Autumn

Monday Kitchen Notes

Yesterday I cooked Julia Child’s French onion soup for dinner. I went to the grocery store early and picked up a warm baguette, a block of Gruyere, some good broth, and six fat sweet onions. I tucked the goods away when I got home and we enjoyed the most beautiful day together. We fed the ducks on the lake, and Piper learned to ride her bike without training wheels! Once late afternoon arrived, I found myself in the kitchen slicing onions and melting butter. The first step in French onion soup is caramelizing onions. This process is what gives the soup its heart and soul. After a while, the humble onions are transformed into a sweet, sticky, savory delicacy. You have to have patience.

Once caramelize, you make a roux and gradually add in a cup of broth, stirring all the while until the mixture thickens. Then in goes the rest of the broth, a bay leaf, some dried sage (I deviated here and used thyme because I had some fresh and love it), a cup of dry white wine, some salt and some pepper. The soup bubbles away slowly for about 30 minutes. Then, Julia calls for adding 3 tablespoons of cognac, some grated Gruyere, and topping it all off with toasted sliced baguette and the rest of the cheese before putting the entire pot in the oven to bake for another 30 or so minutes. I finished the soup on the stove instead, and opted to bake a bunch of individual cheese tartines to top our bowls with instead.

I was honestly surprised by its tastiness! It was a thick and velvety bowl of soup, nuanced in flavor and very comforting. I’ve just finished the little bit of leftovers for lunch now while writing this.

Tonight I think I’ll be making some red lentil and coconut dal. It’s something relatively simple and nourishing after a busy Monday. I’m working my way through the dried foods in our cabinet. I made a pretty decent pot of black beans the other day, and a not so good pot of chickpeas (which are pretty foolproof, so I think they might have been on the older side). I still have some green lentils and green split peas and other various legumes and grains left, but I have to pace them out, otherwise we all get a bit bloated. I should experiment with cooking some of them in the Instant Pot — so much easier. I haven’t used it for a while!

Have you cooked anything tasty recently?

W.

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