Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Perfect French Onion Soup to eat with Hemingway's Movable Feast

I started off 2022 with one of the Hemingway novel's I bought after visiting his former home in Key West last year.  A Moveable Feast is a behind the curtains peak into the world of the 1920's in Paris, the cafe's and restaurants and haunts of Ernest Hemingway and his writer pals Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound etc. Hemingway started writing the book in Cuba and finished it in Spain, but it was published after his death.  The best parts for me were hearing about what he ate and drank in these bistros and cafes.

Finished French Onion Soup




Inspired to make a quintessential French bistro dish I landed on a classic - French onion soup.  I had no shortage of inspiration on the internet recipe troves or my cookbooks, but decided to sign up for an authentic Airbnb online cooking experience live from France. 

Emma lives in Nice, France and also runs a bed and breakfast there.  She teaches a wonderful French Onion Soup Class which you can find on Airbnb. No one else ended up joining so I had my own private class with her which was awesome to be able to ask a lot of questions and get great advice.





Nice France


Emma's Recipe is listed here if you want to follow it precisely, but in a nutshell, here is what I did:

Ingredients: 

  • 3 lb bag of yellow onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Loaf of french bread (thanks publix)
  • 1/2 stick of butter (come to think of it...maybe I used a half of cup...that's more like a stick...well who's counting?)
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 tbls of balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic would be best but all i had was white)
  • (I added 2 sugar cubes and a dash of Worchester - sorry Emma I went off script) 
  • 8 oz of Gruyere cheese, grated
  • A bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 3/4 cup (hah maybe more) of white wine




Basic Instructions - for those that need more, again go to Emma's Recipe

  • Peel and chop onions into small chunks
  • Heat butter over high heat and add onions and cook stirring occasionally until golden
  • Chop garlic and add to onions when golden
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine and stir
  • Add the flour and cook a couple of minutes more
  • Add the balsamic and stir
  • Add the broth/buillon and let simmer 
  • Add the thyme
  • Maybe let the soup simmer 15 minutes
  • While the soup is simmering, slice and toast some french bread and rub it with raw garlic (rub it hard into the bread)
  • Pour the soup into oven safe bowls
  • Top the soup with a couple of bread toasts and big handful of cheese (Don't skimp on the cheese)
  • Put the soup into the oven on broil for about 3 minutes just to melt the cheese - don't brown the cheese or the oil will separate from it and lose the flavor (thanks for the pro tip Emma)
Enjoy!


Soup pictured before the big handful of cheese put on top of the bread









Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Seeking Roast Chicken Perfection

I’m on  quest to make the perfect roast chicken. I keep trying new methods and new recipes. Today I decided to try roasting at a high heat of 500 degrees (F) inspired by Chef Michael Symon with a little Ina (Garten) of course.



Here’s what you need:

- A whole chicken
- Lemon
- Head of Garlic
- Thyme (optional)
- Salt
- Butter
- Carrots (optional)
- Kitchen Twine (optional)


Here’s what you do:

- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (yep)
- Put a big cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat too. I didn’t have one but I bought mine at Home Depot online. I think it was a 13.25 inch one. They sell tons of kitchen stuff online at Home Depot.
- While the oven and pan are preheating, prepare the chicken. How do you do that?
- Here’s what you do:

-Pat the chicken dry with paper towels so the skin gets crunchy
- Pull out the bag of stuff in the cavity and throw it out or find a use for it
- Cut a head of garlic in half
- Cut a lemon in quarters
- Shove the lemon, garlic and thyme in the cavity
- Tie the chicken legs together with twine
- I also sliced some lemon slices and put them under the breast skin with some thyme
-  Melt some butter (maybe 2 tablespoons)
- Put the chicken in the hot skillet
- Paint the butter on the whole chicken
- Salt liberally
- Roast for ~45 mins (mine was a 3.5 lb chicken)





-While the chicken is roasting, peels some carrots
- When the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the pan and let it cool for about 20 mins on a cutting board
- Put the skillet with all the left over drippings on your stove on high and add the carrots and stir. Throw in the lemons and garlic from the cavity. Add salt. Cook and add water at times to keep the pan sizzling.
- Throw out the Lemons and Garlic



When the chicken is able to be handled, slice into 8 pieces. All kinds of you tubes on how to do it right. 


Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Quarantine Cinco De Mayo Tortilla Chip Crusted Shrimp


Cinco de Mayo to me, means celebrating with Chips, Queso and Margaritas at my local Mexican Restaurant patio.


Staying at home, I couldn’t help but throw together a Mexican inspired dish with what I had on hand. Tortilla chip crusted shrimp with Guacamole and chips!





I
knew I wanted Tortilla chips, so I started there. I had a fresh bag of lime flavored (thanks Instacart substitutions) in the pantry. I also had a half started bag of tortilla chips that was a little stale 🤷🏻. If Im going to eat chips, Im not eating stale chips.....but quarantine times call for quarantine measures. What could I do with the opened bag? Cant throw those babies out!  Aha, I will grind them up in my magic bullet blender. Poof - I have tortilla chip crumbs. What else do I have?  Shrimp I need to use in the fridge! I will dip those in the chip crumbs. 🧐

And then it began!

Ingredients:

- Raw Shrimp (peel them and take tails off). Maybe a pound?
- Avocados (I used two small hass)
- Red Onion (I used about 1/4 giant red onion). Chop it.
- Lemon (or lime - I like lemon). Squeeze the juice.
- Salt, Garlic Powder and Cumin
- Fresh Chips and stale chips (ha or you could use all fresh!)
- Sour cream (optional)

And then:

- Crush up some chips in a blender/chopper until looks like sand
- Coat shrimp in the chip crumbs (they will be a little damp from rinsing them before you coat them so the chip crumbs stick)
- Melt some butter and olive oil (butter alone will burn) in a sauté pan on medium high
- Sauté shrimp a minute or two on each side. I did two batches to not crowd the pan.
- Salt the shrimp with sea salt

Make the guacamole:

- Mix together the juice of a lemon, the avocados, salt, onion, garlic powder and cumin. Mash with a fork til creamy.

Serve the shrimp with the guacamole, chips and sour cream.

You are done! De nada!