Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Soup

It's getting cold out there (sure, it's going to hit 60 tomorrow, but that's just a tease).  And I know now that it's December, that's what it is supposed to do, but that doesn't mean I'm 100% thrilled about it.  The real problem with winter is that it makes me want to eat carbs and stew until I can't button my pants anymore.  I like being able to button my pants.

 Speaking of wearing things, here's my fancy new apron that I got as an early Hanukah present.  
I love it!

But winter also bring good things, like birthdays and the millions of holidays and get togethers that occur around those things.  We just celebrated my father's birthday with a very nice brunch (that I did no cooking for).  

 Helping Bupa blow out the candles on his cake(s)

 We're looking forward to Hanukah and latkes and Christmas and Chinese food : )

 It's a little hard to tell here, but this brave night in the pope hat is busy taking our shelf-elf for a ride around on the motorcycle.  

This picture is appropos of nothing, but it's pretty awesome.  
And yes, she will likely be horribly embarrassed by this later in life.  
I realized the other day that she gets really flustered if I sing in the grocery store.  
Prepare yourself for my vocal stylings.  
Embarrassment is the greatest of the parental paybacks.

We didn't eat both of these this past week, but I had some leftover pictures and so I thought I'd get these up here.  I've been big into soup lately, which is weird, because I don't normally like soup.  Maybe it's the fact that we always eat it with grilled cheese.

French Onion Soup
Seriously, so easy.  Just takes some time.  100% worth it.

4 large sweet onions, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups beef or vegetable broth
1 generous teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 thick slices of bread
1 cup grated gruyere or swiss cheese

Over low heat, saute the onions until very soft and slightly browned, stirring periodically.  This will take about 35 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.  Add the broth and the thyme, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Toast each slice of bread, then top of the bread slices with 1/4 the cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly (watch it, because it burns very quickly).  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cheesy croutons.  

I served it with this really good salad with blue cheese, bacon and chopped hardboiled egg.  The bacon was the precooked stuff from Trader Joe's, chopped up.  Highly recommended for salads and sandwiches.

White Bean Soup
This is an epicurious recipe that I modified to be more pantry friendly and a faster cook.  We had it tonight and it was pretty good.

1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, cleaned and cut into rounds
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cans of canellini beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream (don't skip this, it really made the soup so much better)

In a medium pot, saute the onion, carrots and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion is soft and almost translucent (about 10 minutes).  Add the beans, broth, and herbs and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Puree the soup, either by using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring it to a regular blender in batches.  Return to the pot and assess for thickness - if you like your soup on the thin side, add a little more broth.  If you prefer it on the thicker side, simmer for about 15 more minutes.  

When you are ready to serve, stir in the heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

I served with grilled brie sandwiches and salad.

Coming up next - things to do with leftovers/an empty pantry.

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