Enjoying my days off

I’m in the middle of having two consecutive days off and am thoroughly enjoying it.  Yesterday I made a basic dinner of french onion soup (from beef stock I made yesterday as well) and a Lyonnaise type salad with duck confit. 

Since most everything took care of itself in the kitchen, I was able to watch Trainspotting (one of my all time favorite movies) and several episodes from season 1 of House, which I’m just getting into because of Erin.

In addition, both animals were able to share the couch with me at various points throughout the day.

As for today, I woke up far later than I had wanted to.  I have a few errands to run and plan on making some sort of dessert most likely from the Gale Gand cookbook I got for Christmas.

Here’s the french onion soup recipe, which I think is one of the better ones I’ve ever tasted:

  • 5 sweet onions, julienned
  • vegatable oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of red or white wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp herbs de provence
  • beef or veal stock (homemade is preferrable here)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Gruyere cheese, sliced or grated
  • crostinis cut from french bread

Caramelize the onions in a large pot with enough of the oil to cover the bottom by an eighth to quarter inch.  Add a large pinch of salt at this time.  Once the onions have caramelized, add the herbs de provence and cook for a few minutes, then add the wine and cook for a few minutes more.  Add enough stock so you have a little more liquid than you’d like, add the bay leaves and reduce for a few minutes until the soup becomes the consistency you want.  Season with an ample amount of salt and some fresh black pepper.

To make the crostinis, cut slices about a quarter inch on the bias from the french bread.  Lay out on a sheet tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in an oven at 350 until completely dried out.

To finish the soup, fill crocks with soup, place one or two crostinis on top, then add the cheese.  Place on a sheet tray and place under broiler until the cheese has melted and is gratineed.  One way to cheat here is to melt the cheese in the broiler or oven and if you have a blow torch you can use it to get the color on the cheese.

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