"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: french onion soup

under the weather . . .

vegetable stock . . .

vegetable stock . . .

The weather has been unseasonably warm (87 degrees over the weekend) and is now rapidly cooling off. They say that rapid shifts in temperature are liable to make people vulnerable to colds.

I’m fighting one off the last two days and can’t remember the last time I had one. Lots of sneezing, sore throat and congestion. The plumber who installed the faucet and Insinkerator the other night was wheezing and coughing, saying he had just come from the clinic with a Z-pack prescription. Hmmmmm. Turns out the dishwasher he installed earlier in the week wasn’t getting water during the wash cycle.This became evident after I emptied dishes caked with drying fluid and still greasy. It finally dawned on me that nothing had been washed even though we had set the one hour cycle the night before.

One of G.’s workmen, J., came yesterday to troubleshoot the dishwasher and after testing the water valve in the house and the machine, discovered there was a kink in the hose looped around the back of the dishwasher that was obstructing water from coming in. I was relieved it wasn’t an electronic board fault that would have required a service call on a brand new machine–and thankfully it wasn’t. Anyway, that was a puzzling glitch yesterday. And hopefully the last.

My daughter, M. who is studying nursing skyped this morning and suggested I use my spirometer–a breath strength measurer they gave me after surgery to boost lung strength and to keep congestion at bay. I also followed her suggestion to humidify the area and took out ingredients to make a vegetable stock that would simmer on the stove all day: leeks, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and parsley. It was satisfying to cut up all the vegetables and stir them in olive oil, then after browning, adding a gallon or so of spring water. It’s on the back burner of the stove right now, quietly cooking goodness that will supply us with stock to make fresh vegetable soup tomorrow and to freeze. I’ve found that the rich, hearty taste of this homemade vegetable stock is more appetizing than either the beef or chicken/pork bone broths that I made a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it was the proportion of ingredients to water but there wasn’t as much flavor as the vegetable stock.

french onion soup . . .

french onion soup . . .

Because J. is coming again today to work on some carpentry, I also decided to make a separate batch of French onion soup, using some bone broth I had in the freezer and two large onions which I browned in unsalted butter until softened and golden brown. This soup is one of our favorites and we’ll have it for lunch. I have a dry end of a French baguette that I’ll broil with gruyere cheese on top that will soften when we float them on top of the soup right before serving. Yum!

I’ve also been taking Airborne–cold-preventative tablets that fizz up in some cold water (I like to add an ice cube) that both G. and I have taken the last couple of years whenever we felt a cold coming on. It’s done us well as neither of us has had a serious cold since then. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to nip this one in the bud too.

humidifying . . .

humidifying . . .




french onion soup . . .

This morning after I got dressed, I thought I’d make some soup for lunch. Since the cupboard is rather bare, I picked up three Vidalia onions from the pantry, peeled them, sliced lengthwise and then into thin strips. Half a stick of unsalted butter went into a skillet and then the onions simmered until golden brown. I don’t know what it is but the fragrance of onions cooking on the stove makes the kitchen wake up even when it’s a couple of hours before lunch.

I transferred the golden onions into a new stainless pot with a glass lid that our family friend, B., had dropped by the other night after he heard about my mishap. The compact wheelchair I’ve been using, the two walkers and the chair that the guys have been transporting me up and down the stairs came from him years ago, lying fallow here until the accident brought them to the fore. They have been a godsend and are much appreciated.

loon and babies bpHe told us about seeing a pair of loons camping out by the local pond near one of the campuses in the town we live in. Apparently, they are not that commonly found (even though I have learned since then that they are the official bird of the state of Minnesota where my daughter M. lives.) In any case, as a thank-you, I ordered a book on called “Fascinating Loons” that contains a myriad of photographs and descriptions of loon-y life! Look forward to giving it to him when he comes by for supper some time soon.

So back to the soup: after browning and softening the onions, I transferred them from the skillet to the small stockpot and added two cans of beef broth, then put the soup on a low simmer. Before serving, I plan to toast up some Thomas’s English muffins, sprinkled with some grated gruyere cheese under the broiler to add on top of the soup when we sit down to eat. G. bought some steamship ham from the grocery store last night and we might have some small sandwiches to go along with the soup.

OUR soup for lunch. . .

OUR soup for lunch. . .

Everything seems to slow down when I’m slowed down so that accounts for the detailed description of the soup, its background and our plans for it. Actually, the aroma of the soup has settled our morning down to a satisfying pace. J., one of the workmen who comes a few days a week, is due late morning and will probably have some lunch with us.

This afternoon, I’m assembling the four ripe bananas from the fridge and letting them come to room temperature; then after some business that we have on the phone, will try out a banana cake recipe that promises to be very moist, kept in the fridge and graced with a cream cheese frosting. A good accompaniment to have on hand for our weekend suppers.

Postscript: here’s the recipe for this soup which is delicious when the cupboard is almost bare:

1.  Slice three Vidalia (sweet onion) onions after peeling and slicing in half lengthwise, into narrow strips.

2.  Melt 1/2 stick unsalted butter in skillet; brown the onions over medium heat until they are soft and golden, turning occasionally (half an hour.)

3.  Transfer onions into a pot and add two cans of College Inn Beef Broth (not bouillion cubes because they are too salty and sharp tasting rather than mellow and sweet.) Simmer for 45 minutes and turn heat off until ready to serve.

4.  Broil two thin halves of Thomas’s sandwich size english muffins with grated gruyere or swiss cheese under the broiler until golden brown; cut into fourths. Ladle out the hot soup and add pieces of cheesy muffins on top. Enjoy!