Friday, January 2, 2009
Triumph in an Onion
I have done some interesting things in my culinary life.
I have exploded Pyrex bowls.
I have exploded butter.
I have set an oven on fire, then argued with a friend about whether or not to put baking soda or baking powder on the flames, and looked at her like she was crazy when she suggested we Google it. "We don't have time for Google!" I shouted, as 4" flames danced across the bottom of my oven.
I have set a wok on fire. (Note: Woks + electric stoves = bad idea)
On a less destructive note, I've also accomplished difficult recipes that I never thought I could.
I've created several cheesecake recipes, including one that came in 2nd place in a local contest, beating out a professional chef in the process. (I'm so modest...)
I've made my own pasta, bread, beef burgundy, creme brulee, and figured out different uses for my Crock Pot.
I've also learned cooking traditions from family members so that they stay alive for the next generation.
However, there is one thing that has eluded me for years.
That my friends, would be the onion. Specifically, dicing one.
No matter how many times I try, I can't dice a freakin' onion. I get slices, I get shreds, I get rings, I get everything but a diced onion.
"You have a food chopper, just put it in there," says Dad.
"No," I reply, "I want to learn how to do it. I can make everything else, I should be able to dice a damn onion."
*insert eye roll here*
If I am making dinner for Joe and I, I just hand the onion, the knife, and the cutting board over to him.
Both Joe and Dad have tried many a time to show me how to do this. As a result, many an onion have been sacrificed in this endeavor.
I was beginning to think it just wasn't in me to dice an onion. I would have to result to using the chopper. I felt so defeated.
Until last night.
I was prepping everything for dinner tonight so that when Joe and I get back from the DIA today, I could just throw everything into the oven and we won't be eating at 10pm.
We are having a very Pioneer Woman meal today, using Ree's recipes for creamed spinach, pot roast, bread pudding, and a guest recipe for roasted potatoes. (Have I mentioned I love her?)
This requires a lot of onions.
A lot of diced onions.
Ree also has a tutorial on her site on how to chop an onion. Like the engineer I am, I opened it up, looked at it, studied it like it was Calculus.
I can do this. It's just one stupid onion. This isn't that hard. It's the same way Dad, Joe, and everyone else has been dicing onions since the dawn of time. It's just an onion.
With a deep sigh, I approached my little green cutting board with the onion atop, and my beloved Wusthof knife in hand. Looking at it, I said, "Please don't fail me now." (Really, I talk to my knives. Don't you?)
TRIUMPH! I had just diced my first ever onion.
I grabbed another one. Who cares if I needed it. I had to see if this was a fluke or not.
It wasn't! I had actually just diced not one, but TWO onions. I danced around the kitchen in joy, knife waving about, stepping on a cat (sorry, Killian).
I texted Joe in excitement, "I JUST DICED AN ONION!!"
He replied back, "That's what they all say."
Somehow, the excitement of all this was lost on him.
The cats didn't understand either, but then again, they're cats. They don't like onions. Unless it's in tuna salad, then it's a different matter...