Joe gets all the credit for this fantastic meal. All I did was drive my wonderful husband crazy by taking pictures the whole time. He asked me a few days ago what i wanted him to cook for my birthday dinner, and I responded completely out of character and requested his french onion soup. It has become one of Joe’s specialties over the past couple years, but my memories of the soup date back to early childhood. For special dinners when I was little, my family would go to a restaurant called Checkers – what is now the Kitchen Table Bistro – in Richmond, VT. Now every time i eat the soup, I picture the cozy inside of that old restaurant.
Joe’s french onion soup recipe:
- 6T butter
- 2 T evoo
- 1 lb onions, sliced thin
- 1 t sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2T flour
- 2 1/2 C hot beef stock/ broth
- 4 T brandy
- 4 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese (expensive, but SOOOO worth it)
- salt and pepper to taste
Croutes (toasts on top)
- 8 slices of french bread, 1/2″ thick
- 1 large clove garlic, halved
- Melt butter with the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onions, sugar, salt and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-30 min, until the onions are a rich, dark brown. Uncover and stir constantly so they do not burn.
- Sprinkle flour over the onions and keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the stock/broth and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- To make the croutes preheat the broiler to high, and the oven to 400F (for later). Arrange the bread on a broiler rack and toast about 1-2 min on each side. Rub with garlic while the bread is still hot, and set aside.
- Stir the brandy into the soup and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into separate bowls, or ramekins and distribute the bread slices on top. Top each with 1/4 of the cheese and place the bowls in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is gold and bubbling.
And here is our salad:
- Spiced Walnuts (coriander, cumin, sugar, honey, and cayenne pepper)
- Blue Cheese
- Grape Tomatoes
Joe also made a batch of BEAUTIFUL carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo. The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, but substituting a little applesauce for the oil.
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: barley, eggplant, lemon, olives, onion, salad, tomatoes, vegetarian
Thank you SK! This was delicious! I rarely buy fresh herbs, but since i am making another parsley-heavy dish tonight, i went ahead and got some. I had been looking for a NEW eggplant recipe for some time when i finally went to Smitten Kitchen and found her recipe. It was a little involved – one of those dishes where you can spend the SOLID 50-60 minutes washing, chopping, baking, and working the stove top. But it was worth it.
I will definitely make this one again someday. It was filling and tasty, with enough depth of flavor so that I didn’t feel bad not serving it with anything. A wonderful midweek recipe that you can actually look forward to eating chilled for lunch the next day.
- 1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used 4 baby eggplants)
- 1/2-3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 10 T evoo
- 1 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 C chopped scallion (or yellow onion)
- 1 1/2 t ground cumin
- 1/2 t ground coriander
- 1/4 t red pepper
- 1 1/4 C pearl barley (8 oz)
- 2 C chicken or veggie broth
- 1/2 C water
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 t sugar
- 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
- 1/2 C thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
- 1 C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cook barley: Heat 2 T oil in a large pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and red pepper, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- While the barley is cooking, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.
- Make dressing and assemble salad: Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Serve with slices of feta cheese.
My first post in our new place…
I had never tried broccoli rabe before, and could not resist it when i saw it at Market Basket here in Boston. Joe and I went there on our first grocery shopping here in Boston. It was about 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning and the store was PACKED. I have never seen a store so crowded at that time of day/ day of the week. It didn’t take long to figure out why – the prices are amazing! I though we were going to have to start budgeting more for food whilst in B-town, but now we might be saving money!
I found this recipe in Food & Wine cookbook, which my Nana gave me as a moving gift. The book suggested using the pesto over crostini for Bruschetta, but i served it with pasta.
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and large stems cut off
- 1 C walnuts (or shelled pistachios)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3/4 C evoo (I tried to cut back and use only 1/2 C, but it came out too dry)
- 1/2 C parsley
- 1 C parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
- 2 T lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- preheat the oven to 350 F and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
- sprinkle the nuts into a baking dish and cook for 15 minutes.
- boil the broccoli for about 2 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze and pat dry, then chop coarsely.
- combine garlic and nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. add the broccoli, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and continue processing.
- use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
with the pesto pasta, I made a simple romaine salad with homemade whole wheat garlic croutons.
- 2 T butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed
- preheat oven to 350 F.
- melt butter in a medium saucepan with the garlic. add the bread pieces to the pan, and toss in the butter.
- spread the bread out on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, or until crisp and dry.
I got (okay – stole) this blueberry vinaigrette recipe from my mother in law, who found it in the newspaper. I like any recipe that gives me an excuse to use my food processor! The balsamic chicken recipe is from an old shape magazine. I should have cooked the chicken longer – both Joe and i like our chicken pretty dry. It started to blacken the pan while i was cooking it tonight, and probably only cooked it for 15 minutes. Next time i would go for 20.
- 1 C fresh blueberries
- 1 t Dijon mustard (mmm…grey poupon!)
- 1 t brown sugar
- 1/4 C chopped onion
- 1/4 C red wine vinegar
- 1/4 C evoo
- 1/4 C water
- S + P to taste
- combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
- 1 1/2 t dried thyme
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1 t olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts (we used tenderloins tonight)
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T honey
- Combine first 3 ingredients; sprinkle over both sides of chicken.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 7 – 8 minutes on each side or until chicken is done.
- Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-low; add vinegar and honey to pan. Simmer 3 min., or until glaze thickens; stirring constantly. Pour glaze over chicken.
I was feeling too lazy to walk/bike our dinner down to the water (1 1/2 mi. away), so we picnicked in the living room instead! The nettle cheese was a gift from my parents who brought it straight from Holland. You are supposed to be able to wait and let it age and harden in the fridge, but we couldn’t wait.
- 1 C Kalamata olives (i just grabbed a few varieties off the olive bar)
- 2 T capers
- 5 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 t fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pulse in a food processor until olives are sufficiently chopped up.
Dark + Stormy:
- 6 oz ginger beer
- 2 oz dark rum
- 1 lime wedge
Salad Dressing Recipe (link)
What better to go with my new Christopsmosos loaf? Plus, after a full day of bread baking, i am ready to take it easy with dinner. Joe made the dressing and i marinated and cooked the chicken. It would have been better grilled, but we don’t have access to one.
- red lettuce
- feta cheese
- red onion
- sliced sun dried tomato
- kalamata olives
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/4 C lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 T rosemary
- 1 T oregano
- 2 t thyme
- 1 t salt
- Marinate the chicken for 8 hours (i only got in 3 1/2 and it was still good). Cook in a pan (scoop in some of the sliced garlic and rosemary as well) or on the grill for 15 minutes per side – or until golden brown.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- shake it all together in a carafe.
this was such a treat. this salad was like candy! i have read somewhere that eating avocado with other foods helps your nutrient absorption. i wish i had allowed a good hour and fifteen to prepare all the ingredients (mainly the beets), because i was pressed and had to cut corners (turned up the oven).
- 3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 6-8 wedges
- 3 T minced onion
- 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 C olive oil
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 C (or so) dried cranberries
- 1/3 C feta cheese
- romaine lettuce
- 1/2 C walnuts
- 3 T brown sugar
- 1 T canola oil
- preheat oven to 425°
- to make dressing, mix together balsamic vinegar, evoo, and onion in medium sized bowl. toss beets in dressing and let marinate while the oven heats up.
- bake beets for 25 min, then flip and bake another 20 min, or until soft through.
- heat canola oil and brown sugar (and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper) in medium saucepan with walnuts. keep stirring as the sugar caramelizes and begins to coat the nuts (about 5 minutes).
- when the sugar is fully caramelized, remove from heat and pour the nuts onto a piece of parchment or a plate to cool. THEY LOOK NICE, BUT ARE VERY HOT AND WILL BURN YOU. i found this out the hard way…