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Vday

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

So maybe Valentine’s Day is just a holiday made up by Hallmark and Tiffany’s to get you to shell out dough in February because Christmas has passed and they need another surge of cash. And yes, it’s overrated. But just the way there is mother’s day and father’s day where one day a year is alloted for you to remember to appreciate someone, there’s good old Vday. So tell someone you care about that you love them today – whether it’s your doorman, your sister, your dog, or your significant other.

Since I know that everywhere I look today I will be faced with the gross heart-shaped candy crap that litters the aisles of Walgreens, I wanted to make something so decadent that I wouldn’t even want to try it. Enter Primal-Palate. If you ever want decadence or “omg-this-can’t-be-paleo-it’s-so-good” go to their website. I made their chocolate & rasperry pot-de-creme and it is DIVINE. They are currently chilling in the fridge ready for me to devour, and you better believe I licked the food processor clean it was that good!

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Primal Palate’s Raspberry & Chocolate Pots de creme:
Ingredients :

6 oz dark chocolate cut into bits ( I used Sharfen Berger 70%)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Fill food processor with all ingredients but coconut milk. Don’t blend yet. Boil coconut milk in a small saucepan until it starts to steam, but before it bubbles. Add to food processor and blend everything together. AMAZING. I made mine served with raspberries on the bottom of my little dishes and one on top to garnish.

I was then so amazed I made a second batch but this time with COCONUT.

For this one I used unsweetened dark chocolate, so I added 1/2 tsp of amber honey and 1 tsp coconut butter to the ingredient mix above before blending. Sprinkle the bottom of your little dishes or jars with coconut flakes, pour the melted chocolate on top, and garnish with a raspberry to make it look fancy! I put mine in these cute little jars so I can take them to work with me. Genius I know!

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I’m also a big believer that Valentine’s day is a fun excuse to do things that are out of the ordinary or a tad bit special. Every time I cook fish, I feel way more extraordinary than other meats. So make this dish – it actually takes no time at all and looks way fancier than it really is. Plus, it’s pink!

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Crab Cakes, Oregano Salmon & Carrot Souffle!

Olive Oil & Oregano Salmon :

Ingredients : 2 wild-caught Sockeye Salmon filets

Marinade :

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped finely
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper to taste.

Combine these in a small jar. Shake well to mix together. Put salmon filets in a ziploc, pour marinade over top, seal the bag and then shake around. Let the ziploc sit and marinate in your fridge for at least an hour.

Once time has passed, remove your filet from the fridge and pre-heat your oven to 400 F. Put each filet in an individual small square of tin foil, pour half the marinade over top each filet and seal the foil. Place both foiled- salmons on a glass baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the salmon flakes with a fork. Serve with extra lemon squeezed on top.

Carrot Souffle ( again taken from Primal- Palate).

This looks way fancier than it is to make! And it does NOT need any sweetener, it tastes like dessert on its own!

They explain the direction way better than I can , so go here for Carrot Souffle 
I seem to have a good theme going for my day so far. I bought some cool street art :

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Then I watched some coworkers share a milkshake ( Precious)

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And I am stoked to spend my Valentines’ Day night at my Crossfit Box with some pretty cool people to do a partner’s WOD.

Still haven’t gotten that special someone a gift? READ THIS article in Forbes before you buy anything and learn how to NOT SCREW UP GIFT GIVING. My old roommate Justine knows what’s up. ( and I may or may not have been the one who received a dish brush as a v-day gift once…)

Do me a favour and tell someone you care about that you LOVE them today. No matter who you are, or how many times your mom can tell you that, it’s always good to hear that someone appreciates you. So don’t be too cool for love just cause you’re single. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dream Worthy

Who says Paleo isn’t fun?

So the #1 thing I get from people ( outside of my beautiful, sheltered halo of my Crossfit box) when I tell them I eat paleo is the question :

” wait ….. so you don’t eat _____ ? ” or “That doesn’t sound like much fun”

I made this Chocolate pudding last night and I felt like I was eating the delicious but may-one-day-kill-you-because-it’s-full-of-preservatives Snack Pack pudding cups I ate as a kid. It’s that good. I love when I make a paleo treat that tastes too good that I’m convinced it has to have something not good for me in it. THIS RECIPE IS IT! Be prepared to be in heaven.

But warning : If you are not a fan of super dark chocolate ( like 70% or more) or super rich chocolate desserts, this may not be for you. If you prefer milk chocolate, I suggest adding some coconut milk before blending, or increasing the honey ratio to sweeten it up.

Chocolate Paleo Pudding

Dream Worthy

Ingredients :

( Yields 2-3 servings. It’s very rich so you don’t need much)

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey ( I use Amber honey – so good!)
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut butter

Directions :
Get out your food processor. First blend the avocado, the coconut oil, and the cocoa powder for about a minute, until very well mixed and no loose powder is left on the sides. You might need to pulse the buttons. Then add half the honey and the vanilla. Blend well again. Add the remaining honey and the coconut butter. Blend. I find that was the best order to do things in.

Serve with coconut flakes or fruit on top. Eat with spoon, be in heaven!

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Coconut & Apple = heaven

Nuts for nuts

Ready for a little nutrition talk? This post might as well have a giant TWSS label attached to it, so go ahead and giggle.

In the last week or so I feel as though EVERYONE in the paleo community is talking about nuts. And how we shouldn’t eat too many. ( seriously. Click here. And here. And here. And obviously we know Mark’s point of view on the subject)

Viewpoints on the subject differ slightly, and mostly go into in-depth scientific reasoning.

In 250 words or less, here’s why massive quantities of nuts are frowned upon:

“Nuts are high in fat – particularly, dense in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3s. For optimal body function, we want both omegas, but at a 2:1 ratio of 6s to 3s. Almost all nuts have too high of a ratio of Omega 6s- 3s”.

So if you eat Paleo I probably just broke your heart, because if you’re like me those are a pretty consistent snack in your day to day. Yes, I don’t feel good if I eat too many. Yes, if I was trying to lose weight I would not eat them as frequently as I do. So what’s the deal?

Basically, while nuts aren’t the most superior food choice due to this high ratio -the overall nutrient benefit of nuts far outweighs the negatives of a high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio…. at least in small moderations. ( that’s a new one! is anything good for you in large quantities? )

So basically I just inundated you with links and information… all to tell you that it’s HARD to find a paleo treat recipe without nuts. Despite above reasoning. So i present you with NUT-FREE Paleo Apple-coconut Cakes. ( so if you’re like me and went on a little nut binge this week you can feel better) But be warned : these are addicting!

Coconut- Apple Cakes ( Nut & sweetener free!)

Coconut & Apple = heaven

Ingredients: ( yields 12 cakes)

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil ( a little less than 1/4)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1 cup unbleached coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut butter

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Mash a banana in a large mixing bowl, shred the apple in food processor and add to the bowl. Then mix with the eggs, coconut flour, baking soda and coconut oil. Once mixed well by hand, add in vanilla and cinnamon. Melt your coconut butter separately ( microwave for 30 seconds works well) and add to mix but be sure to add half of it, then mix, and add the rest or you will be left with one giant chunk in one small area.

Taste test it. If it’s a little dry, add a splash of coconut milk or a splash of coconut oil.
Transfer mix to muffin pans, sprinkle coconut flakes on top and bake for 22 minutes. They will be done when the fork comes out clean.

Take them out of the oven and let the cakes cool for at least 5-10 minutes. THIS IS THE HARDEST PART! You will not want to wait. But please do, or you will burn off the top part of your mouth. That may or may not have happened to me. No I’m not sorry. And yes it was worth it.

Once the cakes have cooled, spread each cake with a dab of melted coconut butter.

Still craving some nuts? Head over to Juli and make your own nut butter. Then SPREAD IT ON THESE MUFFINS. I am salivating just thinking about it. You can thank me later :)

* Tricks of the Trade * : I have done a lot of Paleo baking and finally seem to figure out the ratios to a successful cake/ muffin. Use less flour, more eggs and a fat source ( coconut oil, grassfed butter, coconut milk) for moist cakes that stay together! I also find the addition of a banana is CRUCIAL because I do not need any honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. Without the banana, you will need double the added sugars to compensate.

Look at those runny yolks!

Baked Eggs Version 2.0

Baked Eggs are back!! But this time they are revamped with more protein and more veggies!

Ingredients : ( made this for the week)

1.5 muffin pans ( yielded 16)

16 eggs

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, grated ( I just chopped mine in the food processor)

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 cups baby spinach leaves

3 Applegate Chicken Apple Sausage

2 zucchinis

1 Red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions :

Preheat your oven to 350. Get out your muffin pan and grease lightly with coconut oil or olive oil. Grate your sweet potato first, take it out, then grate your zucchini and bell pepper in the food processor.

You will need 2 pans. One small one to start browning your sausage.

Then get out another larger pan and heat the coconut oil, and saute the grated sweet potatoes for about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the potatoes and cook for another 2 min. Add the zucchini and bell pepper, and saute for a few more minutes. Add the spinach last along with the paprika, cayenne, sea salt and pepper to the vegetables, mix well, and cook until everything is soft and spinach is wilted.

Once sausage is browned, set aside to cool. Potatoes & veggies should still be cooking. Once cooled, chop sausage finely in food processor. Then, add to veggie mixture just as it’s about to be finished cooking and mix well. Then, finally divide the mixture evenly into the bottoms of your muffin pan holes.

Carefully crack one egg on top of the veggie/ sausage mixture into each muffin hole. Cook the eggs for about 18-20 minutes, or until the eggs whites are set but the egg is still a little bit “jiggly” and the yolks are not fully cooked. Scoop the eggs carefully out of the muffin holes and serve.
Most of mine didn’t stay together and i think it is because I didn’t finely chop everything in small enough pieces. So use that food processor!!!

Eat & enjoy. These make a full, balanced meal. I love mine with avocado and hot sauce. Good luck stopping at just 1… or 2..

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Happy holidays

Happy Holidays everyone!!

This year, my holidays have been a little different and I am so thankful for all the changes in my life. Living in NYC, I’ll have a pretty white Christmas! ( well… that is by the time i make it back before NYE).

But one major change for me has been that the last few years I have thrown some kick- ass Chanukkah parties full of dreidel games and latke making galore. And I’ve been lucky enough to do so with my awesome latke-chef, party hostess BFF by my side! We even brought the joy of the festival of lights to France one year!

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She's got latke- making skills like you've never seen!

This year she is on an exploratory, whirlwind amazing trip around Europe… the kind that everyone can only be jealous of. While she is out having the time of her life in Scotland this month, I didn’t feel it was right to throw an extravaganza without her. So i’ll have to relive it through pictures and start planning for next year’s!

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Check out that Blue & Gold!

Because Claudia is far away and I gotta drown my sorrows somehow, and I’m avoiding the  gluten- filled sugar temptations that is Christmas , I’ve been making Christmas- inspired paleo treats instead! This one is my favorite, and only 4 ingredients!

Coconut Bark

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Ingredients:
1/2 heaping cup coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
Sea salt

Directions:
Nuke coconut butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted, approx 30-40 seconds. Add other ingredients to bowl and mix well. I recommend adding sea salt at the very end. This mixture will be thick, so melt more if needed. Spread coconut mixture flat on a plate or small cookie tray covered in tin foil. Place in freezer 1-2 hours. Remove, crack in pieces ( use those forearms! It ain’t easy) and enjoy!

Other substitutions : use pistachios or walnuts instead of pecans, or add all-natural cocoa nibs !

Well I know that every Jew in America is out eating Chinese food on Christmas day, and I hate Chinese Food , My mom and I made this not-so-traditional Christmas entree using my Mom’s recipe.

( For paleo option, feel free to leave out the cheese)

Stuffed Zucchini 

Delicious and bite-size!

Ingredients :

3 small yellow or green zucchinis
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 small can tomato paste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Thickly shredded Pecorino Romano  or Parmesan

Directions:

Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees F. Peel zucchinis and cut in thick circular rounds or cubes. Using a thin sparing knife, carve insides out, setting the seed-inside mixture aside in a separate bowl.
Once all zucchini rounds are carved out, grease a glass baking dish with olive oil and spread zucchini cubes out, approx 1/2 – 1 inch apart. Put ground beef in a big bowl and add Italian seasoning, some basil, and salt, and pepper and mix well with your hands. Scoop out tiny bits of beef and stuff into empty zucchini holes. The beef should be stuffed so that it is overflowing over the zucchini bits, but not so much that it’s falling over the sides. Add the insides of the zucchini you just carved to the dish, placing them on the sides.

Sauce: Pour tomato paste into a small bowl, and mix with about 1/2 the can worth of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (depending how thick you want the tomato sauce). Add a generous amount of italian seasoning to tomato mixture and mix well.  Pour tomato mixture over the beef-stuffed zucchini rounds so that everything is  completely covered. Place in oven. After 20 minutes remove dish and sprinkle the cheese shreds over the top of the dish and put back in the oven for another 20 or so minutes, until beef is fully cooked through.

I love these served with a side of green beans!

CHRISTMAS WORKOUTS 

Most gyms are on a Christmas schedule., and many may be closed all together for a period of time so you may need to get crafty in order to get your workout in. Here are a few of my do-anywhere workouts I did the last few days as my gym was closed.
I always travel with my jump rope and had my kettlebelll handy but feel free to improvise with what you have around.

Christmas- eve workout: 

To Warmup:
3 rounds  of -
400m run
20 up-downs  (almost like a burpee without the pushup) These are My favorite warm up exercise because you get a backstretch too!

Workout:
5 rounds :
24 Double unders ( since I just started these, I aimed for them unbroken and re-did the set until i got them unbroken. Modifications : aim for 3 singles, one double under)

24 Kettle bell swings @ 16kg
24 windshield wipers  

Christmas- Day Workout : No equipment necessary !

10 min warmup run
Then I set a timer on my watch and ran the same loop where every 30 seconds i Sprinted, and then jogged for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes

I rested and foam rolled for about 5 minutes.

Then 4 rounds of :

25 air squats
25 burpees
25 situps
25 lunge jumps

These WODs take no time at all and are a great way to fuel all those christmas treats we’re all inhaling.

Happy Holidays!

What's Thanksgiving sans Sweet Potatoes?

Paleo Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Though I like to think I am thankful every day for all the blessings in my life, ( and believe me there is plenty to be thankful for!) this year I am especially thankful for :

- 2 days off work ( can we say staycation?)

- healthy, abundant and delicious food on the table ( check out my recipes below!)

- living in the same city as my sister & bro in law for the first time to enjoy the holiday with them! Seeing them weekly is such a treat, even if it’s just hanging out in one of our apartments.

Aren’t they the cutest?

So let’s get right down to the recipes! My bro-in Law is quite the chef so he’s got the entrees covered : braised beef and turkey roulade. I can’t wait and would love to post those recipes if he ever shares them. I’m a big believer in Thanksgiving not being a time for a complete pig-out on heavy & un-healthy food. Yes, feel free to indulge a little. But a big part of thanksgiving is reuniting with family & friends you don’t get to see often, so what’s the point of wasting that special time feeling full, uncomfortable & sluggish? The point of the holiday is to be with loved ones, not an excuse to eat so much you need to take a nap.

Paleo Thanksgiving is easier than it looks!

Anyways, my responsibility for the meal are the sides and desserts so here is what is on my menu:

Sweet Potato Slices & Fall Salsa ( adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com)

What is thanksgiving without Sweet potatoes?

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 sweet potatoes, unpeeled and and cut into large circles
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pecans
  • 1 tiny shallot – feel free to replace for a quarter of an onion if you can digest them
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 tbsp parsley, washed and diced
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened, unsulphured dried cherries ( i love trader joes’ cherries!)
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • splash of raspberry vinaigrette
  • 1/2 tsp of honey Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground Salt & black pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

On the side ( for those who eat & enjoy cheese):

- 2 ounces goat cheese or feta, not too soft that can crumble easily

Directions :

Grease a large baking sheet generously with olive oil and place sweet potato coins in one layer, sprinkling with salt & pepper. Bake at 450 for around 15-20 min or until the bottoms become a little blistery or spotted ( they almost look like cheetah spots). Flip slices over, and bake again for another 10 min. They should release from the pan easily!

While they’re baking : chop the pecans ( food processors are your friends), celery, parsley, and mince cherries depending how big they are and add to a mixing bowl. If using a very soft goat cheese, leave that until the end. If using a harder feta, crumble into tiny cubes and add to mixture. In a separate smaller bowl mix oil, vinegars and mustard together and then pour half of it over “fall salad” mixture. Once potatoes are done cooking ( both sides should be cheetah spotted and lightly salted), lay them out on a serving platter and gently scoop salad mixture on to each sweet potato coin. If using soft goat cheese, now is the time to add to the mixture. When all the salsa is scooped, drizzle remaining dressing over all of it. Enjoy while warm!!

Fall Salsa!

I love making extra “fall salsa” to enjoy on the side with a spoon!

Butternut Squash, Bacon & Chard (a la everydaypaleo )

20111123-144412.jpgIngredients :

  • 1 large Butternut Squash, baked, peeled and cubed.
  • 2 heads or Rainbow chard, stems removed, washed & chopped
  • 4-6 slices of bacon ( if bacon is not already used in your brussel sprouts!)
  • Coconut oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions:

To bake squash: cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds & insides, and place in glass baking dish flat side down in a few tbsp of water. Bake for 1 hour at around 350 degrees. Remove once skin is easily puncture with a fork and insides are mushy & Soft, but NOT fully cooked. If you’re like me and cannot cut open the raw squash for the life of you, bake it for around 12 minutes in the oven, remove, and then using an oven mitt, a sharp knife and a fork, cut squash in half. I reiterate oven mitt. I have a sweet scar on my wrist for this mistake.

While squash is baking, cook chopped strips of bacon in a sauce pan over medium heat with a little olive oil until lightly cooked through ( but not well done). Remove from pan, and set on paper towel and blot. Once cooled a little, chop bacon into bite sized pieces. I like to empty about half the bacon grease into a container and keep the other half to cook the rest of the dish!

Once squash is baked, but not FULLY cooked, add cubed squash to the bacon grease pan ( yum!) . After around 2 min, and squash is starting to soften, add chopped chard and season with garlic powder and salt & pepper. Chances are you will need to add coconut oil at this point to make everything moist and to add flavor. Sautee together for another 2 or so minutes over medium heat. Then, once chard is nice and wilted and squash is very soft, add the bacon pieces and stir around. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over all the mixture, stirring often. If you like it tangy, be generous with the vinegar but I don’t recommend it.

Remove from heat promptly and add salt & pepper. Eat & enjoy!

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Green Beans & Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh, de-stemmed and washed organic green beans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, raw almond slivers
  • Generous olive oil
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Peppper

Directions :

De-stem greenbeans and wash well. Add beans to a big pot of already boiling water and cover. Boil beans for around 5 minutes until semi soft ( but not fully cooked). Drain and set aside to cool. Heat up a large skillet on medium heat and add a generous tbsp or 2 of olive oil. Add boiled greenbeans and generous amounts of italian seasoning and stir well. After a minute, add slivered almonds and salt and pepper and continue to stir. Once beans are fully cooked ( around 3-5 minutes) remove from heat. Green beans become mushy very quickly when over-cooked so watch carefully!

Coconut- Almond Butter Cookies ( Makes around 15 large cookies)

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  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1 apple finely chopped (unsweetened apple sauce will work but takes away from the texture)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup chunky almond flour ( love texture!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cinammon
  • 1/2-1 cup unsulphured, unbleached coconut flakes

Directions :

Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, smash the bananas and apple. Add to a mixing bowl with coconut flour and baking soda and mix well. Microwave almond butter jar for 15-25 seconds to get it melty to make it easier to scoop. Chop almost all the walnuts in the food processor and add to baking mixture along with melty almond butter scoop. Then add 1/2 cup coconut flakes, coconut milk & cinammon and mix REALLY well. Finally, add remaining halved walnuts for texture.

Cover two cookie sheets with foil and spray with coconut oil spray. Spoon heaping tbsps of cookie mix on the trays about 1 inch apart ( space on cookie sheet permitting). Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of coconut flakes on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until fork comes out smooth. They crumble easily so it is better to err a little on the side of over-cooked.

For a thanksgiving batch, add 1/2- 3/4 cup 65% dark fair trade organic chocolate chips to the mix. Or if you want to make these more festive, add 1 can of unsweetened pumpkin to the mixture replacing one of the bananas, and add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, a generous sprinkle cinnamon and drop or 2 vanilla extract.

I am also attempting a pumpkin pie. Recipe to come, if it turns out okay. The plan is to use hazelnut/ walnut flour mix for the crust and use eggs, coconut milk & pumpkin for the filling.

TIme to get my hands dirty…

Ma, the meatloaf!

I have never made meatloaf in my entire life. In my head meatloaf is up there with Kraft Dinner as quintessential American cooking that propagates the SAD diet.

I’m a huge fan of meals that are hands off while cooking and last me a few days. So I tackled meatloaf- and it was way better than I imagined. I tried to pack as many veggies in there as I could to make it a complete meal in itself

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This picture does NOT do it justice!

.

Ingredients:
2 lb grassfed ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup almond meal
2 generous handfuls spinach
3 garlic cloves
1 6 oz can organic tomato paste
1 tsp crushed black pepper

Generous sprinklings (each) of:
Paprika
Thyme
Oregano
Parsley
If you have fresh basil, highly recommend it!

Directions:
Set oven at 375 degrees.
In large bowl whisk eggs and mix well with beef using your fingers. Add almond flour and knead together. Finely chop spinach & garlic in a food processor and add to bowl with tomato paste & all your spices. Roll up your sleeves because you’ll need to mix and knead with your hands.

Grease a glass baking dish with olive oil and shape meat mound into a loaf. Mine looked like a giant blob.

Then bake in oven for 55-60 min, or until inside is no longer pink.
Don’t overcook because it becomes dry!

I enjoyed mine slathered in hot sauce with a side of green beans and cubed sweet potatoes cooked in a pan with Olive oil & italian seasoning.

If you want to save portions for the week, I highly suggest adding a tiny drizzle of olive oil on top of the slice before putting it in Tupperware.

Also, I would imagine it’d taste better with an onion or two in there. Most dishes I cook probably taste much better with an onion so use your imagination!