Thursday, May 9, 2013
“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
― Kahlil Gibran
Friday, May 3, 2013
My response to unexpected cold weather is predictable. I make soup. I'd already been planning to make french onion soup last night, the snow just made it all the more appropriate.
I love french onion soup, it's my go-to choice in many restaurants. I'd never made it before and decided this would be a good time, since soon it will be too warm for the long cooking process and, besides, I had some great beef stock in the freezer.
I used the recipe in Julia Child's classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's clear, simple and really, really good. Because this is a story blog as well as a food blog, I will add that my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking came from my mother-in-law, who loved to cook and collected cookbooks as avidly as I do. I don't know if she used this volume, it's unstained, but I'm rapidly fixing that problem.
I sliced a pound-and-a-half of onions (about 5) in my food processor. Doing this by hand would have been horrendous, I'm sure I would have used every tissue in the house. I then cooked them over low heat in 3T butter and 1T olive oil, in a large, covered, heavy-bottomed pot. They were wilted after 15 minutes, then I added 1t salt and 1/4t sugar (this helps with caramelizing).
I removed the pot from the heat and poured in 2 quarts of simmering beef stock and added 1/2 cup dry white vermouth. I put it back on a low light, stirred as it came to a simmer, partially covered and let it cook for about 30 minutes. I stirred it from time to time, adding salt and quite a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
As the cheese melted I added 3T brandy (aka cognac) to the soup, stirred, and removed it from the heat.
It was really, really good. I have to add, I'm feeling really good about the fact that it was so homemade, since I'd made the broth last time I had beef bones. Next time I may make the bread as well.
The whole process took about 3 hours. I'd urge you to try it, some cold, snowy day.
(c)2013 Laura S. Packer