Skip to main content

Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee

Sounds fancy huh? Don't tell anyone but it's really just soup with bread in it. But it is so much better than regular onion soup.  I've been making this since it first appeared in the NY Times in 2007 It is one of those warming, rib-sticking, comfort foods. What I really like about it is that you can do a lot of the prep ahead of time. I've made it for Easter Brunch a few times.  You can toast the baguette ahead of time and also make the caramelized onions ahead of time too. Grate the cheese and then you have most of the work done.

Toast the bread under the broiler

A lot of tears were created here-those onions were strong!
Place the onions in a skillet. I think I used the wrong one this time.  I don't think I usually use Griselda* (my cast iron pan) because for a long while the onions just steamed instead of caramelizing. I think she was a tad too small.

Eventually they got there.  I added about a tablespoon of sugar to help the caramelization along.

I didn't have tomato puree. I only had whole tomatoes - so I just buzzed them in the food processor.  I also used muenster cheese this time because that's what I had on hand.  Fontina or Gruyere would do nicely too.

Cheese Cave in Gruyere, Switzerland
This was a really cool factory tour (only second to the Callier chocolate factory tour on the same trip). I'm such a sucker for a factory tour. This was the "cheese cave" where the Gruyere was aging. They gave us samples of the cheese at different ages.  The taste differences were amazing. I definitely like the longer aged version. This machine came around and watered and spun the cheese around everyday. It was really cool. You can see it making it's way down the aisle. Sorry took a little detour but that is what I think of every time I hear Gruyere.

This is with one layer done and beginning the second layer
Boiling water just added
After the 1/2 hour stove top cook - ready for the oven
All done-it really puffs up nicely



 *Griselda is a Griswold cast iron pan.  Griswold was a cast iron company in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Griselda belonged to my grandmother.  I had it for a long time and she was just sitting down the basement (the pan not my grandmother). Not a good thing for a cast iron pan (or for a grandmother for that matter).  She wasn't in the best of shape. About 10 years ago, I learned that cast iron is a fabulous surface to cook on and decided to see what I could do for her.  She just needed a little cleaning up and then a re-seasoning. You can scrape out the gunk by rubbing a little kosher salt in the pan.  If it's real rusty, you can even use a wire brush. Then rub in a bunch of canola oil in and bake it about at 300 for about 1 hour.

Griselda


Periodically you need to just rub a little oil in.  

In need of a little oil
I usually just put a little oil in the pan and use a paper towel to spread it around.
Post-oil
NEVER use soap to clean cast iron. If anything is stuck to the bottom, just put a little water in the pan and put it on a medium-high heat.  You can scrape loose anything that is burnt on. Also make sure it is really dry before storing.  I usually (or the Sous Chef since he is generally in charge of clean up) just put it on the burner for a few seconds to heat it up and that will dry it off well.

Cast iron heats so evenly and really is pretty much a non-stick surface.  You use way less oil when cooking.  It's better than using those other non-stick surfaces that always seem to become stick surfaces.  I always wondered where that non-stick layer went to - probably into my food.  Now all I'm getting is a little extra iron.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cinnamon Star Bread

I was very perplexed by this recipe. I could not figure out by the directions how it got into this shape. I understood the twisting part but then was at a loss. The website didn't have a video or pictures - was I just being dense? Well once I cut the dough into the 16 pieces and twisted - DUH - it was a little clearer. I decided to include pictures for those of you that need a visual.

Cinnamon Star Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3/4 c warm milk (100-110 degrees)
2T sugar
2 t yeast
4T butter
2 c flour
1 t salt
1/3 c instant mashed potato flakes*
1 t vanilla

Filling
1 lg egg, beaten
1/3 c sugar
2T cinnamon

Combine milk, sugar, and yeast in a small measuring cup. Mix well and set aside. Place butter, flour, salt, instant mashed potatoes and vanilla in a large bowl. After yeast is bubbly add to dry ingredients. Mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and soft. (Or mix by hand and then knead by hand until smooth and soft). Place in a greased bowl and let sit for 1 hour or un…

It's Better With Butter

Why would you want to make your own butter? Because it tastes better! And it's easy. All you need it heavy cream, salt, and a mixer-although you can get away without using the mixer. If you are using a mixer, you will need to cover it with plastic wrap, unless you're really into cleaning up splatter. Pour heavy cream into your mixer. It doesn't have to be fresh. It can be close to its expiration date. This time I used 3 cups because I had an open container and an unopened one.
You just whip it for about 10-15 minutes on high. It first looks like whipped cream, then starts to deflate a bit, then starts to get a yellowish hue, until finally you hear a clunk clunk noise and you know you have separated the butter from the buttermilk (boy was that a run on sentence or what?). By this time the plastic wrap is so covered in splatter you can't see into the bowl any longer.

Butter:
 Buttermilk:
From 3 cups of cream you end up with about 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Strain the butt…

Burnt Cinnamon Simple Syrup

The NY Times Magazine section did a piece on cocktails about two weeks ago and one was calling me-Rhum Agricole Daiquiri. What attracted me here (well besides the cocktail aspect) was the Burnt Cinnamon Simple Syrup. It was easy enough to make, as are most simple syrups, but it was the potential uses.  I started thinking not only daiquiris but why not with Applejack? Apples, burnt cinnamon sounds like a winner to me. Or how about a nice hot cider, with a little rum, and the simple syrup (Guess I'll have to wait until the fall for the cider). On the non-alcohol side-why not use it to moisten a sponge cake - wouldn't that give it an interesting flavor? Or what about a burnt cinnamon ice cream?

Now first for the burning of the cinnamon - it felt a little like I was doing a cleanse to ward off evil spirits. I think that is usually done with sage but if cinnamon works too - so be it. The recipe recommended using a small creme brulee torch to burn the cinnamon sticks - like you do. …