By Steph Farrar
First of all, Happy New Year!!!! I probably should retire that salutation, but I'm still so happy it's a new year. I love the Holidays, don't get me wrong, but are you like me? Can you breathe a little easier knowing it's all over? Do we share a profound welcome to the quiet after the storm? Over-served, partied out, indulgent and exhausted?
I'm nearly ready for a cleanse, definitely ready for this new year upon us, but granting myself continued joy the first two weeks of 2015. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and hit the third Monday of the year with Cafe Gratitude's ( I know, don't judge) three day cleanse. Just in time to buy a house, find a new school for our oldest, host a garage sale and Flynn's first birthday, pack and move to new house, transfer our entire life to the Valley, juggle two kids and feed everyone in the process.
All good. It's life, right?
By the way, amazing cleanse options in L.A. are Earth Bar,Pressed Juicery, and Cafe Gratitude. I have experienced and enjoyed Earth Bar's three day cleanse for the last two years, and while I love the delivery option, I believe both Pressed Juicery and Cafe Gratitude offer better juices, options, and pricing.
So in preparation of a liquid diet, tonight I'm eating hearty. I'm eating French Onion Soup.
I am a middle child; A rule-breaker, outgoing, rebellious loyalist, attention-starved, and very very very talkative. I tend to go against the grain of what's popular. And currently in Los Angeles (and I'm sure, near globally) exercise, diet, and cleansing are like... super, super popular.
The first Monday of this year, January 5th, I gawked at hundreds of Angelenos testing out their new Nike frees, running circles around town, working out as if they would die the 6th. All these eager-beavers trying to change... just because the date did!
And now, I must admit, I just near-maxed-out a-credit-card buying new workout gear. What is it about a New Year that inspires such change?
I must first eat this soup, workout, diet, cleanse, or not.
Those onions eventually brown and turn into something I hope heaven smells like. Browning onions will look way better in my new, brighter, brand new kitchen. I'm just now realizing this is probably one of my last posts from Wilshire Vista. Two of the many amazing things about Los Angeles are the pocket neighborhoods varying in size and demographic and a thriving sense of community. We have loved living near so many insanely gifted and giving friends in this area. Now, everyone please move to the Valley.
When you see the onions go soft and get nice and brown, pay more attention to them. They need to be stirred frequently and any bits of brown should be scraped up for future flavor.
If you've ever had a reason to buy oven-safe soup bowls, the time is now. You can ladle the soup into bowls, top with toasted bread followed by the cheese, then broil the whole thing for a few minutes to converge flavor and temperature. It will be so insanely hot that you'll have to sit and stare at your soup for at least five minutes. I've never been able to wait. I literally burn my tongue every. single. time. I've made this soup.
However, if you don't have oven-safe bowls... make the soup, toast bread first for a few minutes, add cheese and brown, then add the whole slice (or 3) to the piping hot ladled soup. Both work perfectly.
Next time, I'll toast the bread for a few minutes first and cut into little breadcrumb cubes, add to soup, top with cheese and broil all together. Cutting bread with a spoon can get agitating.
Happiest, healthiest, most-productive and sensational 2015 to you all. Now pig out!
French Onion Soup
(adapted from Cooking Channel )
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 lbs. yellow onions (5-6 medium), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup dry white wine (I actually used a Pinot Gris, amazing)
4 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
toasted French baguette, cut into cubes
In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over low heat.
Add sliced onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become deep golden brown and very soft, 30-45 minutes.
Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the white wine and scrape up any dry bits on the bottom of the pan, increasing the heat to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to broil, or turn on the broiler. Arrange the baguette cubes on a baking sheet and toast until crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs and pour the soup into 4 to 6 oven-safe crocks or bowls. Top with the toasted baguette cubes and a generous amount of grated Gruyere.
Place the crocks or bowls on a cookie sheet, under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.