Saturday, October 19, 2013

Claire's Black River Apple Salad

Claire scored a home run a few days ago with a flirtation into the salad realm. She was so excited about the results that she shared them immediately. So before I lose this altogether, I better get it into the blog. The name is derived from the blue cheese that she used in it: It is a variety made in Wisconsin, by the Black River.

Claire's Black River Apple Salad

2-3 granny smith apples, medium-diced,
2-3 tbsp. each:
  • chopped cilantro
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • chopped toasted walnuts
  • shredded carrot
  • paper-thin sliced celery
  • plain aioli (or mayo);
1/4 tsp. jalapeno, very finely minced
pinch of sugar
squeeze of lime juice
salt + pepper to taste

Toss all together and allow the flavors to marry for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Excellent with a heavy dish that needs a bit of brightening, like braised beef short ribs, garlic stuffed pork loin roast or the like.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Raiding the Mom Archive

My Mom has a really good recipe for french onion soup. She no longer cooks,  but while tidying up her recipe drawer, I came across her tattered recipe, which I know I have, but don't know exactly where. This time it won't escape: The blog captures all.

As everyone who makes french onion soup knows, the secret to great flavor depth  is to brown the onions low and slow, allowing them to carmelize properly. One of my tweaks is to add a bay leaf to the stock when  heating it for even more flavor depth. My sister-in-law has her own twist as well: Instead of beer, she uses Taylor port. I can vouch for the sensational results. No matter how you tweak it, it's an easy, basic, and excellent recipe.

Marian's French Onion Soup

2 very large Spanish onions
3 TBLSP. butter
1 TBLSP. extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces of beer
3 TBLSP. flour
32 ounces (4 cups) beef stock or beef broth
one can of beef consomme -or- consomme Madrilienne
a baguette of good french bread, sliced to the desired thickness and allowed to dry out for several hours -or-
use day old french bread
 8 slices provolone cheese and/or good swiss cheese

Cut up the onions in rings and separate. In a very large frying pan, melt the butter then add the olive oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until tender, golden brown and carmelized. This takes some time, so be forewarned. Add the flour and continue to cook, stirring, for five to ten more minutes.

In a 4 quart saucepan, stir together the beef stock, consomme and beer. Heat thoroughly. Ladle out a few cups and pour over the onions, stirring until all the brown bits are incorporated. Pour the onion mixture into the 4 quart saucepan into the remaining stock mixture and stir until well blended. Adjust the seaoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400F. Place 8  individual ovenproof soup dishes on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place some of the onions in the bottom of each soup bowl, add a baguette slice, add the remaining onions, and then fill each 3/4 full with stock..  Add a slice of your preferred cheese (or two!) cheese on top. Carefully place the cookie sheet on the center oven rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 8 servings.