I’m sitting in a dark room sandwiched between two old women in wheelchairs. The one on my right is my mom. We are watching An American in Paris. I don’t think I’ve seen it before. Over the last month, my mother’s health and well-being have preoccupied my life. Continue reading
Two dauntless dames from Vassar’s Class of ‘54 plan to meet for lunch in Santa Monica. This should be easy, except Alumna Number One lives several miles down the coast and rarely drives her grey Camry into the metropolis of which Santa Monica is a part.
She looks up the address on Google and memorizes the location.…well, sort of. She doesn’t remember how to find the GPS button on her phone. When she exits the freeway, she turns in the direction she thought the map had indicated, looking for 27th and Pearl. She can find 26th and 28th streets, but no 27th and no Pearl. Continue reading
The Glassblower, by Petra Durst-Benning, is a little slow to get into, but the story of the Steinmann sisters and their struggles in glassblowing soon drew me in. With the death of their father, Johanna, Ruth, and Marie have lost their last parent and their income. Life becomes frighteningly uncertain, and the young women face near-starvation. Continue reading
The catalog from the Vermont Country Store arrived in the mail today. Immediately, I’m plunged into Continue reading
This soup is prepared in approximately 20 minutes and matches the taste of the original classic very well. You don’t need the ovenproof bowls as the broiling step is eliminated!
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large, onions skinned, halved and sliced as thin as possible
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 3 or 4 fresh sprigs
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups hot beef commercial stock
½ cup Gruyere cheese, grated (also known as Swiss)
4 to 6 slices of French-style bread, toasted
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parsley chopped fine
1. In a large saucepan, caramelize (sauté until golden brown) the onions in the butter and oil over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. Add the thyme at the end of this process.
2. When the onions are caramelized and the bottom of the pan is all sticky, add flour, stirring it in well, and cook about one minute. Add wine to deglaze, then hot beef broth, and bring the soup to a simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place toasted French-style bread in soup bowls, followed by a few tablespoons of grated cheese, then a ladle of simmering soup. Garnish with parsley.
Butter in this soup adds flavor but you don’t need much due to the cheese.
Also olive oil or any oil combined with butter stops the butter from burning.
I like to use white onions as they are higher in sugar content and caramelize better. You may add a teaspoon of sugar to the onions to hasten the caramelizing process.
Use the best possible Swiss / Gruyere cheese as this is a large part of the recipe’s taste.
Use very little salt if you use commercial stock.
In this recipe you have learned to caramelize and deglaze, or lift sticky bits from the bottom of the soup pot, to greatly enhance the flavor of your soup.
This is a recipe from my cookbook “Gourmet the Simple Way”
Find it on Amazon
A few years ago, there suddenly appeared, as if from Heaven, a new rule for writers, no doubt engraved somewhere in marble or ivory: THOU SHALT NOT USE ADVERBS. (For those who are unclear as to what an adverb is, the rule has a variant: GET RID OF ALL LY WORDS. ) The source of this rule is unknown to me at this time, but one authority blames it on Continue reading
I put my groceries in my car trunk, (all except the bag of low sodium popcorn) and settled myself into the front seat of my car. Time to drive home, but I didn’t feel like it. Home meant cleaning chores, laundry, and some vigorous digging in the garden. I’d rather stay here. It didn’t hurt that my supermarket parking lot has one of the best views in town. It overlooks the ocean, which today was a steely gray with dramatic black clouds filling the sky above. Continue reading