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Eating Sensibly for New Year’s – Is there an App for that?


With all this food ingestion over the past week, I think I have officially bottomed out.  Literally, my bottom is sticking waaaaay out.  I think I have located a clot of cheese in my upper arm, and egg nog is running through my veins.  In addition of my vow to go to the gym more (last time I went the fitness lady asked if I had hurt myself,  since it had been a while since my last visit) I have also added to my list – eating healthier for 2010.  I thought the best way to kick it off would be New Year’s Eve. I figured if I could get through the worst evening of indulgences of the year, I know I could do it for the rest of the year. 

For as long as I have been changing diapers, Dave and I and the kids have always gotten together with friends in one of our homes for New Year’s Eve.  It’s a nice, simple affair with kids running willy nilly and everyone indulging in an appetizer buffet so enormous it could more than feed the number of disappointed Bears fans this year.  Apps rule the night, with finger sized morsels of cheesy goodness and dips a plenty. 

This year I wanted to bring a tasty, satisfying veggie appetizer recipe that will be a refreshing break from the heavy, greasy fare that typically we encounter.  I searched my archives of recipes and was amazed to NOT find one single seasonal recipe that did not have a ton of cheese.  So this post will be a little different, I am going to post a recipe that I have NOT made yet.  I got Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook cookbook for Christmas and found a fun, yummy looking recipe for Sweet Onion Beggar’s Purses.  I have blogged about one of his recipe’s before and really enjoyed it.  So throwing all caution to the wind, I thought it would be fun to post this recipe here.  If you make it for New Year’s Eve, please comment of how it went.  I promise to report back of how I fared with the new app.  

I wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to the hope and happiness 2010 has to offer.

Sweet Onion Beggar’s Purses (by Tal Ronnen)
makes 24 purses

Onion Jam:
Sea Salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/2 lbs red onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup red wine
3 TBS whole grain dijon mustard

For the purses:
16 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed for 2 hours at room temperature
1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted (or butter if you prefer)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme
24 chives

Make  the onion jam:  Place a large flat-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 1 minute, not letting it smoke.  Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Add the brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the vinegar, wine and 2 teaspoons salt and continue to  cook for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are reduced by about three quarters and are the consistency of jam.  Remove from heat and stir in the mustard, thyme and pepper to taste.

Make the purses:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll the phyllo dough and lay 1 sheet flat on a work surface, rewrap the dough you’re not working with to keep it from drying out.  Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the sheet with melted Earth Balance.

Lay another sheet on top, brush with Earth Balance and repeat until you have 4 layers of phyllo dough.  Season with black pepper and chopped thyme between every other layer.  Using a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut the phyllo dough in 6 (4 1/2 inch) squares.  Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets to make 24 squares.  Place about 1 TBS of the onion jam in the center of each square.  Draw up the edges of the phyllo to make a rough purse.  Gently twist the packet just above the pocket containing the jam to create frills at the top.

Tie each purse with kitchen string and brush the entire purse lightly with melted Earth Balance.  Place then on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until well browned.  Meanwhile, blanch the chives for 1 minute in boiling water, then cool.  When the purses are cooled, carefully remove the string from the purses and tie a chive around each.

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