No..these two topics have nothing in common....I just decided to start my 30 Day Challenge (see bottom on blog) on the same day as my Vidalia Onion Tart posting)....
I hardly ever buy 'regular' onions anymore. Since Vidalia onions are the official state vegetable of Georgia (I am not kidding!), they are available in Atlanta year round. Vidalias are sweeter and more mild than regular onions, which I think have more "bite" and are hotter. Vidalias also cause fewer tears when chopping.
I remember when Willard Scott, on The Today Show, ate a Vidalia onion like an apple! That may be a bit too much for me, but they add great crunch when sliced and added to burgers, salads and sandwiches. The only downside to Vidalias is that they do not store quite as long as traditional onions. I like to use them up within a week or two of purchasing them, or they get soft and mushy.
I found some gorgeous Vidalias ot the grocery this week and was inspired to caramelize them. I wanted to get a super simple recipe that showcased the onions. What better than an Onion Tart? The onions taste like the onions of a French Onion Soup, and the base of the tart can be whatever you like it to be. I happened to have a sheet of frozen puff pastry in my freezer that I wanted to use up, and it worked perfectly. Crescent roll dough would be nice, phyllo dough would work, or even a simple, homemade pastry dough/pie crust.
This tart would work as an appetizer, a light lunch or a side dish with dinner.
Vidalia Onion Tart
4 large Vidalia onions, sliced thinly
4 thyme sprigs
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 c. beef stock
3 T. EVOO
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed for 40 minutes
Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with Pam, or line with a non stick Silpat sheet.
Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium. Add onions and thyme sprigs.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook onions until they have fully browned.
Add half of the beef broth, and stir, scraping up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. When the beef broth has cooked away, add the remaining beef broth and repeat until mixture has gotten thick and syrupy. Remove the thyme sprigs. Set the onion mixture aside.
Roll out your pastry into a 10 X 16 rectangle. With a sharp knife, evenly cut off the outer one inch edge of each side of the rectangle in strips. Place the rectangle on the baking sheet. Dip your finger in water, and run around the edges of the rectangle. Now replace the removed strips of pastry along the edges of the rectangle on the baking sheet, pressing lightly to adhere. With a fork, pierce the interior of the tart shell to prevent it from puffing up. Do not pierce the edges. Place in the preheated oven, and bake until the edges are golden in color, about 10 - 15 minutes.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350. Evenly spread the caramelized onions on the cooked pastry shell and heat until warmed through, about 5 - 7 minutes. Removed from oven, to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve right away.
The 30 Day Fitness Challenge
Even though I consider myself a healthy person, I have a tendency to get lazy when it comes to exercise. Unless I have an "appointment" to workout (with a trainer, or I promised to meet a friend at the park to walk), there is a good chance I will find something else to do.....laundry, grocery shop, cook, meet friends for lunch, organize my closet, take a nap, etc. I have 3 standing exercise appointments a week...two are in the Pilates studio, and one is for an hour of strength training. I love all three of those workouts, and only cancel if I am feeling sick. That leaves four more workouts in the week for me to motivate myself to do on my own (Wednesdays I do one hour of Pilates AND one hour of strength training).
Over the summer I was doing really well, going to a couple of Power Yoga classes a week, and getting on the treadmill on the other days, in addition to my other workouts. I was incredibly motivated. Then, the gym replaced my favorite Power Yoga teacher with a teacher I didn't like, and I quickly lost my momentum. Since then, I haven't had the motivation to get back into a regular routine on my own.
I have no excuses....I am not working now (so I have plently of time), my gym offers dozens of classes everyday (plenty of variety), and I live half of a mile from Chastain Park (I can walk to the park!). There are two excellent yoga studios within a 10 minutes drive from my house, and we have a home gym, with a treadmill, a Wii, free weights, a Bosu ball, a Pilates Ring, a TV, TIVO, DVR and several workout DVDs. I have my iPod, loaded with several cardio playlists, and I have three dogs that will walk with me whenever I want! After reading this paragraph, I am actually embarrassed that I am not totally ripped!
Say hello to the 30 Day Fitness Challenge. Starting tomorrow (October 21), until November 19 (the week before Thanksgiving), I am promising myself that I will exercise at least 30 minutes, six days a week. My goal is not weight loss (although that would be nice), it is to get back on the road to a more fit and healthy lifestyle. I intend to focus on cardio, strength training (concentrating on strengthening my core) and flexibility. The only change to my diet will be to add more water, and to stay away from junk food (somehow, a bag of candy corns ended up in my house, and I cannot stop eating them!).
Tomorrow will be Day 1. Wednesday, October 21. Wednesdays are always easy for me because I have my double booking....strength training for one hour with Maureen in the morning, and a Pilates Tower class with Betsy at 6pm (see advanced exercise on the Pilates reformer below). I never cancel those workouts, because I love them both, and Maureen and Betsy are expecting me to show up. Looking ahead at my gym schedule, I see Cardio and Corepole class. In Corepole, each class participant attach a resistance band to various anchor points on a weighted pole. Then, either remaining in place, or rotating around the pole, various resistance based exercises are performed. How fun does that sound? I have to get my butt to that class! I'll keep you updated on my progress (and of course...still provide yummy recipes).
If you want to do a 30 Day Challenge, it can be anything you want. You certainly can join me in a 30 Day Fitness Challenge, but maybe there is something else you have been wanting to do. If you google "30 Day Challenge:, you will find everything from the "30 Day Oatmeal Challenge" (how to get more oatmeal into your diet in 30 days) to a "30 Caffeine Free Challenge"(rid yourself of caffeine in 30 days) to a "30 Day Husband Challenge" (not quite sure what that is). Want to eat more fiber, try that. Want to live green, try that. My only suggestion is to make a specific plan. For example, if you decide to eat more fiber, do a little research, and make a "roadmap". Find the fiber content of various foods. Find out how to add fiber to the foods you currently eat. Find out how to safely and comfortably, add fiber to your daily diet, and then make a plan to to it. Don't set out without a roadmap. That will set you up for frustration, and possible failure.