Monday, October 24, 2016

French Onion Soup

I like French onion soup a lot.  When it’s good, it is both sweet and savory with complex flavors and you get all those different textures.  But it takes a long time to make.  I use a version of the Cook’s Illustrated recipe that was published in the January 2008 issue.
  1. Peel and slice 4 lbs of onions.  Cut them about ¼ in thick along the lines of longitude.  If you cut them the other way they will disintegrate.
  2. Put them in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray and 3T of unsalted butter (Do I really need to specify unsalted?  Always get unsalted butter!)
  3. Cover and put in a 400F oven for 1 hour
  4. Stir, and put cover slightly ajar and cook for another 90 minutes
  5. Put on cooktop, stir and boild off the liquid.
  6. After about 15 minutes, let them sit so the bottom browns deeply – about 8 minutes
  7. Add ¼ cup water and scrape the fond off of the bottom of the pot.
  8. Let it sit for another 8 and scrape again.  Do this a couple more times.
  9. Add ½ cup sherry, and simmer it away.
  10. Scrape it off again and add:
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 2 cups of beed stock
    • 6 sprigs thyme & a bay leaf ties up together.
  11. Simmer for 30 minutes then remove the herbs
  12. Put in oven-proof bowls, top with toasted bread and Gruyere cheese.
  13. Broil for 5-6 minutes, or until it looks right
  14. Enjoy with a nice wine

I use an enameled Dutch oven.  I have two from Le Cruset, a big one and a medium one, and use the big one for this dish.  I also have a cast iron Dutchy, but I don’t use that anymore.  

Monday, November 9, 2015


I usually make chicken stock twice a year.  It's a putzy thing to make and takes about 8 hours, start to finish.  But it's delicious and makes everything taste better (see Rule #3).  We always have cartons of store-bought stock in the pantry and use it regularly, but the home made stuff is much better.

It's simple and pretty forgiving:

  1. Chop up vegetables.  You can use all sorts, but start with the classic mirepoix, carrots, onions, and celery.  You can add leeks, chives, garlicscapes, bell peppers, fresh herbs, etc.  It's a good way to use up old vegetables.
  2. Roast chicken parts.  Or not.  I do, but you don't need to.  I save parts (wing tips, backs, necks, gizzards (but not livers) etc) and freeze them.
  3. Saute vegetables in a large stock pot.  A stock pot differs from a Dutch oven in the ratio of height to diameter.  A stock pot is tall and skinny and a Dutch oven is short and wide.
  4. Add the chicken
  5. Toss in some herbs: oregano and peppercorns and anything else you like.  Thyme is good.  So is sage.
  6. Add water to cover.  I put a basket steamer in on top to keep everything submerged
  7. Simmer for about 6 hours.  Don't let it boil vigorously or it will make the stock cloudy.  Add water to maintain the level.  Add some parsley and celery for the last half hour.
  8. Remove most of the solids and filter through cheesecloth.
  9. Let is sit so that the fat comes to the top.  Remove the fat however you can.  I have a 6' piece of Tygon tube and I siphon the stock into a different container.
  10. Store in 1 and 2 cup containers and freeze.  Be sure to put the date on the containers.

Monday, July 6, 2015

June 2015 Month of Meals

When it's warm I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, so meals are pretty straight forward.  But we do get a lot of good produce from our CSA and the farmers' markets.

.We eat a lot of asparagus!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Farmers' Market & CSA

This weekend the Wauwatosa farmer's market opens.  There are a couple others that have started already, but most don't open until mid-June.  We're excited about that.  We don't go every week but probably make it to three out of four.

Our CSA, Springdale Farm, will start making deliveries June 5th.  That's pretty early!  The farmers are all very happy with the weather that we've had: just the right amount of rain and they were able to plant early.

This is our 14th year as members of "our" farm.  It's hard to imagine not belonging.

They've added some additional acreage and have some opening for new members.  It's been a while since they've had openings.

 The Seeley's, owners of Springdale Farm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our 13th Year With Our CSA

Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers' Markets:  We love them both!

Dear Laurie and Matt,

With this email we acknowledge receipt of your check; you are signed up for the 2015 season!

We will notify you again shortly before the vegetable deliveries begin, which we expect will be in the second or third week of June.

Until then, have a great winter!

The Seelys

Springdale Farm
W7065 Silver Spring Ln.
Plymouth, WI 53073

Friday, February 20, 2015

We Bought A Lamb

Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm is a lamb farmer that we often buy cuts from at our farmers' market.  We love lamb, and decided to buy a whole one from them.

I don't know much about the cuts you get from butchering an animal, but the were very helpful in walking me through it.  We are getting:

  • 2, 2 lb shoulder roasts
  • 2 racks, Frenched
  • 12 loin chops, 2 chops per package
  • 2, semi-boneless legs
  • 2 shanks
  • 4 - 6, 1 lb packages of ground lamb
  • heart, liver, and kidneys
  • bones for stock
They will bring it to the market for us in a few weeks.  That should give me time to figure out what to do with the organ meat.

I can't wait!