Back in the 70's when I lived in Missouri while attending the Kansas City Art Institute, followed by two years in New Jersey where my husband took a job just outside of NYC, and finally the past 26 years in St. Paul, Minnesota, I have been visited almost every year by Renate -- a childhood friend from my hometown of Amana, Iowa. I look forward to these reunions. Not only do I get to see Renate and hear about what she's been doing lately, but also because I take a break from the every day -- which means I get out of my kitchen. During a visit in April, Renate and I spent a morning at an antiques flea market and an afternoon at a craft fair. We also spent a lot of our time dining out at different restaurants in different parts of the Twin Cities. In fact, we stopped at a local "French Bistro" three times -- one time eating dinner at the bar, another time lunch in the dining room, and the third for appetizers and drinks on the patio. On one visit we both had a bowl of French Onion Soup, which led me to ask... Why don't I make this more often? When Renate returned home and I was again spending the days in my kitchen, the first thing I made was a big pot of French Onion Soup. And for the recipe, I turned to Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, of course.
Another Paris Moment, I'd have to say...
Recipe from Julia Child | Mastering The Art of French Cooking
"The onions for an onion soup need a long slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2 1/2 hours at least from start to finish." J.C.
FOR 6 to 8 SERVINGS
• 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced yellow onions
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon oil
• A heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan
Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes.
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar (it helps the onions to brown)
Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.
• 3 tablespoons flour
Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.
• 2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock of bouillon.
• 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
• Salt and pepper to taste
Off the heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct the seasoning.
Set aside onion soup, uncovered, until ready to serve. Then reheat to the simmer.
• 3 tablespoons cognac
• Rounds of hard-toasted French bread, spread on one side with grated cheese and sprinkled with drops of olive oil. Browned under a hot broiler before serving.
• 1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into soup cups over the round of bread, and pass the grated cheese.
TAKE a LOOK:
I was hungry for a soup I used to make often, many years ago. When I pulled the recipe I realized -- it was all butter! I reworked the recipe's ingredients and feel that now, it is a much healthier version.
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons minced onion
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 large bay leaf
• 4 cups chicken broth, preferably organic
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2 (7 3/4 ounce) cans wild, red salmon, undrained (bones removed)
• 1 1/2 cups light cream *
• Homemade croutons, sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with kosher
1. Combine the butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is transparent.
2. Blend in the flour; cook until bubbly, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaf. Gradually stir in the chicken broth; stirring constantly, cook until thick and smooth.
3. Stir the wine into the sauce. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Discard the bay leaf.
4. Stir in the tomato paste. In a bowl, mash together the salmon and salmon liquid and stir into the sauce.
5. Purée the mixture in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the saucepan and add the light cream. Heat thoroughly over low heat (do not allow to boil).
6. Serve immediately garnished with croutons.
* You may substitute whole milk for the light cream to make an even healthier version of the bisque.
TAKE a LOOK:
I miss summer and all of the fresh, local produce that's available that time of year. I miss grilling burgers and fish outdoors, I miss tomatoes and berries, and their incomparable fresh-from-the-vine flavor. But one thing I now welcome with open arms is making an entire meal in one pot. This soup of hash brown potatoes, chopped cabbage, and slices of smoked sausage is a big favorite of mine. Serve it with a really good, crusty bread spread with salted butter...yum.
• 1 medium onion
• 1 rib celery
• 1/4 head cabbage
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 pound frozen hash brown potatoes
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 large smoked sausage link, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
• freshly chopped chives, optional
1. Chop the onion and the celery. Shred enough cabbage to make one cup.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion looks transparent, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the cabbage and potatoes, then add the chicken broth and the water. Cook over high heat until the mixture boils then simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Mix together sour cream and flour; add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir the sour cream mixture and the sausage into the soup; heat.
5. Serve the soup with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a sprinkling of chives, if desired.
TAKE a LOOK:
Paris, and all that I experienced in that amazing city, is still heavy on my mind. It is able to inspire me like nothing else... and, with Paris as my focus, I just hosted a dinner for six which included our friends next door. I was joined on this last trip to Paris by my neighbor Debbie, and this dinner resulted in a French collaboration between the two of us.
Never one to return from Paris empty-handed, I did some shopping while in France; how could I not? I brought back the Francoise Paviot paper napkins in the photo below, knowing they would be perfect for a dinner such as this. I also had an apron on my shopping list, but when I saw a "Blouse Laborant" (a stylish lab coat hanging next to the doctors' scrubs, of course) at MONOPRIX, a French store that I refer to as France's TARGET, I thought -- This is it! (Sorry, no photos of me in the lab coat...). But the best things I always bring back from a trip to Paris and France are the experiences I had, and the photos (this time numbering 1000). The best memories from this trip -- the food!
I hope you enjoy the party...
• Piscine Bocca
• French Cheese Platter
• Roquefort Soufflé
• Risotto with Sea Bass and Orange Oil
• Hazelnut and Mandarin Salad
• Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Parsley Oil, Almonds, and Carrot-Ginger Sorbet
• Almond Cream Apple Tart
Of the six courses that were served at my dinner, only two of them were not directly influenced by meals I had eaten in Paris -- the Hazelnut and Mandarin Salad and the Almond Cream Apple Tart. With music by Jazz de Paris playing in the background (CD purchased while they were performing at the Sunday morning Rue Moufftard street market), we began the evening with a French Cheese Platter, consisting of a Comté and a triple crème that Debbie purchased at Fromagerie Barthélémy, 51 rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank. We served the cheese with Piscine Bocca, a Prosecco and strawberry drink we had (several times) at La Bocca Della Verita on rue du Sabot. (I made ours with Monin Strawberry Sirop added to the Prosecco, altho' the drinks in Paris were likely made with sweetened, puréed strawberries). Debbie took a cooking class with Olivier Berte in his home kitchen (which Debbie would highly recommend to anyone wanting to take a cooking class while in Paris), and for our dinner's second course, made the Roquefort Soufflé that they made together there. It was perfect -- a light, moist and creamy interior with a nicely browned top. < Debbie with her beautiful Roquefort Soufflé. (photo taken on my husband's phone) Following the soufflé, I prepared a risotto similar to the one I had eaten at l'Epi Dupin. I did not photograph the risotto with orange oil and red snapper my last night in Paris (didn't have my camera), nor did I photograph the risotto with orange oil and sea bass that I made for my French dinner (imperfect conditions: too dark and too busy). The sea bass was fresher and considered the best buy of the day at Coastal Seafood, so it became a substitute for the snapper. The risotto at l'Epi Dupin was the creamiest I have ever eaten, and I actually used heavy cream in the preparation of mine. The risotto was followed by a green salad with hazelnuts and mandarins from the Zuni Café Cookbook; refreshing after the rich risotto dish.
The Pièce de Résistance for me was the Chilled Cauliflower Soup with Parsley Oil, Almonds, and Carrot-Ginger Sorbet. I had this as my first course at l'Epi Dupin. Perfect, first of all, for the warm September, 80+ degree day -- it was a chilled soup! But it was the combination of tastes and textures that made this so appealing and so GOOD! You can't even imagine... There are several steps involved in creating all the parts to this soup, but you can start several days ahead, as I did, so when you finally are ready to serve it, it goes together in a flash. I made the soup (without the addition of the cream and the egg yolks) a week prior to the dinner and froze it. Three days before my dinner, I transferred it from freezer to refrigerator. The morning of the dinner I heated the soup, added the cream and egg yolks as the recipe called for, then chilled the soup until it was served that night. The parsley oil was made 3 weeks in advance and kept in a jar and refrigerated (Just be sure to pull it from the refrigerator at least an hour ahead of when you'll need it so the oil can come to room temperature). The Carrot-Ginger Sorbet was made 4 days before the dinner and stored in a container in my freezer. Toast some slivered almonds in a pan on top of your stove the day before you plan to serve the soup. Keep them in a small, air-tight container.
PARSLEY OIL | adapted from a recipe by Patrick Ponsaty
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the parsley and lightly fry for about a minute, infusing the oil with the parsley. Let rest until cooled somewhat and purée in a blender. Strain the parsley oil into a glass jar. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Bring back to room temperature before using.
CREAM of CAULIFLOWER SOUP | adapted from The Fundamental of Classic Cuisine by
The French Culinary Institute with Judith Choate
• 2 heads cauliflower
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 leeks, white part only, finely sliced and well-washed (about 5 ounces)
• 3 ounces unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 2 quarts plus 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon heavy cream
• 2 large egg yolks
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Wash, core, and chop the cauliflower. Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. When hot, add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for several minutes, or until the leek has sweated its liquid but has not taken on color.
3. While stirring, sift the flour into the leek-butter mixture, and fully incorporate. Remove from the heat and set aside about 10 minutes, or until cooled slightly.
4. Place the stock in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam or particles with a metal spoon. Remove from the heat and, whisking constantly, add the hot liquid to the leek mixture.
5. When well blended, return the stockpot to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Immediately add the reserved cauliflower and return to a bare simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spatula to ensure that the bottom does not stick or burn, for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. If at any point the cauliflower sticks or scalds, remove the cauliflower from the heat, transfer the soup to a clean pot without scraping the burned portion into the new pot, and return it to the stove. Do not allow the soup to continue cooking once it sticks or burns.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and either pass the soup through a food mill or purée it in a blender. Once processed, pass through a chinois into a clean saucepan. (I do not own a chinois, but used a very fine strainer instead and slowly pressed through all of the puréed soup into a bowl. It is a slow process, but the results are a silky-smooth liquid). This is the point I poured the soup into a container and froze it for several days. Once defrosted, I proceeded with the last steps.
7. Place a saucepan with the cauliflower soup over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
8. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and the 2 egg yolks. Whisk in some of the hot soup to temper the mixture before whisking it into the simmering soup. Taste, and if necessary, season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
CARROT-GINGER SORBET | recipe from Peggy Lampman • AnnArbor.com
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest, plus fresh squeezed orange juice to equal 1/2 cup
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3 cups carrot juice (available at Whole Foods)
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1. Mash orange zest with 1 teaspoon of the sugar to release the orange oils.
2. Combine orange and carrot juices. Stir in ginger, orange zest and remaining sugar and let stand until sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Stir well and refrigerate until well-chilled, about 2 to 4 hours.
3. Pour into an ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer's directions.
4. Store in a container in the freezer.
• Ladle the chilled Cauliflower Soup into bowls. Drizzle with Parsley Oil, sprinkle with some Toasted Almonds, then add a scoop of the Carrot-Ginger Sorbet. Now, watch everyone's eyes light up when they taste this incredible soup!
DESSERT -- Almond Cream Apple Tart
• la fin •
TAKE a LOOK:
Quick... make this chowder while there is still fresh, local, summer corn! Loved this soup and have made it twice in less than a week. What makes it so good? -- sour cream combined with lime juice that is spooned onto the individual servings of the corn chowder. That tart creaminess is the perfect counterpart to the sweet corn kernels.
:: recipe from Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook | by Leslie Mackie
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
• 8 to 10 cups of water
• Kosher salt
• 4 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut in half crosswise
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 4 medium red new potatoes, washed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Pour the olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot and add the onion. Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat to sweat the onion, stirring occasionally. The onions will become translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, or until garlic smells sweet but is not brown.
2. Add 8 cups of the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Carefully drop in the ears of corn and cook until the kernels are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove corn and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Remove kernels from the cobs with a knife, then place the cobs and half of the kernels back into the soup pot. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, then remove the cobs and discard. Add the heavy cream, potatoes, and thyme, and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, adding more water as needed, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the remaining kernels of corn just before serving.
4. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, sour cream, and lime juice. Mix well and drizzle over bowls of the corn chowder.
TAKE a LOOK:
n my last visit to the library, I brought home the book, HARVEST to HEAT, Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans
, by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer
. I could not put this book down. The recipes by celebrated chefs and the interesting commentary on their favorite produce or pork, beef, and poultry suppliers were reason enough to check this book out; but in addition, you'll see incredibly beautiful staging and photography... something I find irresistible. This recipe for Smoky Pork and Apple Soup with Mustard
is the first recipe I tried from the book, and it did not disappoint. I highly recommend it on a cold, snowy night!
And, it was pretty good with some leftover brioche
Smoky Pork and Apple Soup with Mustard
April Bloomfield | The Spotted Pig, New York City
Rob Thompson | Thanksgiving Farm, Harris, New York (pork)
Serves 4 (generously)
FOR THE STOCK
• 1 1/2 pounds ham hocks (about 2)
• 2 1/4 cups apple cider
• 1 Red onion, cut in half
FOR THE SOUP
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 7 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 3 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 1/2 pounds medium potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 medium head garlic, peeled around the outside but kept whole
• 3 apples, preferably Granny Smith, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 2 tablespoons mustard, preferably Dijon
• Coarse salt
1. Make the stock: In a large stockpot, combine the ham hocks, 3 quarts water, the apple cider, and red onion halves; simmer over medium heat for about 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. When cool enough to handle, remove the ham hocks and pull the meat off the bones and set aside; discard the bones. Reserve the cooking liquid (you should have about 2 quarts).
2. Make the soup: Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat; add the carrots, parsnips, and onions, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, garlic, apples, ham and reserved liquid (if you don't have 2 quarts, then add enough water to equal 2 quarts) and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.
TAKE a LOOK:
I am slowly getting back to my routine of spending time in the kitchen. I've been overwhelmed by all of the belongings and memories I brought back to St. Paul from my father's home in Amana; much more than I actually have space for, but in my father's home, as in mine, every piece seems to have a story. It would be too hard to part with a piece of walnut furniture that was made by an uncle, a grandfather, or even brought here from Germany when my ancestors came to the U.S. in the mid-1800's. So... I will keep everything, and find a place for it all. And slowly, I will feel as tho' I can spend more time cooking and baking for family and friends.
And now, with all of this snow and the bone-chilling temperatures, a comforting soup is all I want. I received this recipe from The Splendid Table's Weeknight Kitchen
, and it is everything Lynne Rossetto Kasper said it was... "Dead easy and perhaps one of the best warming suppers of the season"
. The only thing I would alter is the amount. The recipe says it serves 6; if you plan on serving 6, I would triple the ingredients, which isn't a big deal. As Lynne said, it's "dead easy".
Onion Soup With Apple Cider And Thyme
reprinted by Weeknight Kitchen with permission from Radically Simple:
Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease by Rozanne Gold
This recipe served 3
• 1 1/2 pounds large onions
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
• 1 1/4 cups fresh apple cider
• 5 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more leave for garnish
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Cut the onions in half through the stem end. Cut lengthwise into thin slices.
2. Melt the butter in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened and very dark brown, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, cider and thyme sprigs; scrape the bottom of the pot and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until the onions are very soft, 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
3. Leave as is, or puree in a food processor until smooth. (I left as is). Sprinkle with the Parmesan and thyme leaves.
TAKE a LOOK:
• Lentil & Pasta Soup •
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
• 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
• 4 cups chicken broth, o I added about 6 cups)
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 3/4 cup lentils
• 1 can (14 1/2-ounces) chopped tomatoes
• 1/2 cup orzo (yes, Orzo. Not arborio rice as I printed on TasteSpotting)
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
• 1/4 teaspoons salt
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add chicken broth, water, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add crushed tomatoes and orzo. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils and pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the lentils and pasta are tender, add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
After I made this Roasted Red Pepper Soup I started thinking how wonderful it would be as the first course to a spring dinner, part of a luncheon outdoors on the patio, or because of its extremely easy preparation, a simple meal after an exhausting day working to ready the vegetable garden for planting.
Adding the cream to this soup, seasoned and whipped, gives it a frothy texture that slowly melts into the puréed tomatoes and roasted peppers. I added croutons made from the baguettes
I bake weekly. As stingy as I can be with my very good olive oils, I think it's worth it to sauté the bread cubes (in a hot pan) with the best oil you've got. When browned, sprinkle with a good dose of kosher salt... very tasty.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
a recipe by Marilyn Harris
• 3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
• 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes (I used Italian San Marzano Plum Tomatoes)
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
• chopped parsley
• Croutons sautéed in olive oil and salted, optional
1. Purée the peppers and tomatoes in a blender.
2. Gently heat the garlic in the olive oil, taking care not to let it brown.
3. Stir in the purée and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Whip the cream with the salt and hot pepper sauce.
5. Top each serving of hot soup with the whipped cream and sprinkle with parsley. Add several croutons, if desired.
Do you see it? The little black iron table? Do you notice the shadows on the plate; the result of the bright mid-day sun? Yes... I took this photo outside! It is still March and we're having, carry-all-of-the-food-outdoors-and-start- photographing, kind of weather in Minnesota! Soon we will be enjoying leisurely meals on the patio again. Oh Wait! We won't have a kitchen to make those leisurely meals in... minor detail. I still haven't figured out my cooking arrangements while my kitchen is demolished, but we will be eating... somehow. What I need to do is freeze foods ahead like this Carrot and Jalapeno Soup.
My sister is always clipping recipes she thinks I might like and she was spot on with this one. Susan found the recipe in the February 2010 issue of Ohio Magazine. It's the creation of Marilyn Harris, an author, columnist, teacher and host of "Cooking with Marilyn" on radio station 55KRC in Cincinnati. After eating this soup, and another I will share with you soon, I think I need to search for other recipes by Harris.
My daughter's spring break begins tomorrow and we're heading out-of-town for a few days. I'll be back next week and have heard the temperatures could be close to 70˚ by that time. There may be some dinners on the patio!
recipe by Marilyn Harris
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
• 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2-3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/3 teaspoon dried
• 1 bay leaf
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
To Make the Soup:
1. Melt the butter in a heavy pot.
2. Stir in the onion, carrots and jalapenos and sauté, stirring over medium heat
for 10 minutes.
3. Add thyme, bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, until carrots are very tender,
about 25-30 minutes.
5. Purée in a blender or food processor, working in two batches if necessary,
and return to a clean pot.
6. Whisk in the cream and salt to taste.
7. Reheat without boiling.
8. Serve hot, topped with the chopped cilantro.