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Cheese

Soup

How To Carmelize Onions & French Onion Soup

May 3, 2012

I love being off school.

Having no responsibilities, due dates or assignments is really a huge relief. I also just found out last week I was accepted into the Teaching program – I begin in September, and will officially be a teacher in one year! I always loved ‘playing teacher’ when I was younger, and now my childhood dream is going to come true. I love being in school. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the stress of homework, but I always really enjoyed projects and extracurricular activities, and just being in the classroom. So, I’m going back to school, so I can work in a school, forever, pretty much. I love school, but I also love summer vacation. It’s funny, when you think about what you wanted to be when you ‘grew up,’ and then you realize that you have reached that goal, its surreal. Many young kids who wish to be astronauts may not have reached their dreams, and although a teacher is not quite an astronaut, I think it’s pretty awesome that the young role-playing teacher me, will now be the actual real-life teacher. I am both excited and nervous, but this is just another step in life. As I said, this year is going to be really awesome.  Adam and I became an aunt and uncle to a beautiful little niece, we bought a new house, I am graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree, my family is planning a grad party this summer, I’m in the midst of planning a once in a lifetime trip to Europe for July and August, where I will be meeting up with my Nonna in Italy to explore my family’s heritage and bathing in the Tuscan sun, and I will be starting the PDP program in the Fall to become an Elementary school teacher. Whew! Going to be a whirlwind year!

French Onion has always been one of my favourite soups. I remember whenever we went to a family dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory we would get the french onion soup to start. When my dad worked in the restaurant industry he would make delicious french onion, or, so my mom told me. When I was older he would make it at home for special occasions. Since I found out about my dairy allergy I can’t eat the cheese, and I probably shouldn’t eat the bread either due to my wheat allergy. But my mom really felt like this soup today, so I went over to her house and made it for her.

I didn’t eat the soup itself, but I did eat a large scoop of the caramelized onions before we added them to the broth. It was onion heaven. I could it them plain. And I did. They would also be delicious on burgers and hot dogs. Adam is not a fan of onions, but I would definitely make the soup at home again! He will just have to learn to love them.

It’s funny, as onion soup would have been something that the poor would make and eat back in the earliest centuries, as onions were abundent and easy to grow. Now, however, this modern version of the soup is seen as a classic dish, often found as a delicacy soup as a starter or main course.

French Onion soup is pretty easy to make, I based this recipe off of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe found here 

How to Caramelize onions:

The key to caramelizing onions is butter, and steady heat. You have to be patient, and not crank up the heat. You want them to cook slowly and evenly for a period of time to allow them to break down and caramelize in the butter.

Slice up your onions thinly, toss in 1 stick of butter and cook over medium heat.

After about 10 minutes, they will begin to soften and brown. You want them to become quite fragrant and browned. Keep keeping them at this point! If you think it’s too high heat, you can lower it slightly.

This is about 20 minutes, they are really browned with lots of ‘grit’ from the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, but not the highest setting.

At this point you can pour in the white wine. It will sizzle, and steam. Allow the wine to reduce for about 5 minutes.

Slightly reduced, keep stirring until almost all of the liquid evaporates. It can take up to 30 minutes for this large of a pan of onions to caramelize and reduce with the wine. It is worth the wait.

Once almost all of the wine is gone, your onions should be ready. They will smell heavenly. Feel free to taste-test before adding to the broth. You’ll want to scrape up the bits from the pan, they are flavourful and will add to the broth. Scrape onions into your broth, and let simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour on low.

Pour into soup bowls

Top with toast

Top with cheese, and broil.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 stick Butter
  • 4-5 whole Large Yellow Onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup (generous) Dry White Wine
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth – low sodium, bought or homemade
  • 4 cups Beef Broth, we had homemade in the freezer that we used.
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2+ Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Port Wine
  • bread
  • cheese of your choice, Havarti, Gruyere, Emmental

Preparation Instructions

In large pot, add both broths, garlic and a dash of Worcestershire sauce over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer while you cook the onions.

Melt butter in a large heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 20-25 minutes. You want the onions to caramelize, and turn a dark brown colour. Using a wooden spoon stir them occasionally, scraping up the browned bits of butter into the onions. When they look like they are caramelized, at the 20 minutes point, add the 1 cup of dry white wine along with the Worcestershire sauce. Allow it to reduce for another few minutes, until the liquid is almost gone.

Once the onions are cooked, add them to the simmering broth, and simmer on low for another 20 minutes or so, or until you wish to eat. The longer it simmers together, the more flavourful it will be. You can leave it on very low for an hour or so if you like.

To make the bread, sprinkle oil over baguette or bread slice, and broil until browned and crisp on both sides.

To serve, use a french onion soup bowl, or small ramekins or other oven safe bowls and fill with the onion soup, top with a piece of crunchy bread, and top with a few slices of cheese. Place under broiler again until cheese is bubbly. Keep your eye on it. 

 

Dinner, New Years Eve

Seattle & World’s Best Mac & Cheese

January 18, 2011

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Happy New Years! I hope everyone had a good New Years!! I had a very cold and chilly new years eve. Adam and I went down to Seattle to celebrate! A very very cold Seattle. We both had not been in over 5 years and thought It would be fun to go down and walk around for the day. We visited the famous Pike’s Place Market where they throw whole salmons across the crowds, where the very first Original Starbucks opened and where they have boasted the “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese.pasdahoto

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We walked around seeing all the sights and walked up to the Space Needle. Neither of us had ever been up it! We decided to go up to the top to get a view. It may have been a cold day, but it was a beautifully crisp bright day. Perfect for viewing! It was a little nerve-wracking going up the elevator at first since I had never really been on anything that high before! Once we were at the top it was really beautiful. Definitely worth the trip!

After walking around we were hungry, seeing as how we were up at 6:15 that morning to make the drive across the border. We looked around the marketplace for something to eat and could not make up our minds. After walking by it once or twice, we decided on getting something from Beechers Handmade Cheese. It just smelled sooooo delicious! They say they have the worlds best Mac and Cheese recipe. In fact, It was featured on Oprah’s 2010 Favorite Things list!! I guess it means It’s pretty good!!

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And it was.mac

It was the most deliciously deliciously ooey-gooey cheesiest mac and cheese. They make it with their Flagship cheese and Just Jack. It’s Penne too, so it’s not the regular elbow mac. We also split a panini and their ‘bredzel’ which was a twisted bread-pretzel-stick with cheese and spices. Mmmmm. It was a carb overload. It’s a good thing we walked around all day!

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We stayed down in the states for a few days at Adam’s parent’s place down there. It was awesome, we got to have a campfire on New years, and sit around and make s’mores and drink all night! Well, at least until we needed to go inside because it was too cold we were  a little too tipsy… needless to say we celebrated the new year the next day! haha. It was lots of fun. We went up to the Nooksack falls, and it was f-f-f-freeeezingggg. on Jan 1st we woke up to -10 !! It was still beautiful nonetheless.

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When we got home we couldn’t stop thinking about the delicious mac and cheese! So last weekend I decided to try and make it. I have never tried to make my own Mac & Cheese before but thought this would be the perfect recipe to try. On their website they provide their recipe so you can make your own. If you’re not in the Seattle area I highly suggest trying their World’s Best Mac and Cheese recipe! I didn’t get a picture of ours because I was too busy eating the cheese sauce! But It was good. really really good.

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Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese
recipe from here

Ingredients

Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ( I also used whole wheat flour )
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used about 1/2 whole milk and 1 cup skim)
7 ounces Beecher’s Flagship Cheese (or any Cheddar Cheese) grated (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 ounce Beecher’s Just Jack Cheese (or any Jack cheese) grated (1/4 cup)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (don’t skip these last ingredients! It taste’s wonderful!)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Pasta
6 ounces penne pasta (about 3 ¼ cups) ( I used some mini shell pasta that we had & it was delish!)
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, grated
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Beecher’s Just Jack Cheese, grated
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Instructions

To prepare sauce, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or oil an 8-inch baking dish. Cook penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.

Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix carefully but thoroughly. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheeses and then the chili powder. ( I didn’t get past this step, cause we couldn’t wait to eat it!!)

Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

You can eat it without baking it, just cook the pasta fully and serve with extra cheese on top!