Friday, June 20, 2014

Everything is coming up Onions! With An “Onion and Turkey Lime Salad”

This weekend starts the official summer season, so “Everything is coming up Onions!” All types, sizes and colors are all around us. They are sold in grocery stores and farmers markets all across the United States. Some onions are highlighted at sporting events, have been featured in movies, and written about in books. They add flavor to recipes from breakfast to gourmet dinners. Onions are eaten with your fingers, dipped in sauces, and covered with spices. You can eat them raw, or grilled, cooked in soups, and caramelized or sautéed. The onion is one of my favorite vegetables. So, come on with me and let’s see what onions are really all about.

The onion is believed to have originated in Asia, but it is likely that they may have been growing wild on every continent. Dating back to 3500 BC, onions were one of the foods that did not spoil during the winter months. The ancient Egyptians worshiped the onion, believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity. In the Middle Ages, onions were used to pay rent and were given as gifts. Native American Indians cooked wild onions and also ate them raw. Onions not only provide flavor; but they also provided health benefits as well.

Did you know that onions are high in energy and water content? They are low in calories, and have abundant amounts of B6, B1, and Folic acid. Chemical compounds in onions are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Raw onions have also been helpful in reducing swelling from bee stings. In the USA products that contain onion extract are used in the treatment of topical scars. According to an American chemist the chemicals in onions also have the potential to alleviate or prevent sore throats. While members of the onion family appear to have medicinal properties for humans, they can be deadly for dogs, cats, and guinea pigs.

Onions come in an assortment of sizes, colors, and shapes. Yellow, red, and white are the three colors of onions. Yellow onions are full-flavored and are mostly used in cooking. These onions turn a rich, dark brown color when cooked. The red onion, with its wonderful color, is a good choice for eating raw in a salad or in grilling on the BBQ. While the white onions are traditional for cooking. They have a golden color and sweet flavor when sautéed. The Cippolini onion is specific to Italian cooking and is smaller in size. This onion can vary in colors, but the most common is the yellow Cippolini in a flatter shape. Cippolini onions are delicious for pickling, and boiling, but are perfect for skewers, grilling, and roasting.

I know that when I am peeling onions or even cutting them, my eyes water and tear up. Here are some tips on avoiding teary eyes. To make onions milder, soak them in milk or pour boiling water over the slices and let stand. Rinse with cold water. Eye irritation can be avoided by cutting onions under running water. Another way to reduce irritation is by chilling, or by not cutting the root of the onion as that is the part that has the highest concentration of enzymes which activates the gas, so our eyes water. If you use a sharp blade to chop the onions, this will help with the tearing of your eyes.

                                             How about some onion trivia

1. What should you eat to get rid of onion breath?
Answer: (Parsley

2. New York City is known as the Big Apple. Before having that nickname, it was known by a different nickname. What was that name? Answer: (New York City was called the “Big Onion” because it was a place from which you could peel off layer after layer without ever reaching the core.)

My recipe this week is an “Onion and Turkey Lime Salad.” This recipe is adapted from the National Onion Association. (NOA) Hope that you enjoy and try different types of onions in your next meal.

Onion and Turkey Lime Salad

6 cups narrowly wedged white or yellow onions
6 cups slivered sweet red peppers
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups cooked turkey, shredded
1/4 cup frozen grapefruit juice concentrate
1 tablespoon lime peel, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons crushed hot red peppers (dried)
1/4 cup lime juice
Favorite greens for salad
Sour cream (optional)

Sauté onions and peppers in oil until tender. Add turkey, grapefruit juice, lime peel, cumin, crushed pepper and garlic; heat thoroughly. Add lime juice and mix. Cover and refrigerate. Arrange 1-1/2 cups salad on top of your favorite greens-lined individual salad plates. Serve with sour cream. (Optional) Makes: 6 servings.

Special notes: Nutritional per serving: About 407 cal, 44 g pro, 22 g carb, 13 g fat, 30% cal from fat, 137 mg  

Till Next Time………………….

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  1. Hi Dottie!
    I've been "dying" to do a post about onions, lol...I know it sounds odd but as you have so carefully pointed out, onions are simply amazing and often taken for granted!!!

    I didn't know about New York's previous nickname, so funny.

    Onion and Turkey Lime Salad sounds so intriguing. I'm glad you didn't ask us to choose our favorite onion, lol..that would be most difficult because I love them all. Almost as much as garlic:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie. Wishing you a glorious weekend!!!

    1. Dear Louise,
      I know, I have been waiting to do this one as well. Love all kinds of onions, but mostly cooked, not too fond of eating them raw. They add such flavor and from what I did my research on, they are good for you. My family always had onions on hand. As you know Italian food always seem to start out with onions, sauteing with garlic and EVOO.

      I love salads especially in the warmer weather and this one is really good. I love the citrus with the onions, it seems to add such zest to the dish. The little bit of heat is also a nice touch to make your taste buds do a tango! Thank you so much for stopping by and your splendid comment. Blessing for a grand first weekend of summer!
      Dottie :)

  2. Dear Dottie ,
    Wonderful post and onions / garlic I don't think I could cook without them , I do know the dish would not taste as good and I would probably have to hide in the broom closet ;-D (kidding) .

    This salad , I bet is delicious and deserves a place on my table this weekend . The hints for the tearing is so true , they really works , I also found out the more tears the stronger the onion . Like Louise I love them all and the sweet onions are the 'Cat's Meow' , now I like them in onion rings . Thanks for sharing and have a blessed weekend :) Nee

    1. Dearest Nee, Just trying to catch up. Thank you so much for your comment and stopping by. I agree you really can't cook so many foods without onions, especially being Italian. You are so funny, please don't hide in the broom closet, we need you to share your wonderful dishes with us.
      This salad is delicious and you see I have added a little heat to my dish. I was thinking of you, you probably would add much more since you love it really spicy. The only thing that makes me crazy, cutting and peeling them. They bother my eyes, so now I will try the advice that I wrote about. Yes, I absolutely love onion rings...that is the Cat's Meow. Hope that you have a blessed great weekend, and don't forget Happy Summer! :) Dottie

  3. Dear Dottie, It is always interesting to learn that the food that add the delicious flavors to our food also are rich in healthy benefits.
    The salad that you made sounds simply wonderful.
    Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy this lovely weather coming our way.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Hi Catherine, Thanks for your comment and visiting. I agree at least when we eat these foods we can say, well it is healthy for me. This salad is so simple but really so delicious.I love to eat salads in the summer. And the ingredients give it a little zest. Hope that you enjoy...Have a blessed first day of summer! and you as well enjoy the lovely weather. Dottie :)

  4. I really don't like chopping onions! I will try your tips on how to avoid soared eyes. As I do so much cooking and I chop onions daily I would love to find a way to avoid crying so much! I thought of wearing sun glasses! :-)
    In any case onions are so delicious and they are worth a few tears. I love your salad! Hope you had a nice Sunday XX

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your visit, but no crying is allowed! I agree, I think many of use who use onions, would really love the secret! What I was told recently was it is the gases that escape from the onion, which them goes up to our eyes. Who knows I even think if we smell it as we are peeling, the smell gets in our nose and them goes to the eyes, everything is connected you know! I will tell you this, like you said if we have to put up with a few tears then it is worth it as onions are a staple in Italian cooking and we can't live without them. If you someday learn the secret, please let me know and I will do the same for you! Yes, my Sunday was a good one, and the same to you. Have a great week ahead...Dottie :)