Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Terrapin Ridge Farms New Product Line...Featuring Tex-Mex Salsarific Sliders

One of my favorite gourmet food companies is Terrapin Ridge Farms. This Florida-based company offers a huge variety of delicious dips, dressings, jams & jellies, mustards, salsas, sauces, and snacks. I've featured their products in here before, and I'm a huge fan! They recently sent me the latest additions to their product line to sample and create an original recipe to share with you. Check out all the delicious goodies they sent me:
  • Creamy Horseradish Dip
  • Roasted Garlic & Poblano Salsa
  • Sweet Heat Salsa
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Peach Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip
  • Tart Cherry, Apple & Rosemary Glaze
So far, we've sampled all of these items except for the glaze...I'm saving that to flavor some pork chops for our Labor Day dinner on Monday! As usual, the products are flavorful and perfect for munching and cooking. The Sweet Heat Salsa is flavored with peaches, which gives a sweet flavor that really enhances traditional salsa. We ate this salsa with tortilla chips and paired it with pretzel rods with the pretzel dip when we watched the last Texans preseason football game. Since both dips featured peach, they paired exceptionally well together!

Of all the new items we sampled, the Dulce de Leche was my personal favorite. This decadent caramel sauce is downright addictive straight out of the jar. However, I had a lightbulb moment the other day: I sandwiched a spoonful of refrigerated dulce de leche between a small batch of snickerdoodles that I made last weekend. It was an impromptu, but delicious, weekend dessert. Holy was out of this world!! To make it even simpler, you could even use cookies from the bakery. It was a little sticky, but there's no shame in licking your fingers...right?!?!?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Whoopsies! Whoopie Pies...

My month-long blogiversary celebration is winding down, but I'm going out with a bang! My friend Marcia at Whoopsie's! Gourmet Whoopie Pies recently sent me a sampler of her delicious summer-inspired whoopie pies. I first tried these little bites of cakey cookies and whipped icing...and shared them in here...last summer. I was immediately hooked. The icing on top...or in the middle in this Marcia. She's passionate about her product, and it shows! She uses all natural ingredients, and each batch is made by hand. I recently received a sampler box that contained mini Whoopsies! in a bunch of awesome flavors. They arrived in perfect shape, and they were wrapped up in cute and colorful packaging.

As cute as the presentation was, the whoopie pies tasted even better! Moist and flavorful, with just the right amount of filling that's somewhere between marshmallow fluff and buttercream in consistency. The flavors I sampled included:
  • Cocoa Nuts: chocolate cake with coconut filling
  • Incredible Hunk: chocolate chip cake with vanilla filling
  • Classic: chocolate cake with vanilla filling
  • Moshely Coconut: coconut cake with coconut filling
  • Beach Blonde: coconut cake with vanilla filling
  • Red Velvet: red velvet cake with vanilla filling
  • Beach Party: coconut cake with raspberry jam and limoncello filling
As soon as I opened the box, I HAD to taste one...and the first flavor I grabbed was the Incredible Hunk. A fun, creative name for a very yummy whoopie pie. Somehow, I did manage to restrain myself long enough to snap a picture between bites.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School #SundaySupper...Featuring Speedy Spicy Shrimp Pasta

The calendar is about to flip to September, so that means that many of my readers are in back-to-school mode right now. There are no non-feline kiddos at Casa Garcia, but fall is my busiest time of year at work. The last thing I want to do after a hectic, stressful day in the office is come home and whip up a complicated, time-consuming dinner. For me, quick and delicious are the main weeknight considerations. Takeout and pizza delivery are ok on occasion for those REALLY crazy nights, but I always prefer a healthy home-cooked meal. 

The theme for this week's #Sunday Supper is Back to School Meals. Our hostess Nicole from The Daily Dish Recipes encouraged us to share family-friendly meals that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less. To me, nothing is faster to prepare than seafood or I combined the two to make Spicy Speedy Shrimp Pasta. If you have little ones or you don't like your food spicy, simply reduce or eliminate the red pepper flakes. The pasta will still be delicious...just a little more tame! This dish was inspired by a recipe I saw in Better Homes & Gardens awhile back. I made quite a few changes to suit our tastebuds, though. I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen and pantry...other than the shrimp. For this dish, bite-sized med-large shrimp are best...and buying EZ peel will make the prep work go even faster.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Refreshing Chicken-Berry Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette...Featuring Con 'Olio Gourmet Olive Oils & Balsamic Vinegars

I was recently introduced to a fabulous brand of gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and I'm really excited to share them with you today! Con 'Olio is a Texas-based company located in Austin. Husband and wife team Jeff and Tabatha Conarko have two locations in Austin. They also sell their fabulous gourmet olive oils and vinegars online, so people all over the country can purchase them as well! They recently sent me a few bottles of their products to try out and share a recipe featuring them with you. I love cooking with flavored olive oils and balsamic, and I can honestly say that Con 'Olio is among the best I've ever used in my kitchen.

I received three olive oils and three balsamic vinegars. The oils I received were blood orange, Milanese gremolata, and Cobrancosa from Portugal. All of them are flavorful, with complex flavors. The gremolata is flavored with lemon, parsley, garlic, and a bit of mint. It's perfect for adding flavor to grilled chicken breast or fish. I love it! But? I knew that the blood orange would be my featured flavor. The citrus flavor is perfectly balanced...but not the least bit assertive. The three flavored balsamic vinegars I received were fig, lavender, and grapefruit. The fig is pretty's perfect drizzled over figs that are stuffed with goat cheese for simple gourmet appetizer. The lavender has a nice floral finish, and the grapefruit? It's downright addictive, and it pairs perfectly with the blood orange olive oil to make a citrus vinaigrette.

I used the vinaigrette to flavor a light, yet filling pasta salad: Refreshing Chicken-Berry Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette. The evenings are still quite warm here in Texas, so light dinners like this are perfect when you don't want to eat something heavy. With a double shot of protein from chicken and feta cheese, this pasta salad isn't heavy, but it is filling. The berries add a pop of color and flavor, and a few nuts provide a bit of crunch. This would be perfect for any end-of-summer potlucks that you might have planned. It makes a large amount, so you're likely to have leftovers. Luckily, it tastes even better the next day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for August...Featuring Ostra's Culinaria Restaurant Week Menu

We're back from our weekend in New Orleans, but I'm not back in the kitchen cooking just yet! This week is Culinaria Restaurant Week here in San Antonio. Restaurants all over the city are offering diners multi-course $15 lunch menus and $35 dinner menus. Michael and I visited Ostra, one of the participating restaurants, last night to sample their special three-course Culinaria menu. Ostra is located inside the Mokara Hotel and Spa, right on the Riverwalk. That makes it a fantastic dining spot for both local residents and visitors! As an added plus, they make parking easy for people who drive down to their Riverwalk location -- they validate the hotel's valet parking. Simply drop your car, go inside the hotel, and take the elevator down to Riverwalk level.

Michael and I dined with Culinaria President/CEO Suzanne Taranto Etheredge and Media Coordinator Evie Reichel, and they were fabulous hosts. I ask you this: what's better than spending an evening eating wonderful food with fantastic people who share your love of good food, good wine, and travel? For background, Culinaria is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to promoting San Antonio as a premier wine and food destination while fostering community growth and enrichment and supporting local students in culinary arts and food related aid organizations.

Ostra specializes in seafood, and it does it very well! Shortly after being seated, we were greeted by Mokara Food & Beverage Manager Michael McClellan, who brought a round of champagne to our table. Not long after the bubbles arrived, Sous Chef Catherine Gonzalez brought us sampler plates featuring some of the appetizers from their raw bar. The appetizers were as delicious to eat as they were pretty to look at. On the left of the plate is spicy-tangy Texas Redfish Ceviche, in the middle is a Miniature Tuna Taco, and on the right is Crab 'Louie,' served in endive. All were delicious, but the tuna taco was an especially pleasant surprise to me. I'm not normally a fan of raw tuna, but this crunchy little taco was AMAZING!

A sampling of Ostra's Raw Bar, from left: Texas Redfish Ceviche, Miniature Tuna Taco, and Crab 'Louie'.

Then, it was time for the first course from the Culinaria menu: Baby Spinach, Frisee and Radicchio Salad with Brown Butter Texas Pecans, Apple, Cheddar and Sherry Vinaigrette. This salad was so good! The greens were tender, and the apple and cheddar paired perfectly. I loved the dressing -- it was sweet, tart, and creamy. 

This salad has it all: crispy apple, crunchy glazed pecans, sharp cheddar, tender greens, and
a creamy sweet-tart dressing!

The main course for the Culinaria menu was Blackened Texas Redfish & Converse Gristmill Polenta and Wilted Spinach. The fish was cooked to perfection...perfectly spiced and moist and sweet on the inside! The grits were creamy and flavored with dill, which really complimented the flavor of the fish without overwhelming. 

The main course was Texas redfish seasoned with spices and seared in a hot pan. It was served
over creamy grits flavored with dill.

We were getting pretty full by then, but The Weekend Gourmet always makes sure to save a little bit of room for dessert...and WHAT a dessert it was! Tres Leche Cake with Pineapple, Kiwi, and Mango. This tres leche had a slight twist: one of the milks used was coconut milk, which gave a tropical feel to the entire plate. Especially when paired with the fruits and some raspberry-basil coulis. What took this dessert right over the top was the dome of light-as-air cheesecake mousse on top. Mercy, was this dessert good!

The perfect ending to a great meal: Tres leche cake served with pineapple, kiwi, and mango. Paired
with raspberry-basil coulis and a dome of cheesecake mousse.

One of the best things about Culinaria Restaurant Week is that it gives you a chance to try a new restaurant...and at a reduced cost! For $15 at lunch or $35 at dinner, you get at least three courses. Since I don't make it down to the Riverwalk area all that often these days, I somehow had not heard of Ostra before dining there last night. Now that I've had their food? I will DEFINITELY go back...and I will tell everybody I know how great it is! 

For my Central Texas readers, Culinaria Restaurant Week is going on until this Saturday, August 25th. For a list of participating restaurants and their special Culinaria menus, click here. There's a wide range of cuisines in all parts of the city to choose from, so you're bound to find a new place to check out...or an old favorite to visit again for a reduced price.

Ostra on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Secret Recipe Club...Featuring Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip from The Savvy Kitchen

It's time for another fun Secret Recipe Club reveal! This is always one of my favorite blog events of the month, because I get to introduce my readers to a great food blogger...and one of their recipes that I tried in my kitchen. This month, my assigned blog was The Savvy Kitchen. Amy's blog is full of tempting recipes, so it was hard to pick just one to feature. When I saw her recipe for Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip, I knew I had a winner! My Houston Texans kicked off their pre-season schedule last weekend, and this was part of my game-food menu.

I've seen different versions of this spicy dip since last Christmas, so I've been curious to try it! If you like buffalo wings dipped in ranch or blue cheese, then this dip is perfect for you. It's creamy, spicy, and packed with protein from: cream cheese, cheese, and chicken breast. Amy's recipe uses reduced-fat cheeses and ranch dressing to reduce fat and calories, but you'd never know it from the taste. With football season about to kick into high gear, this is a GREAT recipe to make for any game-watching parties or tailgating you're planning!

The only major tweaks that I made to Amy's recipe were to use a combo of lowfat mozzarella and cheddar cheese, as well as some blue cheese crumbles. I also added some sliced green onion for a pop of color and a bit of onion flavor. She suggested adding a layer of cheddar on top of the dip -- in addition to the cheese inside the dip. I agree with her: extra cheese is always a good thing!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bring a Taste of The Big Easy to YOUR Kitchen!

I may be the one who's living it up eating my way through The Big Easy this weekend, but I wanted to take time to share some of my very favorite New Orleans-inspired dishes that I've posted in here in the past. All you have to do to have a taste of New Orleans in YOUR house is to get in the kitchen and whip up one of these recipes this weekend! If you like your food on the spicy side, I've got you covered, my friend. 

How about some gumbo? I featured this Gumbo Ya Ya, flavored with chicken and spicy andouille sausage in the first year of my blog, so forgive the  grainy picture! This is seriously good eating, y'all! Although I love seafood gumbo, chicken-sausage gumbo is much more economical for everyday eating. By starting with prepared roux in a jar, this gumbo is ready to eat in just over an hour.

One of my favorite meals to feed a crowd is my Kitchen Sink Jambalaya. It features spicy ham, andouille sausage, chicken, and shrimp...and a lot of spicy Cajun seasonings. This is the dish that I cooked the first time I appeared on Great Day SA to cook, so I promise that it's a winner.

Finally, here's my Texas-Creole Crawfish Potato Salad...which was featured as part of the July 4th #SundaySupper. It's a unique spin on traditional potato salad. It's flavored with Creole mustard, lots of bacon, and crawfish tails. This recipe was featured by Zatarain's on their Facebook fan page, which was a huge honor!

I'll be back from New Orleans with a new post on Monday as part of this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal. Here's a hint: with football season starting, you're going to want to serve this appetizer recipe at all your game-watching parties and tailgates!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meyer Lemon-Goat Cheese Risotto & Seared Salmon with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce...Featuring Frieda's Meyer Lemons

This month, my friends at Frieda's Specialty Produce offered to send me some Meyer lemons to cook with. Be still my heart...Meyer lemons are on my short list of favorite items! I wanted to come up with a recipe to feature them that would knock it out of the park. Rather than going with the sweet route, I decided to feature them in a fabulous one-two punch: to flavor risotto AND in a creamy lemon sauce served over seared salmon. This dish looks fancy, but I served it for dinner after work on Monday. I was able to sear the salmon at the same time I stirred the risotto...and I made the quick lemon sauce while the salmon and risotto cooled of just a bit. 

If you've never tried Meyer lemon before, please do yourself a favor and buy one. They are a cross between a traditional lemon and a mandarin. That means that they're sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons. Frieda's describes the flavor as light lemon with light herbal flavors. They are perfect for when you want citrus, but less pucker. They have a fairly short season, so grab them when you see them in your local produce department. My Texas readers can find them at most local HEB grocery stores.

This risotto is fabulous...anytime Michael asks for seconds, I know a dish is a winner. If I had more left, I think he would've asked for thirds! I was out of white wine and didn't want to go back out in the heat, so I just used some merlot instead. It gave the risotto a pretty pinkish-purple color. If you have white wine in your kitchen, feel free to use it. This risotto is flavored with Meyer lemon juice and zest, shallot, goat cheese, and basil. The lemon sauce for the salmon contained butter, Meyer lemon juice, cream, and salt & pepper. When combined, this was an out-of-this-world flavor combo!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sneak Peek: The Weekend Gourmet's Food Lover's Weekend in New Orleans

For the past couple of weeks, a lot of strategic planning has been going on behind the scenes for our food-lover's adventure in New Orleans this weekend! I've been e-mailing and talking on the phone with Christine DeCuir, the amazing Media Services Coordinator at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thanks to her efforts on our behalf, we have a food lover's itinerary planned that you will NOT believe. Seriously...our upcoming New Orleans weekend is "break out the stretch pants" good, y'all!!! We leave in two days, and I'm so excited about our final itinerary that I'm about to bust. So? I'm going to give y'all a sneak peek to whet your appetite. Then? You can come back here next week to read all the details!

While we're in New Orleans, we will be staying in a lovely two-bedroom Creole cottage at The Audubon Cottages, courtesy of the very nice folks at the New Orleans Hotel Collection. The cottages are all newly remodeled, but they originally date back to the 1800's. In fact, Cottage 1 was John James Audubon's home while he completed his Birds of America series in the 1820s. This place has TONS of history, but it has all the latest modern amenities too: WiFi, iPod docking stations, etc. This quiet oasis in the middle of the French Quarter will be such a nice place to unwind after a busy day of eating!

Speaking of eating...New Orleans is a food lover's dream come true!! There are lots of cities around the world with amazing food. But, for my money, nobody loves their local food as much as the people of New Orleans! They're known for gumbo, po'boys, jambalaya, and crawfish. We love our food spicy, so it's a city close to our hearts. Of course, getting engaged and spending our wedding night there also probably has something to do with it!! We will be visiting restaurants and food shops all over the city, from the French Quarter to the Garden District...and everywhere in between. It's a hard job, my friends...but I think we're up to the task! Check out this great list of restaurants who are hosting our meals during the trip.
  • Palace Cafe
  • Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
  • Stella! (dessert)
  • K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
  • The Irish House
  • Jacques-Imo
  • Commander's Palace
In addition to eating meals at some of the best restaurants in New Orleans, we'll also be visiting several food-related venues in between meals. From bakeries to beignets...and gelato to pralines...The Weekend Gourmet has got you covered. Between meals, we'll be visiting the following places:
  • Sucre Bakery
  • Cafe du Monde
  • Aunt Sally's Pralines
  • Angelo Brocato
I'll even be partnering with Aunt Sally's to bring back a taste of New Orleans to one of you! They've agreed to give one of you a deluxe assortment of their amazing pralines, so be on the lookout for that giveaway when I return next week.

After reading this post so far, you may be wondering if we'll be doing anything besides eat on this trip. Truthfully? Since food is the focus of the article that I'm going to be writing, we'll be eating. A lot. However, not even The Weekend Gourmet can eat 24x7. In between meals and snacks, we'll visit legendary New Orleans locations like Bourbon Street, St. Louis Cathedral, the St. Charles Streetcar...and who knows what else! We'll be on the lookout for some live music on at least one evening, I'm sure. My only hope is that I make it back to Texas next Monday still able to button my pants. Wish me luck! I'll be back with a recipe to share on Thursday before we come back for that!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mom 100 Easy Back to School #SundaySupper...Featuring Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Bake

For many of my readers, August means Back to School time for the the #SundaySupper theme for our final installment from Katie Workman's The Mom 100 Cookbook is Easy Back to School Dishes. Since there are no non-feline kids in residence at Casa Garcia, back-to-school isn't something normally on our radar. However, fall is the busiest time of year for me at work...which means that it's a good time for me to have some quick and tasty weeknight dinner recipes in my hip pocket. The last thing I want to do after a long day in the office is come home and cook a complicated dinner! Quick and tasty are my main goals during the workweek. The recipe I'm sharing today certainly qualifies: Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Bake is ready for the oven in about 20 minutes, then it does the rest of the work while you toss together a salad and set the table!

Katie provides a recipe for a simple homemade tomato sauce in her book. However, to save time, I opted to use my go-to jarred sauce: Rao's vodka sauce. It has a touch of cream that added a subtle richness to this dish. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights: simply add cooked pasta of your choice to the sauce -- I used penne, then add some diced fresh mozzarella and fresh basil before popping into the oven. Since Michael likes extra protein, I added some diced cooked chicken breast before the pasta went into the oven. After 20 minutes, you've got an ooey-gooey pasta dinner that will satisfy everyone at your dinner table. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't LOVE cheesy pasta! Add a simple salad and some crusty bread, and you've got a complete meal in less than an hour!

Friday, August 10, 2012

FlavorStorm's Essential Cane Flavored Sugar Giveaway...Featuring Triple Berry Cheesecake In a Glass

Today, I want to tell you about a fantastic food product that I was recently introduced to: FlavorStorm's Essential Cane flavored sugars. These sugars are organic fair-trade evaporated cane sugars flavored with all natural ingredients. I was sent four flavors to try out and create a recipe to share with you. I received Raspberry, Tangerine, Vanilla Bean, and the very unique Sweet Onion. We tried the fruit and vanilla bean varieties in a variety of ways: in tea -- both iced and hot -- and even sprinkled on top of our breakfast cereal! The flavors are very natural and nicely balanced: you definitely can tell what the flavor is, but it’s not overpowering or fake tasting. I’m saving the very unique Sweet Onion to use next time I caramelize bring out a sweet depth of flavor.

I had some blueberries and strawberries in my fridge, so I decided to use the Raspberry sugar to create a berry-licious summertime dessert. It comes together in a flash, and it requires no oven or stove. Triple Berry Cheesecake In a Glass is my personal spin on a Nigella Lawson recipe. Cookie crumbs, creamy raspberry-infused cheesecake filling, and macerated berries are layered into martini or wine glasses. They can be served immediately or chilled before serving. I used a double shot of the Raspberry Essential Cane in this recipe: to flavor the cheesecake filling...and to decorate the rim of each glass. This dessert is simple enough to whip up on a busy weeknight, but it’s fancy enough to serve to company!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Food Should Taste Good Chips...and Cheddar-Bacon Ranch Dip

One of my favorite parts of being a food blogger is getting to try new-to-me food products...and then share them with you! The nice people at Food Should Taste Good recently sent me several varieties of their chips to try out. These aren’t run-of-the-mill chips, people! All of their chips are gluten free, cholesterol free, have no trans fats, and do not use genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). They are also certified Kosher, low in sodium, are a good source of dietary fiber...and many flavors are certified vegan! Food Should Taste Good has more than 20 flavors of chips, some of which are very unique. We were sent four bags to sample, along with free product coupons. We received the Toasted Sesame, Jalapeno, Kettle Corn, and Chocolate flavors! See? Unique! We started out by tasting each flavor straight from the bag.

The Jalapeno had a spicy kick, but the heat wasn't overpowering -- they were perfect for dipping in salsa. The Toasted Sesame definitely has a pronounced sesame taste; the more I ate this chip, the more I enjoyed its unique flavor. They were perfect for munching while watching TV one afternoon! The Kettle Corn is a salty-sweet tortilla chip that had my tastebuds dancing...and my mind thinking about how fun it would be to use as the base of no-bake pie crust. The Chocolate was very had a deep cocoa flavor, but it wasn’t overly sweet. This flavor would be fabulous with a sweet cream cheese-based dip. These products are so much fun!

I used one of my free product coupons to buy a bag of the Multigrain tortilla chips -- flavored with sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds. As soon as I tasted these nutty chips, I knew that they would be perfect for dipping. I basically looked in my cupboard and fridge to see what I had, and found my inspiration from ingredients I had bought to top baked potatoes. My dip contains shredded sharp cheddar, bacon, and a one-two punch of onions. I used a combo of light sour cream and fat-free Greek yogurt to keep the fat content down. Best of all? This creamy dip is basically ready to eat in the time it takes to cook the bacon.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Very Special #CookForJulia #SundaySupper...Featuring Onion-Rice Soubise

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

One of my earliest food memories is watching Julia Child's television program on the local PBS station. Julia cooked French food -- foods that this young Texas gal had never heard of -- much less  eaten. I was hooked! I loved the obvious happiness that she displayed as she cooked...and that she didn't take things too seriously. Things didn't always go as planned when she cooked, and she just took it in stride and carried on. I appreciated that Julia kept it real! She's one of my original cooking heroes. Before there was Emeril, Thomas Keller, or Iron Chefs...there was Julia. Mention the name Julia to any foodie, and they'll know immediately who you're talking last name needed!! 

Julia Child's 100th birthday is later this month, so the #SundaySupper crew is celebrating by throwing a virtual party featuring some of her best recipes! Michael gave me the two-volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking a couple of years ago for Christmas. Until now, I've mostly used it as a reference for cooking techniques. Some of the recipes are a bit time-consuming and can be a bit intimidating, even for an experienced cook. But? They really don't have to be...the recipe I'm sharing today is quite simple and very delicious: Soubise. Never heard of it? Yeah, I hadn't either until this week. Now, I'm wondering where it's been all my life!

Soubise is pronounced soo-beez...and it's a baked mixture of thinly sliced onion and rice with a bit of cream, butter, and cheese tossed in for richness. It's simple, but oh-so-yummy! After a few minutes of initial prep work, the oven does the rest of the work for you. The only minor tweaks I made to Julia's original dish were to make a half batch to serves three people...and I added a bit of thyme and some extra cheese on top to make it a gratin.

Onion-Rice Soubise
gently adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add 1/3 cup rice; cook for exactly 5 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1 lb. yellow onion. For me, this was one large yellow onion...which I sliced using my OXO hand-held mandoline. Add 2 tbs. melted butter to the onions and toss to coat. Place in a 9x9 baker.

Step 2: Add the reserved par-cooked rice, 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, and salt & cracked pepper to taste. Stir well to combine, cover the pan tightly with foil, and bake for about an hour. The liquid from the onions will cook (and flavor) the rice perfectly. I removed the foil halfway from baking, gave it a good stir, and then finished baking.

Step 3: After the soubise has finished baking, the rice will be tender. Add the following ingredients to the pan: 2 tbs. heavy cream, 1/4 cup shredded gruyere, and 1 tbs. butter. Stir well to combine. Top with 1/2 cup additional gruyere and top with a sprig of thyme for color. Bake until the cheese has melted. 

This side dish is really unique: reminiscent of risotto from the addition of cream and butter at the end, but the ratio of onion to rice is at least 2-to-1. The onions cook up tender and sweet, and the cream/cheese/butter combo gives it a rich creaminess. This dish paired perfectly with juicy grilled chicken. I'm so glad to have added this to my culinary repertoire, and I can't wait to make it again. I hope that you'll add soubise to YOUR must-try list!

While you're at it, I also hope you'll join us for a very special #CookForJulia #SundaySupper chat on Twitter tonight at 700EST. While you're at it, make sure to visit my fellow #SundaySupper bloggers and see which classic Julia dish they're sharing today:

#CookForJulia Breakfast
Râpée Morvandelle by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings 
Croissants by Cookistry 
Eggs Baked in Ramekins (Oeufs en Cocotte à la crème)  by Cooking by the Seat of our Pants 
Cheese and Bacon Quiche by Tora’s Real Food
#CookForJulia Lunch
Tuna Salad Nicoise by Magnolia Days 
Potato and Onion Soup (Potage Parmentier) by Shockingly Delicious 
Blood Orange, Walnut, and Rocket Salad by Granny’s Down Home Southern Cooking 
Croque Monsieur by Webicurean
Spinach and Cream Cheese Pancakes by Happy Baking Days 
Julia’s Chicken Salad by My Trials in the Kitchen 
Pissaladière Niçoise (Onion Tart with Anchovies and Black Olives) by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Provencal Tomato Quiche by Are you hungry?
Quiche Lorraine and Mixed Green Salad by Spoon and Saucer 
#CookForJulia Dinner
Boeuf Bourguignon by Chelsea’s Culinary Indulgence
Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages by Doggie at the Dinner Table 
Boeuf Bourguignon by Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms with Baked Cucumbers and Boiled Potatoes (Blanquette de veau a l’ancienne with concombres au buerre) by Kimchi Mom
Salmon en Papillote by Girlichef
Poached salmon with cucumber sauce by Katherine Martinelli
Lobster Souffle and Deviled Chicken- Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends 
Roasted Chicken with Julia’s Mustard Marinade by The Meltaways
Wild Mushroom and Herb Stuffed Chicken- Mama Mommy Mom
Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs (Brandade á la Soissonaise) Avocado Pesto
Julia’s Kunming Connection: Chinese Steampot Chicken- by My Kitchen and I
Poulet au Porto by Family Foodie 
#CookForJulia Sides
Hollondaise over Blanched Asparagus by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois) by Home Cooking Memories 
Ratatouille by Basic N Delicious 
French-style country pate by There and Back Again
White Bean Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips Momma’s Meals
Oeufs à la Diable by What Smells So Good?
Ratatouille by Cupcakes and Kale Chips
#CookForJulia Desserts
Cream Cheese and Lemon Flan by Juanita’s Cocina
Strawberry Sherbert in Cooky Cups by Cravings of a Lunatic
Creme Brulee by Wine Everyday
Mousseline Au Chocolat by Small Wallet Big Appetite
Peach Tarte Tatin by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Cinnamon Toast Flan by Vintage Kitchen Notes
Dark Chocolate Crepes by Family Spice
Crepes Fines Sucrees by Mangoes and Chutney
Pommes Rosemarie:Apples Rosie  The Daily Dish Recipes
Espresso Soufflé by Chocolate Moosey
Best Ever Brownies by In the Kitchen with Audrey
Orange-Almond Jelly Roll Cake by Mrs. Mama Hen
Orange Spongecake Cupcakes by Mama’s Blissful Bites
Orange Mousse with Greek Yogurt by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pops by Big Bears Wife

Wine Pairings by: Martin Redmond Relishing Food and Wine; Thanks to Julia Child! by ENOFYLZ