“Go straight to your room right now! And don’t you dare talk back to me.”
Our daughter Lily was a sunny, easygoing child.
But she ran a tight ship with the tiny dollhouse family that lived in the pint-sized pine house in her room.
The itty, yarn-wrapped people and their frozen, smiley faces seemed to unleash Lily’s inner Benito Mussolini.
The dollhouse family’s home decorating, dressing and domestic routines became a psychodrama that occupied Lily and her enthralled younger brother and their friends for hours.
For years it was my job to kit out the dollhouse family. I scoured craft stores, secondhand boutiques and vintage toy shops year round to keep the family in bitty beds, teeny tables and pee-wee rolling pins.
Even now, close to two decades later, my radar for reduced-size objects remains on high frequency.
How else can I explain my purchase of the cipollini onions?
The midget onions weren’t part of a must-try recipe. They hadn’t been photographed on a polished cement counter on one of the vegan, clean-food blogs I hit up weekly. I’d never even tasted a cipollini.
But when I spied the squat little onions nestled in a wicker basket at H-Mart, zing went my heartstrings.
I bought three pounds.
They sat in my kitchen for a week.
For most of us, onions aren’t really a stand-alone vegetable, are they? On the other hand, the cipollini were too cute–and too expensive–to chop up and simmer into marinara invisibility.
I was thrilled when I stumbled on James Beard’s Burgundy-Glazed Cipollini Onions. Of course I had to fiddle with the recipe. My own sweet, sour, salty, sticky, winey, burnt-caramel variation follows.
The recipe’s two-stage, sauté-and-braise cooking transforms the mild little onions into tender globes coated with syrupy wine sauce.
Served warm or at room temperature, braised cipollini onions make a divine side dish with pasta. They’re also a special addition to your appetizer rotation.