Dinner in 40 Minutes

Sausage, Thyme and Red Onions

4 servings

Red onions and sausage are imbued, simply but surely, with thyme flavor while they roast in the oven. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Adapted from "In My Kitchen" by Annie Bell (Conran Octopus, 2004):

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 links (about 11/2 pounds) pork sausages

4 red onions, peeled, halved and thickly sliced

10 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Dijon-style or coarse-grain mustard (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the sausages and heat until browned on both sides. Transfer the sausages to a plate.

Arrange the onions and thyme in the skillet, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the sausages on top of the onions, transfer it to the over and roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until the onions are softened and the sausages are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serve the sausages and onions alone or with mustard served on the side.

Ingredients too variable for meaningful analysis.

-- Renee Schettler

EQUIPMENT | Kitchen Papers

Wax paper is semitransparent paper -- typically tissue paper -- coated with food-safe paraffin wax. The wax coating results in a moisture-resistant, nonstick paper that can be used to wrap foods prior to refrigerating (in fact, it predates clingy plastic wrap). It is oven-safe as long as the paper is not directly exposed to heat; for example, it can be cut to fit the bottom of a pan filled with batter to save the step of buttering and flouring. But wax paper should not be used to line a sheet for baking cookies, where parts of the paper would be exposed. It is also microwave-safe and can be placed atop plates to prevent splatters.

Wax paper is not interchangeable with parchment paper, which is actual white or brown parchment that has been coated with silicone. The greaseproof, nonstick product is oven-safe up to 420 degrees and is commonly called for in recipes as a liner for a baking sheet when baking, say, cookies. It can also be used to cook en papillotte, a method of steaming food wrapped inside parchment paper.

SHOPPING CART | Flavor Pastes that Come in a Tube

How many times have you opened a can of tomato paste or a tin of anchovies, taken the small amount required for a recipe and then wondered what to do with the rest? These tubes of flavor solve that problem. Take just what you need, screw the top back on then refrigerate until next time. They're not new, just useful. Tubes of pastes and sauces can be found at some grocery and specialty stores, scattered throughout various aisles.

ON THE LABEL | Olive Oil Benefits

Health-conscious salad eaters may not have to take their dressing on the side after all -- as long as the dressing is olive oil-based.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the labels on olive oil and certain foods containing it can include the claim that "limited and not conclusive evidence" suggests that eating about two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Cone Head

Looks like Cavity Sam, the perpetual patient in the board game Operation, has a new headache: brain freeze. For 39 years, old and young players have performed delicate tweezer surgery on cartoon-character Sam, whose exposed body cavities are filled with things such as Butterflies in the Stomach and a Broken Heart. The frosty infirmity is the only new ailment to be added to the game, edging out "tennis elbow" and "growling stomach" in a contest last year that drew nearly 200,000 votes.

The updated Operation board game is available in stores for about $13.99.

TIP:

To clean a spice or coffee grinder, process three tablespoons of uncooked rice, then wipe with a paper towel.

-- From the November issue of Cooking Light

TO DO

WEDNESDAY: Champagne tasting at Le Gaulois restaurant. Sponsored by the Curious Grape. $45 includes tax and tip. 1106 King St., Alexandria. Call 703-739-9494.

SATURDAY: Turkish bazaar sponsored by the Washington Turkish Women's Association for the Welfare of Turkish Children. $1 admission. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Dr., Bethesda. Call 301-530-3654.

SATURDAY: South African bazaar at Grace Lutheran Church. Free admission. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 4300 16th St. NW. Call 301-593-5982.

SATURDAY: Low-fat cooking class with chef Jeff Tunks at DC Coast. $65. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1401 K St. NW. Call 202-393-1510.

SUNDAY: Czechoslovak Christmas bazaar at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church. Free admission. 1-5 p.m. 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. Call 703-281-2570.

RESERVE NOW

NOV. 17: Jewish holiday cooking class with cookbook author Joan Nathan at Sur La Table. $75. 6:30 p.m. 1101 South Joyce St., Arlington. Call 703-414-3580.

NOV. 17: Discussion and book signing with "Food Network: The Best of the Best Of" author Marc Silverstein at Barnes & Noble. Free. 7:30 p.m. 12089 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Call 301-881-0237.

PLEASE NOTE: Space limitations sometimes prevent Food from publishing all submissions. For possible inclusion, send notices to: To Do, Food, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C., 20071 or food@washpost.com. Submissions must be received at least 14 days prior to publication date.