

    More fashionable in recent years, both are modern inventions. Black garlic is fermented at high temperature to give a sweet, yeasty taste that some cooks use to boost flavour. I have had no joy from it. Smoked garlic is generally made, like smoked fish, with oak chips – the process doesn't add any extra life to the bulb. But, roasted, its good spread on toast as a bruschetta.

    Wild garlic

    The lush sword-like leaves that grow in damp patches in British woodlands from early spring are the product of a different species of allium. But they're a lovely taste of the new season. You can use them, or the little white flower heads that arrive later in salad, stuff a roast chicken with them, or crush them into a pesto sauce with some basil and olive oil.



    Chives

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    In Ancient times gypsies used chives in fortune telling. Having a bunch of chives in your house was thought to ward off disease. In Ancient Rome chives were used to relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat, increase blood pressure and encourage urination.

    Cultivating Chives

    The Herb Society of America rates chives as easy to grow. The group recommends that you begin with a root-and-bulb division from another's garden or with a purchased plant, since growing from seed only produces a tiny plant after two years. For best results, plant in a sunny spot in well-drained soil that contains some sand. Divide chives in the spring every three years, as the plants increase each year by bulb division. To retain the availability of fresh leaves for cooking purposes, pot small plant clumps to grow indoors during the winter in a bright window or under lights. According to the "Sunset Western Garden Book," alliums consist of about 500 species. Three of the best-known are common or onion chives, garlic or Chinese chives and giant Siberian chives.


    Common Chives


    The most prolific form of the herb, common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) thrives in zones 1 through 24. Its leaves look like grass, but are actually hollow tubes and, when crushed, emit a delicate onion-like flavor and scent. Spring brings clusters of rose purple flowers, which can also be used in food preparation. One suggestion is to add the whole blossoms to white vinegar to create an attractive herb vinegar to flavor salads.

    Garlic Chives

    The white flowers of garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), which appear in late summer, have a surprising violet scent, though the crushed flat leaves taste of garlic. Recommended for zones 1 through 24, deadheading the spent flowers of garlic chives is especially important because, otherwise, their seeds can self-sow invasively. Also called Chinese chives, the flowers are edible in the bud stage and are often added to stirfrys.


    Giant Siberian Chives


    Taller than other chives, giant chives (Allium ledebourianum) is favored as a flower bed border. Though given its own identity, some plant experts believe it is just a larger incarnation of common chives. Reportedly a native of Siberia, some gardeners say it has the richest chive taste. Blue-green tubular foliage distinguishes it from other alliums.
  5. sister herb
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    As you can see that the varietes of onions are huge, I will bring just few recipes to here from some types (and hopely others too):

    Caramelised Onion Tartlets with Goat’s Cheese and Thyme

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    Makes: 24

    Ingredients

    The pastry:
    6 oz (175 g) plain flour
    3 oz (75 g) butter, at room temperature, cut into
    smallish lumps, plus a little extra for greasing
    1½ oz (40 g) Parmesan, finely grated
    ½ level teaspoon mustard powder
    Cayenne pepper
    1 large egg, beaten

    The filling:
    2 large British onions*, peeled and finely chopped
    2 x 4 oz (110 g) goats' cheese logs
    24 small sprigs fresh thyme, dipped in olive oil
    1 oz (25 g) butter
    1 large egg
    4 fl oz (120 ml) single cream
    ¼ level teaspoon mustard powder
    Cayenne pepper
    Salt and freshly milled black pepper

    Method
    1. You will also need a 3¼ inch (8 cm) pastry cutter and two 12-hole patty tins with cups measuring 1¾ inches (4.5 cm) at the base, 2½ inches (6 cm) at the top and ¾ inch (2 cm) deep, well greased.

    2. First make up the pastry. Sift the flour into a large bowl, and then add the butter. Take a knife and begin to cut it into the flour until it looks fairly evenly blended, and then add the Parmesan, mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

    3. Add about 1½ tablespoons cold water to and mix until you have a smooth dough, add a little more water if the dough seems too dry. Discard the knife and bring it together with your fingertips. Then place the dough in a plastic food bag and put it into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

    4. After that, roll the pastry out as thinly as possible. Use the cutter to stamp out 24 rounds and line the tins with them. (The pastry will stand proud of the rim of the cups to allow for shrinkage.) Then prick the bases and brush with the beaten egg. Now bake on the middle and top shelves of the oven (swapping them over halfway through to ensure even browning) for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is just cooked through, then leave to cool on a wire rack.

    5. Meanwhile, for the filling, melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onions very gently, uncovered and stirring often, for about 30 minutes, or until they have turned a lovely golden brown caramel colour. Then leave to cool and set aside until needed.

    6. Now whisk the egg with the cream and mustard in a jug and add some seasoning. Next, spoon a little of the onion mixture into each pastry case, spread it out evenly and pour the egg mixture over.

    7. Cut each cheese log into 12 thin slices (wiping the knife between slices to cut more cleanly; the cheese is quite soft, so you may have to reshape a few slices into rounds). Place a slice on the top of each tartlet, then top with a sprig of thyme and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.

    8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and golden, swapping the tins again halfway through cooking.

    http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/cooking-food/cooking-with-onions-vegetarian-recipes-d20174c269607.html

    * Note:
    Mostly likely meaning is brown onions/yellow onions.
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  6. sister herb
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    Red & Green Onion Pie

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    Crust:
    1 1/2 c. soda cracker crumbs (about one package)
    1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter

    Filling:
    2 1/2 cups red onions
    5 green onions
    2 tbsp salted butter
    1 1/2 c. milk
    3 eggs
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
    3 cups grated cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.

    For crust: Put crackers in food processor and pulse until they are very small crumbs, almost powdery (but not so long that it becomes a fine powder). Melt butter and add to crumbs, mix well so that all crumbs are coated. Press cracker crumb mixture evenly into a 9" pie pan, forming a crust. (The crust might not reach the top of the pan, but this is fine.)

    In skillet, saute 2 1/2 cups sliced red onions and five chopped green onions (green and white parts) in 2 tbsp butter, until onions are soft and slightly browned.

    Meanwhile, scald 1 1/2 cup milk. Add milk very slowly to 3 slightly beaten eggs, stirring quickly while you add. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Add 2 cups grated cheddar cheese and stir to incorporate.

    Put sauteed onions in pie shell, forming an even layer. Pour in cheese and liquid, and top with additional cheese.
    Bake at 350 F / 175 C for 40 minutes, or until pie is set and cheese is golden and bubbly.


    http://culinerapy.blogspot.fi/2009/03/moms-onion-pie-savory-slice-of-home.html
  7. sister herb
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    Caramelized Onion Bread

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    Caramelized Onion

    • 1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced
    • 1 bunch green onion bulbs, chopped
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt

    Dough

    • 4 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 25 g fresh yeast
    • 1 bunch green onion leaves, finely chopped
    • 250-300 ml warm water

    Directions

    1. In a frying pan heat oil over medium high heat. Cook onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until golden brown. Season with salt. Set aside to cool.
    2. In a large bowl, mix flour with salt. Dissolve the fresh yeast in water and add to the flour mixture. Mix everything together then add caramelized onion and green onion leaves and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Cover it and let it sit for about 1 hour at room temperature, to let the dough rise until doubled in size.
    3. Preheat oven to 240C (470F) 30 minutes before baking. Spoon 1 tablespoon flour into a small baking tray, put the dough in the tray and let sit until the oven is hot. Optional sprinkle salt and few green onion chopped leaves on top.
    4. Put an empty baking pot in the oven ten minutes before baking. As you put the baking tray in the oven, add a cup of hot water in the empty pot, in this way it will instantly boil and create steam. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove the bread from the baking tray and cool on a wire rack.
    http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/caramelized-onion-bread
  8. sister herb
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    Grilled Sweet Onions

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    Ingredients
    • 4 large sweet onions
    • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 4 teaspoons beef broth, optional

    Directions
    1. With a sharp knife, carefully remove a 1-in. core from the center of each onion. Cut each onion into four wedges to within 1/2 in. of root end.
    2. Place each onion on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 12 in. square). Place bouillon in the centers of onions; top with butter, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with wine if desired. Fold foil around onions and seal tightly.
    3. Prepare grill for indirect heat. Grill onions, covered, over indirect medium heat for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/grilled-sweet-onions
  9. queenislam
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    will do for now~Alhamdulillah!
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    Assalamu'alaikum!Masha'allah awesome info and thanks for sharing sister~Wassalam :)
  10. Tabassum07
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    :salam:

    So many onions - I can almost feel the onion acid in my eyes...

    Those white onions look exactly like garlic.
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  11. sister herb
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    I have growned also so called potato onions.

    [​IMG]

    :p

    And banana onions.

    [​IMG]
  12. SonOfAdam
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    wow, I am blown away. Jazzak Allahu Khair. I feel like eating onions.
  13. sister herb
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    You mean

    [​IMG]

    The single clove garlic looks same.
    • Ma sha Allah! Ma sha Allah! x 1

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