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French Onion Soup From A Master Chef
Jan 30th, 2014 by

In France they just call this onion soup.

In France they just call this onion soup.

One of my favorite cookbooks is one I picked up in Paris more than 20 years ago. I got it in a small bookshop across from the Luxembourg Gardens: one of my favorite spots for coffee and a walk.

It’s written by French chef Paul Bocuse and it’s called “French Home Cooking.” It has the best French Onion Soup recipe: one that’s easy and pretty quick too.

Don’t worry about making your own beef stock just buy your favorite store brand. Although you don’t need individual soup crocks it’s fun to have them and you can probably pick up some cheap at a dollar store, the Christmas Tree Shop, Target, Sears or online at Amazon and eBay.

Stir the onions from time to time as they cook.

Stir the onions from time to time as they cook.

Ingredients:

  • Butter (2 ounces)
  • Onions (About two medium, peeled and sliced into circles)
  • Flour (About one ounce)
  • Beef Stock (or bouillon or even water. I’ve never used water but Mr. Bocuse says it works) (About 2 1/2 pints)
  • French Bread (Two slices per serving, toasted)
  • Gruyere Cheese (About 3 1/2 ounces grated)
  • Pepper (To taste)
  • Breadcrumbs (About an ounce)
  • Port (optional) (About 1/4 cup)

Preparation:

Melt half of the butter in a large saucepan.

Add onions, breaking them into rings. Cook until lightly brown or just starting to turn lightly brown.

Stir in the flour, scraping the bottom of the pan so the flour doesn’t stick.

When flour starts to turn brown add the beef stock and stir constantly. Cook over moderate heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in (optional) port about half-way through.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a soup tureen or in separate french onion soup crocks create two or three layers of the following: bread, cheese, pepper and sliver of butter.

Add soup.

Then top it off with breadcrumbs and more cheese.

Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese and breadcrumbs have browned.

Serve immediately.

Find more recipes in the Recipe index.

Soup and Sandwich Night With Style (Instead of Take-Out)
Feb 15th, 2010 by

Presentation helps build an appetite.

Presentation helps build an appetite.

So maybe you forgot to go shopping or make a dinner plan. You’ve worked all day and now you have the dreaded task of figuring out what’s for dinner.

You hate to spend money on take-out again: a pizza, subs, chinese food, etc. But you’re pressed for time and what else can you do? Here’s an idea: stop by your local deli or supermarket on the way home and pick up the ingredients for a quick and easy “soup and sandwich” night, only this time take it to a higher level by buying the best ingredients available. They’ll think you’ve been planning this for weeks.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Soup (Pick up a couple of cans of your favorite)
  • Salami (1/2 pound of imported genoa salami or “Oldani” if it’s available. My favorite deli in Boston’s North End carries it and it’s better than the imported. Hard to believe, but true.)
  • Cheese (1/4 pound of a soft Pecorino cheese; or fontina)
  • Bread (The best Italian bread you can find. It should have a hard flaky crust and soft middle with lots of holes.)
  • Olives (Get a mixture of the large green, and small black)
  • Shrimp (1/2 pound of the frozen, cooked shrimp.)
  • Cocktail Sauce (1 bottle)
  • Pickles (Cut up some large dill pickles and put in a side dish)
  • Tomatoes (This time of year, the best tomatoes are usually the grape tomatoes. Slice them in half and put in a side dish)
  • Wine (A good red wine)

What I did:

Slice the Italian bread into thick sandwich slices.

Put bread, side dishes of tomatoes and pickles, the salami, and the cheese on a large platter.

Thaw the shrimp and place around the rim of martini glasses.

Put cocktail sauce in a side dish.

Put olives in an olive tray or bowl.

Heat up the soup and serve.

Find more dinner ideas in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this dinner idea, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Quick Appetizers in a Pinch
Aug 6th, 2009 by

When it's hot and you don't feel like cooking, try these poolside.

When it's hot and you don't feel like cooking, try these poolside.

This is so simple, you’ll probably say it’s ridiculous for me to even write about it. But this is a great solution when you’re rushed for time and you promised the host or hostess last week when they invited you over for a pool party that you’d bring an appetizer.

Three words: Supermarket Deli Bar

Head to the deli bar and start filling up those plastic boxes with what looks good. Here I chose grape leaves, stuffed olives and stuffed cherry peppers. I also saw an interesting rolled-up salami and cheese concoction and grabbed that too.

Next stop: The Cracker Aisle

There I picked up some water crackers and some basil crackers. On the water crackers I put slices of the salami, cheese rollup. And on the basil crackers, I made tiny Caprese salad hors d’oeuvres by placing a slice of fresh mozzarella, a slice of tomato and a slice of fresh basil.

Next: It’s All in the Presentation

Arrange on some nice trays or platters. Cover with saran wrap and have someone hold it carefully in their lap while you drive to your destination.

Everyone out of the pool for some fine snacking.

(Photo by Katie Hogan)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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