The sun is out today and we are glad.
My husband and I are going on an Intracoastal Cruise of the southeast soon, exploring Islands like Hilton Head, St. Simons and Jekyll Island. Why? Because this is our 50th year of marriage: our Jubilee Year. What a joy!
Last week we celebrated our brilliant grandson’s 5th birthday by spending the night at his home and giving him gifts of legos. He has developed an enthusiasm for legos nearly as big as his passion for Star Wars.
Our Inspiring Cuisine cookbook is back on track with a new, well-established publisher taking up where our first publisher left off. Deep River Publishing will be putting the final touches to the layout of the manuscript, with 62 photographs, and then get it into print. I don’t have a date yet for when the book will go on sale, but we are hoping it won’t be long. It will happen!! We will have a book in our hands. By His grace.
Deep River’s Publishing Consultant praises the book: “It is beautifully written and designed, and you have a talented photographer.” Yes!!
We have a treat for you today—Dale’s original recipe for French Onion Soup! He says, “The flavor of the onion is complex, sweet and pungent and that is what makes it so versatile.”
Have fun with this and serve it on a wintry day.
French Onion Soup
Onions are one of God’s finest food ideas. Of course all of Gods ideas are fine, but in His omniscient foreknowledge He planned for us to use onions in many ways: raw in salads and as a condiment is one way. But they can also be boiled, baked, grilled, broiled and fried. They are essential to most soups, stews, sauces and casseroles. Simultaneous sweet and pungent, they have become the flavor base for most of the world’s cookery.
They have tremendous health benefits too. I can’t tell you what they are because I can’t pronounce all those strange scientific words, and if I can’t pronounce it, I can’t spell it. So I will leave you with this one fact – they possess a surprising amount of vitamin C. I can spell “C”.
Onions are flavorful, abundant and inexpensive. One of the easiest ways to turn onions into something delicious and elegant is to make a French onion soup.
You will Need:
2 cups of Chopped Yellow Onions Salt and Pepper
4 Tbs. of Butter 3 Tbs. of Madeira
¼ cup of Flour 4 slices of French Bread
4 cups of Beef Stock 4 slices of Gruyere Cheese
1. Finely chop two cups of onions. How many onions will that take? It depends upon the size of your onions. This is best done with a chef’s knife. If you do it in a food processor, first chop the onions into rough chunks about an inch square, then pulse with the food processor. Be careful to not make a puree. That changes the character of the soup.
2. Slice the bread.
3. Slice the cheese. Imported Gruyere is wonderful but sometimes rather pricey. I found some smoked Wisconsin Gruyere which was less expensive and very good. I have also used Mozzarella with the soup and experienced a great deal of satisfaction.
1. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot.
2. Saute the onions until they become golden. If you need more butter, add it.
3. Sprinkle the flour over the onions. Stir it in and cook for about 2 more minutes. If it gums up into one big ball that’s OK. Just break it up with your spoon and push it around in the pot. You could add more butter to make it easier, but that isn’t necessary. You might find that the flour begins to coat the bottom of the pan. That’s OK. Scrape it up with your spoon. If it won’t come up and starts to brown that’s OK too. This is a stress free recipe; you can’t go wrong. Just try to cook the flour for about two minutes.
4. Pour in the beef stock. Make your own, use bouillon cubes, granules or paste. You can also use canned beef broth. Now is the time to scrape off the flour that stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir everything until the soup begins to thicken slightly.
5. Add the Madeira. No Madeira? You can substitute several things: Sherry, Port or Cognac.
6. Cover the pot and turn the heat down. Simmer for 30 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot occasionally. We don’t want it to stick at this point.
7. While the soup is simmering, toast the bread slices, with or without butter. You could even fry the bread in olive oil if you wished.
8. Place the 4 bread slices in the bottom of 4 soup bowls.
9. Place the cheese slices on top of the bread
10. After the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, taste it before adding salt. How much salt will be determined by how much salt was in your beef stock. You may not need to add any. Add black pepper according to your taste.
11. Ladle the hot soup over the bread and cheese. The bread and cheese should float to the top like a raft with the cheese all soft and creamy
You might want to serve the rest of the loaf of French bread as it is, or as garlic bread. Perhaps a small green salad with it. That is what I ate for dinner last Monday night and after writing this tonight, I’m hungry for more.
Food for Thought:
You are the Salt of the Earth
Our recipe today features an almost essential ingredient in western cooking. My big Tupperware bin is usually dominated by onions: Yellow, red, white, Vidalia. They are ubiquitous. I use them for chili, stroganoff, salads, vegetable dishes, guacamole, tomato meat sauce, pork marsala, quiche, hamburgers and on and on.
Salt is another “almost” essential ingredient in cooking. I especially enjoy it these days in the form of coarse sea salt. It’s great for breakfast on fried eggs and broiled tomatoes. There were times in the past when husbands would pay an extremely high price for a measure of salt because a treasured wife was ill. Having salt on her food made her more interested in eating, and increased the possibily of her recovery.
When Jesus told his followers in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth,” He was not talking about an “almost” essential but an absolutely essential.
Did Jesus mean, as I’ve often thought, that we are to be surprising in what we say or how we say it? I think of the writer Max Lucado. He is an inspiration to me, as a writer, because he speaks about things we’ve often heard in surprising ways.
Jesus was always surprising people with how he answered their questions. He was unexpected, and people listened.
When Paul speaks of salt in Colossians 4:6, he says our “conversations are to be full of grace, seasoned with salt.” We are to speak the truth boldly, but also speak it gently.
How often do we hear people speaking truth in our culture today? They think truth is relative, so everything becomes skewed. It’s like the child in the fairy tale who shouted, “The Emperor has no clothes.” when everyone else was afraid to tell it like it was.
The Pictorial Bible Dictionary says,” In the Bible, salt is used to depict wholesome character and speech.”
By speaking the truth in surprising and gracious ways, by seeking with His help to constantly grow in character, we bring hope to a desperate world.”
Russ Rhoads concludes his article in the February, ’14 Decision magazine about the moral depravity of our culture and our government this way. “Without question, there is a frontal assault coming (the way of those who profess Christ). But we have to do what’s right. We must fulfill our responsibility to be salt and light and to love righteousness.” —RuthAnn