Sunday, September 26, 2010

Right now, it's becoming autumn. I'm currently sitting in a laundromat washing my kotatsu quilt, and thinking about transitions.

Transitions leave me, like most people, in need of comfort.

You know what's comforting? Soup and cheese and bread.

French onion soup was something I'd seen in cans, and in "rethermalizers" where you scoop it into your bowl yourself and pay three dollars for it. It certainly wasn't a soup that was made in my house.

It turns out that onion soup is very easily made, if you can keep from crying. You see, I am from the land of sweet onions, where sulfur is so absent from the soil that if can be said "the land is sweet".

And though I have moved away from that place, I usually only use one onion at a time, and then I usually first halve them and put the cut surfaces down so that the wood of my cutting board can absorb the onion's defense.

Cutting five onions into crescents made me weep. Tears just leaked from my eyes. I may have cried aloud. Now I see why you can buy "onion goggles". Splashing my face with cold water helped a great deal.

So, aside from five sliced onions, I put a generous pat of butter, and a splash of safflower oil (to keep the butter from smoking) and a bay leaf into an electric skillet to melt and mingle. I may have also put two crushed garlic cloves in as well. It seems likely.

After the onions have cooked down and are sweet, I added a quarter of a bottle of red and about a cup of beef stock to the skillet. I let it reduce until it was almost syrupy, then ladled it into my soup crocks.

After toasting some French bread, I tucked it into the top of the crocks, and heaped grated cheese on top (I used an American Parmesan and a cheese called "Marco Pollo" which was a solid cow milk cheese with huge chunks of black pepper inbedded within).

A couple minutes under the broiler, and you have a super filling soup. It's also good with extra bread, and if you're feeling fancy, a little bit of steak cut into strips on the side.

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