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French Onion Soup

February 5, 2012

As usual, my Saturday consisted of loads of thrift shopping because it’s an addictive hobby and I love it. I didn’t find much (although my boyfriend found plenty. He bought an 8 tape VHS box set for the first season of Twin Peaks. Arg, he’s completely useless). Anyhow, I did find these adorable soup bowls (can you see where I’m going with this?):

I love them. I got a set of 4 and can’t wait until next year to display them somewhere in my vintage style kitchen next to my 1960′s Betty Crocker cookbook collection. So, as you’d assume…I immediately needed to make soup and try out my new cups.

When its freezing out, there is nothing better in the world than savory soup that is topped with a huge hunk of bread and stacked with cheese. Seriously, there isn’t. Plus, the bread being baked into it is allows you to skip the sides all together. I like this recipe because it’s light and simple so you usually have everything on hand and don’t feel guilty about eating it on a week night.

French Onion Soup

  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 small onions, sliced
  • 2 cup veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • dash of sugar
  • fresh baguette, cut into big slices
  • slices of swiss cheese to put over the soup bowls (the amount of cheese will vary depending on how big your ramekins are)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and just starting to brown (about five minutes). Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute (or until fragrant. you know that yummy smell I’m talking about!) Next, add the broth, wine, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper

Turn your broiler on. Remove bay leaf and pour into four small ramekins and top each with a slice of the baguette. Put a slice (or two!) of Swiss on top of each baguette. Stick under the broiler until the top has browned and the soup is bubbly (a minute or two).

Homemade Pasta with Zucchini and Carrot Ribbons

February 1, 2012

Okay, this recipe was sooo out of my comfort zone that I’ve been dreading trying to translate it for you guys. The recipe I followed for homemade pasta was by a french enthusiast (who also makes beautiful cooks books- Yvette Van Boven) and insisted on using cooking terms that have never come up in  my sheltered, American, vegetarian kitchen life. How did I end up making this? I got talked into it by my “cultured, been-to-every-Continent-but-Antarctica” roommate who insisted it would be a piece of cake (please note- she is the one in all the pictures doing most of the intensive labor parts because I was too busy googling what farina is and how you turn dough into “nests”). What kind of person have I become that cooking with xantham gum and agave nectar are normal occurrences but I don’t even know the french term for ‘cream of wheat’? This girl needs to get cultured outside of her hipster lifestyle.

Needless to say, this was my first experience with true fresh pasta and I can understand what all the fuss is about. It may be a bit labor intensive at times (which would easily be avoided if you have a pasta maker! Hoping to get one of these when I become a “real adult” one day) but it doesn’t even taste like the same food as packaged pasta. It’s soft and doughy with an almost…melt in your mouth texture.

I’m going to also post the recipe that we made with the fresh pasta but feel free to do whatever you’d like with the pasta after you make it. I mean…drenching it in french cream and fresh vegetables is only my suggestion…but you should know it’s a damn good one!

Homemade Pasta with Zucchini and Carrot Ribbons

For the pasta:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • cream of wheat

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and slit but still whole
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 zucchinis
  • salt and pepper, to taste

First…it’s time to prep the pasta dough: Make a pile of the flour (add a bit of salt and pepper to it) on a CLEAN kitchen counter and create a well in the center of it. Crack the eggs into the center and fold the flour into the eggs until you make a firm, dough balls. This will probably take about ten minutes or so sooo be patient (oh or you could probably stick this stuff in a food processor and make it that way…if you have a food processor. Some of us still live in the stone ages…or are just poor college kids. Either way will work though!). Next, your gonna have to leave the dough to rest for about an hour (I know, I know…waiting is no fun).

If you’d like, you can prep your veggies at this time. You’re just going to peel the carrots and then julienne them and the zucchini. Then set aside for later use!

Wait for the dough to be ready…write a song…dance to some vinyls…wait more…drool over how good this recipe is going to be…wait more…READY!

Now, this is the easy part for you folks that have a pasta machine. Basically, you are just going to roll out chunks of the dough and put them through the pasta maker until you reach the desired size you’d like. HOWEVER, we did it without a pasta maker and this is how: we floured that clean kitchen counter again and rolled out the dough as thin as we could possibly get it (I realize this sounds easy…but it’s not. the dough will be tough and want to pull back in on itself but don’t let that discourage you! You’ll get it!). Once it’s as thin as you’d like it, generously sprinkle the dough with cream of wheat (this is important because it’s going to keep the pasta strands from sticking to itself). Using a knife, cut thin strips of dough and make “nests” (see picture below) on a cutting board with the strips. Continue to sprinkle with cream of wheat to prevent sticking.

Once done with that, bring two large pots of salted water to a boil. While waiting for them to boil, in another small saucepan put the cream fraiche. Stick the whole garlic cloves in the cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add salt/pepper.

When the two pots are boiling, add the vegetables to one of them to blanched the veggies (the time this will take will vary because of how large or small you cut your veggies so just keep an eye on it and test the veggies every few minutes until they reach a slightly soft texture). Throw your pasta in another pan and let cook until it rises to the surface (this will be only about five minutes- it is a very fast process!). Once they are floating, strain and rinse with cold water. Return the pasta to the pot and strain the veggies.

Remove the garlic cloves from the cream and combine everything together in one of the large pots. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy warm!

Make sure to share and show off your European culinary skills to your mother and kittens!

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

January 26, 2012

I just want to start out by apologizing. I realize that I have talked about bread excessively lately and I can’t help it. I’ve been on a major bread making kick lately…but this one doesnt involve the breadmaker so everyone can be included! Yay!

Anyways, this week has kicked my ass. Between switching to working full days, having classes from 9 to 9 on my days off, my boyfriend’s birthday (which was yesterday and was a success. Cake-recipe-post soon), and tonight I have to go to Indianapolis to support my boyfriend’s band…I have had noooo time for cooking or grocery shopping or sleeping. BUT this blog is not here for me to complain so I love my life and am hoping to do some major catch up with it this weekend. New header is currently in the making and lots of recipes will be made this weekend as well!

Okay.. these oatmeal molasses rolls. I made them expecting a sort of dessert roll (you know. buttery, cinnamon roll-esk) but they were really just savory dinner rolls with the slightest hint of molasses sweet. And damn, they were amazing. Soft, melt in your mouth and full of flavor. I would recommend serving them as a side to a pasta dish or even meat (if you swing that way) or soup. I served them with a yummy bowl of Annie’s Chickenless noodle soup and it was perfect.

Oh also, make these on the weekend or super ahead of time. Since they don’t involve the bread machine, there is a lot of rising time (on two separate occasions) so prep the dough the night before or start in the AM so you can check back on the dough through out the day. I adapted this recipe from Food52 which is a plethora of bread recipes so browse it sometime if you are as dough loving as me. And I promise promise promise they will be worth the extra effort!

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

  • 1 packet of yeast (or about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 sticks of butter +2 tablespoons of butter (to brush on top of rolls)

Phase ONE: Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water. Set aside so that it can react and bubble and do it’s thing.

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the milk has warmed up slightly, add the butter and stir until it has melted completely. Remove from heat and add in the brown sugar, oats, molasses, and salt. Stir until well combined then set aside to cool to luke warm temperatures.

Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl. Once cooled, add the milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Slowly add the flour until it creates a large ball and all the ingredients stick together. If it’s too sticky then add a tiny bit more flour. Place the dough in a greased bowl and roll it around until the ball is greased on all side. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Wait. wait. Go play with kitty. Take your puppy for a walk. wait. read some of your favorite blogs. wait.

Phase TWO: Divide the dough into 12 balls and place in a greased, 9 inch pan. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and coat the tops of the buns with it. Sprinkle with some extra rolled outs and then cover with a towel. Let rise (again, I know. I know.) for another two hours in a warm place.

Wait more. Read a book. Watch some Anthony Bourdain. wait more.

 Phase THREE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm with butter and honey.