(Perforated Lines--you can't resist 'em)

French cookbook)
(left arrow) Friday, January 5, 2001 (right arrow)


9:07 p.m. Whatta day whatta day!! A thousand and one things to get done, and I managed them all, let me tell you I am one tired mademoiselle. Crashing quickly now as the night closes in and the pace slows down ...

However, among my many triumphs today, the French onion soup I made would surely be near, or even at the top. C'est vrai! I'm a petite rusty, so bear with me as I mangle two languages in one fell swoop. But I will tell you how to make the soup, so it will be worth your visit.

This is a soup you can make between scanning, scouring, making a 60-second commercial, showing the house to another set of appraising eyeballs, and/or any number of non-kitchen tasks. You only need a few basic ingredients and I'll bet you have those ingredients on your shelves right now.

They are: butter, onions, and some bouillon.

Simple, right? Right-o. Here we go. You take out a heavy pan and plop a stick of butter into it. I'm lucky enough to have a real Le Creuset, which is French for expensive pan. I was able to buy it at quite a discount, however, because it's an unusual, unwanted dark brown color.

I used to have a complete set of these pans when I was young and stupid, but I got rid of them because I thought they were "too heavy." They were harvest gold, of course, and they were heavy, but my unhappiness was heavier and I couldn't tell the difference. Must change pans, I thought.

Anyway, next time you've got a minute to yourself, slice up however many onions you have in the bottom of the fridge. Ideally, it will be 4, 5, or even 6 of them ... slice them right into the butter, turn on the fire under the pan, and stir. Yes, you'll feel all wheepy, but that's natural -- it's the middle of the winter and here you are, slicing the last of the onions for soup. Is that all there is?


Once the onions have started to cook and get soft and transparent as fairy wings, you should throw in the bouillon. It's best to use beef, but you can use chicken. I haven't tried veggie, but maybe that will work. Hard to say. If you have little cubes in silver paper, unwrap them and toss them in amongst the onions. If you have powder, sprinkle it on. I'm lucky enough to have a sort of a paste that I keep on the top shelf of the refrigerator door, and so I added a few spoonfuls of it and stirred it in.

Almost fini ... now all you have to do is to add enough water to cover and then some -- enough water to make the bouillon spring into action. It might be three, four cups ... but you do it by eye: the water should stay yellow (chicken) or brown (beef). It will be soup in a bit. Maybe an hour, maybe less, maybe more. Stir in a splash of sherry if you've got it, and some pepper if you want to.

The rest is up to you: crouton, Gruyère, ramekin. If you know what those words mean, you will know what to do. If not, you'll want to think about some nice bread, some nice cheese, and a nice bowl to serve it in. It's only soup; it's soup, after all.

Meanwhile, life bubbles and simmers on ... (and this is the) season to taste.



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(left dancer) all verbiage © Nancy Hayfield Birnes (right dancer)