Covid 19, People quarantined for over 3 months now,, summer vacation plans cancelled, Riots across the world, “Anarchy” in Capitol Hill (or not..depending on who you ask) historically unprecedented unemployment, toxic media coverage of everything and anything that is currently going on in the world and in all this mayhem, NASA launches the first private space ship that reaches the International Space Station- a glimpse of something good happening in these strange times we live in. All I can say is – I wish I could have traveled with those two astronauts to the ISS and leave it with that…(so much to say about what’s going on, but maybe not very fitting for a cooking blog ;-)).
In the meantime though I needed a break from being quarantined and all this negativity, so Mike and I took a little road trip to Lake Roosevelt – it’s pretty much god’s country. I enjoyed taking lots of pictures of amazing landscapes and abundance of interesting old barns.
We also checked out the town of Colville and found a local brewery that offered regional beer and sushi of all foods and had a glass (or two ;-)) of libations – what a welcome change to the quarantine. When we came home, I got lucky to taste my step daughters home made Lemon cake which she had decorated beautifully with flowers from the garden. I think she used this recipe, it was delicious. Last weekend I got to bake a new cake I have never eaten before and haven’t even heard of – its called Eierschecke – and its an Eastern German cake, similar to a cheese cake with an additional layer of pudding and egg custard. It was my friend Astrid’s birthday and her “cake wish” was the Eierschecke. I used her aunts recipe suggestion and learned later that there is a baker in Dresden who is very famous and shared his recipe, so I will be giving that a try in the next week to see which recipe I prefer. Its a very “fluffy” eggy cake and not very sweet, this might be more a cake for my Asian friends who like less sugary cakes. But if you want to bake something really German, then you should give Eierschecke a try.
Now on to my actual recipe for this post. As most of you know, Mike hates onions as much as I do cilantro, so I never make any onion dishes like “Zwiebelkuchen” (literally translated onion cake) or “Zwiebelsuppe” (onion soup). Last weekend though Mike went fishing with his friends and I had the opportunity to make French Onion soup for Astrid and myself and I have to say it turned out great!
French Onion Soup Recipe – makes 8 portions
- 4 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 5–6 large onions)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 8 cups of beef stock (or veggie stock)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
- grated or sliced cheese (such as Gruyere, Asiago, Swiss, Gouda or Mozzarella)
- Caramelize the onions. In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until brown, roughly about 30 minutes, initially stirring every 3-5 minutes, then about once a minute near the end of caramelization to prevent burning*. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute. Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer the soup. Add the stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and thyme and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Toast the bread – slice the baguette into thin slices and toast it in the toaster or on 400 degrees in the oven for 4-6 minutes.
- Broil the topping. Switch the oven on to the broiler. Once the soup is ready to serve, place your oven-safe bowls on a thick baking sheet. Ladle the soup into each bowl, then top with a baguette slice and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each, if you want a really thick crust use 1/2 a cup or even more – you can make a huge mount and it will all melt together to a “small puddle”). Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. (Keep a close eye on them so that they do not burn.) Remove from the oven and serve immediately while the soup is hot and bubbly.