October 25, 2011
Yesterday I came home and popped into my laptop Rossini’s Barbieri di Seviglia (I know, I’m getting stranger by the day) and then set on to search for a classic french onion soup, which I did not have to do for long since Smitten Kitchen, as usual, had the answer for me quite soon. So I grabbed 4 big, shiny, smooth onions and set them on the chopping board. I grabbed the knife, I sliced once, I sliced twice. And then I stopped. What on earth was I thinking???? I’d completely forgotten that onions, or any of their cousins (red onions, shallots, garlic, spring onions, chives, you name it!) will have me in tears within seconds. And I’m not talking about watery eyes or a runaway tear. I’m talking grab-the-tissues-now stuff. I don’t know why so much, but it’s always been that way. I’ve tried super ultra sharp knives. I’ve tried cold onions straight from the fridge. There’s nothing that can help it. In fact, I remembered as I held the onion with great hatred in my hand and cried in between bouts of Figaro Figaro Figaro coming from my computer, when I worked in cooking school and I had to prepare for recipes which included onions, I would always trade with the other assistants for anything else. I’d much prefer to remove the scales from your smelly fish! So why would I subject myself willingly to all that slicing of the stinky critter?? The reason, of course, is that there is nothing quite like french onion soup. Even if I had to eat it with puffy eyes and a red nose. Deb uses Julia Child’s recipe, which she kindly provides with friendly measures. The only thing I changed was the bread, which I changed for American pumpernickel since I didn’t have any other, but it was actually an incredibly good twist. The caraway seeds such a pleasant surprise in the hot, caramelized goodness of the onions.
Recipe here: French Onion Soup at Smitten Kitchen
October 12, 2011
One of the things that people love about living in Mexico City is the weather. The winters are not very cold, springtime is full of flowers, summer is tolerably hot, and autumn will ask you for just a light sweater. Or so it used to be. Nowadays we get crazy weather just like the rest of the world, with winters that freeze crops and insufferable sweaty summers. But in spite of the weather going haywire everywhere in the world, one thing here in our crazy valley remains a constant: summer rain. Almost every summer afternoon, you can count on a heavy shower, that will be over before it’s time to go to bed. It’s lovely. But then there’s the transition between fall and summer; that is my absolute favorite time of the year, because that’s when it begins to get cold, October moons make their dramatic appearances, and, if you’re lucky, you get quite a few wet, cold, rainy afternoons. (No doubt encouraged by hurricanes raging along the coasts, sadly) And those are the ones where, with a good glass of red wine, great jazzy music, and a bunch of about-to-die tomatoes, delicious soups are born. (Or pumpkin marmalade, which is doing it’s thing on the stove as I write).
Soups and cold days….roasted tomato soups and cold days….this version of that good old recipe includes potatoes, which are always a pleasant surprise, and since my basil plant was victim of a murdering plague, is made with oregano. It’s really easy to make, but incredibly rewarding once it’s found it’s way to your spoon. Read more for the recipe.
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October 3, 2011
This time I’ll rant to you about something that’s happened to all of us. (I hope, unless I actually am crazy, as my family repeatedly likes to remind me). I walked into the supermarket about a week ago and dia de muertos/halloween euphoria had begun. And my supermarket mounted right on the entrance a huge display with the best looking, bright orange, smooth, with-appropiate-stem, shiny pumpkins they could find. And I knew the prettiest ones were carving pumpkins, but I could not resist. Yes, its true. I brought home an ingredient solely based on its looks. I know, I’m shallow. I could have gone for its uglier, paler, bumpier sister, the squash. But I didn’t, even though it’s flesh is softer and tastier. (Because what really matters is on the inside! *cough*men*cough) And my reward was 20 minutes of hand-pain after trying to get its lovely shell off. (Does this happen to men that only go out with models?) But in spite of its hard, not-as-strong-tasting flesh, the result was great. The resulting chutney is tangy, spicy and sweet, and very strong flavored. Great to combine with meats. AND you can actually serve it on halloween, on a dish made from itself. (But trust me, you should bribe your grocer into peeling it for you, as my hands will tell you). I’ll probably come back with the recipe for the meat to serve it with, but meanwhile, on to the recipe.
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