French Onion Soup

I have a pretty good story about French Onion Soup.  You know the soup I’m talking about–it’s on every menu on the planet and features softened onions, giant croutons and gooey cheese on top.  EVERYONE knows what French Onion Soup is.

Anyway, so Andrew (who greatly dislikes *most* cheese and insists he’s lactose intolerant) ordered himself the ‘onion soup’ while we dined at a little bistro while in FRANCE a couple years back.  It didn’t hit me until the waitress left that the onion soup on the menu was most likely FRENCH ONION SOUP, since we were, you know, IN FRANCE.

Sure enough, Andrew’s soup arrived covered in cheese and swirled throughout the onions.  Apparently in France, it’s just known as ‘onion soup.’  Good grief.

Which brings me to point of this post: I made French Onion Soup last night.  More accurately, I made Ellie Krieger’s Triple Onion Soup, which is found in her book, Comfort Food Fix.

It turned out quite well and, despite Andrew’s severe case of a summer cold he’s fighting off right now, was enjoyed by both of us.  I omitted the bread topping (I didn’t feel like it and Andrew wouldn’t have appreciated homemade croutons in his sickly state) and, of course, only put cheese on my bowl.  I’ve made French Onion Soup before and not been a huge fan, but this particular recipe worked.  Next time you have an abundance of onions (like we did after we both bought bags of them at the grocery store unbeknownst to the other), give it a try!

dinner theater

I made a recipe from scratch tonight.  Well, mostly from scratch.

Yet again, I was on a quest to empty our freezer…  I happened to have an abundance of frozen cranberries (you gotta stock up when they’re in season!), and a bag of pearl onions, and more ground beef.  I remembered a brisket with cranberries recipe from Everyday Food that I’d found a couple years ago and have made a few times that we love.  How could I turn that into a recipe with ground beef?

You make it into soup!  I had a beef soup bone in Andrew’s mom’s freezer (points for using up even MORE from our frozen stash!), so I boiled that and made some broth.  Then I made meatballs with parsley (also frozen into ice cubes from our garden), sun-dried tomatoes  and herbs.

I tried to make them as small as possible–kinda like italian wedding soup.  I assembled them early in the day and then refrigerated them.

I boiled the cranberries down with a little tomato sauce, tomato paste and garlic.  It smelled awesome!  Can I just say that I am SO READY to have a house?  I need more than two burners, and my knives need to be sharpened and I just miss my kitchen stuff.  Moving on.

I rolled the meatballs in flour and browned them in a skillet, then added them to the soup.  I added the last of our whole-wheat egg noodles (score!) and cooked until they were al dente.

By the time I served up the soup, the cranberries had all but disappeared.

Andrew’s face said it all when he tasted the broth–too tart!  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the “beefy” soup flavor I was going for.  So much for making something from scratch!  I saved the leftovers but discarded the broth; I’m going to try to find a fancy-schmancy spaghetti sauce at Wegmans tomorrow to use with it for dinner.

We rushed out the door to catch one of the last performances of “As You Like It” at Shakespeare in the Park.  Each summer (for the last 36 years!), the troupe has been performing most nights (all but Mondays) in Delaware Park and it’s free.  You can bring lawn chairs or blankets, food and drink.  In retrospect, we should have packed a picnic dinner or picked something up on the way, as most people did.  Lots of people were drinking wine.  So fun.

Next year we’ll have to be more prepared with chairs (we brought a blanket from the room), sweatshirts and dinner.  I so wanted to snack, but was full-ish from dinner.

We ended up leaving at intermission because we were cold and Andrew was a bit bored.  I had gotten into it, but it was pretty hard to follow since it’s Shakespeare, we didn’t have a great view, we arrived late and neither of us knew the plot.  Next time we’ll brush-up on the particular play before going.

We didn’t want to end our night just yet, and I was craving some hot tea, so we went to Cafe Aroma in the Elmwood section of town.  Very alternative, very trendy, very “happening.”  I caved and split a cupcake with Andrew, but stuck to tea to drink.  I did try sips of his white mocha–YUM.

I’m looking forward to my laid-back (but hopefully productive!) Saturday!