Friday, February 24, 2012

French Fridays with Dorie: Cheese Topped Onion Soup

Cheese Topped Onion Soup
Another week-long hiatus while my counterparts enjoyed their Mussels with Chorizo.  Not my thing.  However this week's recipe was right up my alley!  If there was ever a pairing made in heaven it has to be onions and Gruyere.  One of my favorite dishes of all time is the Onion Strudel from a fantastic restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago called Bistro Campagne.  Caramelized onions are layered with shredded Gruyere in pastry and baked until golden.  It's certainly an evolution from this humble, yet no less delicious, onion soup. 

The onions after nearly two hours of cooking
If you have never attempted to make onion soup, be ready for the very long time you need to cook your onions.  I cooked mine for nearly 2 hours and probably could have cooked them longer.  The longer you cook them, without burning them of course, the richer and darker your soup will be.  Other than time, the soup itself really could not be simpler.  Add wine and chicken broth, season and enjoy.   But, what would onion soup be without that fantastic floating crouton covered with bubbling Gruyere?  Incomplete, to be sure.  So I fired up the broiler, toasted some sourdough (in retrospect, perhaps a bit too tart for this application-would have been better off with a simple baguette) and topped it with shredded Gruyere cheese.  Under the broiler again and it was time to serve. 

I realized I forgot that before you ladle the soup in to the bowls, you add a teaspoon of brandy.  I used some of the leftover Armagnac from our chicken recipe from earlier this year, and it added a subtle, yet wonderful complexity to the flavor of the broth.  The hubby was not much of a fan of the bread choice, but loved the flavor of the soup and the Gruyere, anyway.  Another DG success!  Until next time, mes amis, Bon Apetit!
Ready for the broiler!

Friday, February 10, 2012

French Fridays With Dorie: Nutella Tartine

I wanted to crawl on the plate and curl up
next to it...
Brioche, butter, Nutella, orange marmalade, hazelnuts.  Holy s**tballs was this good.  I mean, with a list of ingredients like this, how could you go wrong, but I was curious how the orange marmalade was going to work against the hazelnut flavor of the Nutella.  It was beautiful.  Angels descended, birds sang, it was better than "Cats". 

My lovely brioche loaf with the Nutella Tartine fixings
 Let's face it, this is less a recipe than assembly instructions.  So, to have something more to write about in this blog, as well as for an extra delicious version, I did make a loaf of brioche the day before. Fortunately we had made the bubble top brioche a few weeks ago, so I was familiar with the recipe and the time it would take.  I decided to forego the smaller loaves suggested in the "Bonne Idee", and bust out my 5x10 loaf pan to create a super sized brioche to get the larger slices suitable for this recipe and perhaps some yummy French toast down the road.  All I can say is "wow", what a beauty! 

The loaf was the perfect size for this recipe.  Even though I scoffed a bit at calling this a recipe, I did manage to screw it up.  I discovered that getting even a little bit of water from your double boiler in your Nutella as it is heating turns it into a hard, unmanageable mess, so the first batch of the lovely stuff had to be chucked amid much cursing and slamming of pots and pans.  (This was a morning, pre-caffeinated event, and therefore subject to crabbiness).  Round two came off without a hitch, however and those lovely brioche slices toasted up nicely under the broiler.   I think  next time I will use a toaster or toast both sides of the bread under the broiler to have a uniform texture.  Spread the marmalade, drizzle the Nutella and toss on some hazelnuts and you have a rich, decadent, delicious treat that is insanely easy to make,  and it looks rather impressive.

Wish I could say that I am looking forward to next week's recipe, however seafood is not my thing, so I may have to skip and post on something the group has already tried prior to my joining.  Regardless, I hope you all have a good week.  Bon apetit!