Need to start off by saying this week has been horrible.
Sunday I worked my line station solo for the first time ever (yeah, new job. big step. yee-haw!) and then drank 3/4 a bottle of pinot noir to celebrate/decompress.
Monday was day one of my Charcuterie practical final. Options: make a terrine from memory (least possible points), make a gallantine from memory (mid-level points), or make pate en croute from memory (most possible points because it’s freakin hard). I chose the pate en croute.
So obviously, memorizing all those ratios and a dough recipe was not a good thing to be doing hung over Monday morning. And did I mention that the type of meat and style of grinding we had to do were pulled out of a hat on the spot? And that we also had to create an entire plate to go with it and an Amuse Bouche as well? Serious UGH.
But it actually turned out pretty good, considering it was my second time ever making one.
Tuesday was day two, where we actually presented our plates and amuse to the chef instructor. But before I could get to class that day I would have to go through a shit show at home first.
First I missed my USPS package delivery so I had to go to the nearest post office and get it. Just moved, turns out thought that the post office is in a horrible, horrible place. So I rode my bike (safety first). Of course during the 5 minutes I was in the post office, someone slashed my back tire. Of course I had to ride home on a flat tire.
Then there was the trash can fiasco a.k.a. the significant other putting trash into our outside trash can while it was full of water and letting it sit there for a whole week in the hot sun. a.a.k.a. I opened the trash can to put trash in and was a. almost blinded by flies and b. almost vomiting from the smell. Disaster ending in baby poop smelling trash goo all over me, my yard, and my kitchen.
Got a 94 on my final though!!Moroccan lamb stew. (except I cook mine stove top).
Then this morning, I was reading Ruhlman’s Twenty (such a great book, no matter if you’re a chef or a fledgling home cook it will teach you something) and decided to make french onion soup THE RIGHT WAY.
Which brings me to my feelings on french onion soup (and no worries, there will be a recipe at the end so bare with me).
I was a vegetarian for 6 years. For 6 years I couldn’t eat french onion soup because people tend to use not only beef or chicken stock but both in their soup. But I knew in my heart of hearts that all along that was wrong. I knew onions browned and gave the flavor to the soup so why add stock? This book finally gave truth to my theory. The author has done extensive research in France and found that it is a soup that comes from nothing, from the poorest of poor homes and that those people would never have been able to afford the time or cost of making stock. So right now, I’m in the process of making french onion soup the right way, without stock.
And the onions have been cooking for 4 hours at this point. The whole house smells delicious.
Many hours later:
After caramelizing for 4 hours, chilling for another 4 (class), then another 30 minutes of cooking before adding the sherry, water, and red wine I was left with something so delicious and sweet and warming contrasted by crusty bread and gooey Gruyere cheese. MMM MMM good.
(just as a side note, if a recipe doesn’t say what type of sherry to use and the person at the store tells you “any one will work for french onion” they’re wrong. Cream sherry is way to sweet and I ended up having to add a fair bit of vinegar to counteract this mistake. But it was delicious none the less)
Recipe from Ruhlman’s Twenty by Michael Ruhlman
1 T butter
7 or 8 pounds of thinly sliced spanish onions (7 or 8 large onions)
Black pepper (freshly ground if possible)
6 to 12 slices of country style bread (such as baguette)
1/3 cup sherry
red or white wine vinegar (optional)
red wine (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 pounds Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese, grated
Use a large pot (preferably enamel cast iron, but any large pot will do)
Place over medium heat and melt the butter.
Add the onions and 2 t salt.
Cover and cook until steam forms (until the onions are heated through)
Uncover and reduce the heat to low
cook, stirring occasionally
season lightly with pepper
The onions will realease a lot of water, and when that water has cooked off and the onions have cooked down and turned amber (several hours later) add 6-7 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat. Add sherry, salt and pepper as needed, and vinegar or wine if you would like.
Portion the soup into oven-safe bowls, put sliced bread in each, and cover with grated cheese. Broil until cheese melts and browns.
Eat and go to heaven. (I added this part).