Can I safely say that I’m over the holiday food? I can’t remember a time when I craved just a plain old bowl of yogurt so much as I did on Saturday, after days of eating. And eating. And eating. What is it about the holidays that makes everyone feel the need to over indulge? Perhaps it’s the fresh start we will give ourselves at the beginning of a new year. Or the comfort in knowing there are resolutions to be made, and we give ourselves a free pass until we say those words out loud.
My 2008 was so food frenetic that I am not going to even begin to resign myself to being any less of a “foodie” in 2009. In fact, the only resolution to be made is that I need to simplify for sanity’s sake – and that includes in the kitchen. Where’s the challenge in that, you say? The challenge is always there when you run a restaurant, a graphic design firm based out of Seattle, and live on a somewhat remote island off the Coast of Maine. Fresh ingredients. Fresh ideas. Hell – electricity. All of these things and more come with the territory. And so the challenge will continue to be to find the freshest ingredients, new inspirations for food AND design, and most importantly…time. Time to cook, sail, hike, love, and create beautiful works of art for my clients, my food customers, and my friends and family.
To start you a day or two early with a little slice of simplicity, I’m sharing a recipe for French Onion Soup from my friend J.P., a.k.a Sake Boy. This soup is so ridiculously fast, easy and delish, you need not feel guilty for spending precious time to make it. And better yet, if you make it TODAY, not only will you have an even more divine soup come January 1 (always tastes better after an overnight in the fridge), it will save you time cooking for a boat-load of New Year’s revelers that are sure to arrive still hungry and still on sabbatical from any resolutions they will have to make soon.
J.P’s Post for French Onion Soup Made Simple
I confess that I love a good French Onion soup. It is the perfect touch on a cold day and when garnished with cheese and croutons, absolutely wonderful. The great thing about this soup is that you can vary the flavor by using different types of onions. You can also put this together quickly to impress your friends and family. It’s a great side starter at a dinner party.
Ok–let’s cook. Select your onions. I usually cook my soup with common yellow onions, though I have been known to mix and match and branch out for variety on occasion. Since we’re cooking to scale here you can figure your proportions needed based on your stockpot selection.
I section the onions by halving them vertically (N to S) and then cut the halves E to W. This gives you a good portion on the onion. Again, we’re going for lots of onion so you always have a spoonful.
Now, gourmet restaurant secret time. The base for the soup is going to be “off the shelf” beef broth from the local mart. Get the low salt version–there are a couple of brands. Fill your stock pot half way and start adding onions. Add lots of onions. It’s ok. They are good for you.
As an aside, some people saute the onions in butter before adding. You can if you want but I don’t. I prefer to simmer the onions in the broth for a couple of hours instead. The onions really absorb the broth flavor, making a more robust soup.
Now for the double secret ingredient. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and some dashes of pepper.
You’ll be able to tell when it is done by the wonderful rich smell of the onion broth. Serve hot, topped with a slice of Gruyere cheese (or Swiss or good sliced Parmesan) and croutons of your liking. Serve and enjoy.
Gal Foodie’s Variations on a Theme
Want to turn up the heat on this dish? Fill an oven safe bowl about 3/4 full of soup. Grab a big hunk of your favorite crusty bread, throw it in the soup, lay a slice of Swiss or Gruyere on top, and, on a stable cookie sheet, pop the whole thing in the oven under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes. The cheese will brown and bubble and the bread will sop up all the yummy broth. And you will end your meal horizontal on the couch – happy and full.
Eat Well in 2009!