Yogic Onions Starts

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The season is starting to grow! It seems yet too cold to utilize the lovely greenhouse that my Dad built last year. The saving grace glass house, built from 10 sliding glass doors, has been highly utilized and appreciated. Unfortunately, it is not perfectly air tight and with consistent frosty mornings and days, where pine needles and human bones struggle to thaw, I opted for an indoor kick-start. Here, on an old metal shelf, I’ve towered trays of onions seeds. I have heard no cries of unsatisfaction, as the sun shines in. Mt. Shasta smiles through the frame of the window and the ambient house warmth keeps soil hospitable and encouraging.

After a very positive response towards last year’s fresh and cured onions, I decided to increase the crop this year. Scattered in these trays are future French Onions soups, sweet crunchy rings of the Siskiyou Sweet, elegant purple torpedo shaped Tropea and the patiently cured paper skins of red and yellow varieties, for 2014 storage.  Yes, the yummy year begins.

Green energy starts to fill the house as the first seeds germinate. They’re yogic presence is rejuvenating, energizing, calming, these happy little lights already representing such gratitude. From delicate charcoal-like seeds, the onions seedlings start to emerge. They slowly rise up and stay suspended, stretching themselves out in a new life welcoming: downward dog. As many of us could, they stay there, looped with the soil, relaxed, breathing. Slowly they rise, bring their heads and arms up, welcoming the sunny day. They take a look at the mountain and offer up a gift, their hollow seed pod.

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Onions stretched out in a relaxing downward dog.IMG_0396

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Alli-yum!

Alliums, a genius genus, are one we can’t get enough of. Alliums have power in the kitchen! They can bring you to your knees (as they saute in butter) and at times cause breath unease. The species are many, but you may know them best by their common names of garlic, onions, scallions, shallots and leeks. Alliums are a staple in daily meals and they’re a joy to grow. At Green Fire Farm we grew beautiful onions and patrons to the local farmers’ market swooped them up quickly.

Onions take much devotion. They’ll take 100+ days to mature when sown from seed. I started my seeds in little trays in the living room window at the end of February and planted them out as the first brave Homeward Bounty transplants in mid April. When young, they’re no match for bullying invasive weeds. So the pampering begins with constant and detailed weeding. Onions grow side by side and swell with the sun and rain. They’re very proper in their little que, green tops marching in place to the hum of earthworm vibrations and the ever present 3 o’clock Shasta Valley wind.

The sweet, fresh onions are some of my favorites, my Dad’s too. Coming home after a long day on the farm, he  will greet me with, “How are the torpedo onions doing?” It’s as if the torpedo onion will go local food viral, here in Siskiyou County. People will come from far and wide, like from Yreka or Dunsmuir, and Gazelle to witness, fight over, possess the amazing (they ARE pretty amazing) torpedo onion. I can see myself at the People Food Choice Awards – “And I would like to thank God…for making the torpedo onion!” Now you might find yourself thinking, “So how are the torpedo onions?” They’re doing great and will show up in CSA boxes in a matter of weeks.

Onions, garlic, leeks, we can almost regard them as condiments- herbs. They accent and enhance, but don’t take the show or the cake, but sometimes they do take the pie. The very fine folks who make up this year’s CSA membership may be getting on the verge of onion overload. So here are some recipes that request onions to take the protagonist’s post.

Walla-Walla sweet onions cleaned up and ready for CSA baskets.

Sweet Onion Pie – Provided by Macheesmo.com

Visit the website for pie crust recipe, use your tried and true favorite or just buy a shell –

Filling:
4 large onions (3 1/2 pounds), sliced. I would recommend a sweet variety, such as Walla-Walla or Siskiyou Sweet.
6 ounces bacon, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter
1 Cup sour cream
2 large egg yolks
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375

Cut onions into even-sized slices. Chop the bacon into tiny pieces. For veggie folks, add kale, spinach and or squash in the place of Wilber.

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat and add bacon. Once cooked, add all your onions. Cook covered for 20 minutes. This is when you sigh, for the most amazing smell has filled the room. Ou’ de onions & butter. Que fantastique! After 20 minutes, a lot of liquid remains. Keep on burner another 20-30 and cook with lid off to evaporate some of the juices. Let the onions fully cool, accelerate by placing in the fridge.

In a bowl, add cream and yolks. Once the onions are cool, add it all together. The idea is to not cook the eggs when adding them to the onion mixture! Season with salt, pepper and herbs of choice. Grated cheese would also make a good compadre. This is pie after all, if you’re on a diet, forget about it!

Place filling in shell and bake for 80 minutes at 375. Onions take persistence, so does this pie and they both always pay off! YUMMMMMM!

O’Brien Onion Soup –

Serves 6

Ingredients:

6 T butter

4 large onions – again, I recommend sweet types

O’Brien Onion Soup

1 cup white wine  – our household adapted it using beer and it come out great!

6 cups stock – chicken or vegetable

1 T salt (if butter isn’t salted) and pepper to taste

Chop onions up into thin slices. Melt butter in a large wide pan; the wider the pan the quicker it will cook, allowing the onions to cook at one layer thick. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the wine or beer and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the browned bits. Continue to scrape as you pour in the stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil then drop to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Place toasted french bread or croutons in oven safe bowls, add soup, top with cheese and broil on high for 4 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

***Don’t forget, onions are a grills best friend! It’s summer time, so I’m sure that grill has been getting some action. No grill is complete without thick slices of sweet onions. We use Montreal Steak seasoning on our veggies for embelishment. Just be careful when flipping those beautiful onion rings, because they will slip through the grill plate and you’ll just get a burning ring of fire.