Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009

Oh, dear....I have such apologies to make !

One of my favorite sayings is "Man makes plans and God laughs." I had such grand ideas for yesterday's blog here. Right from the start, omens began presenting...first, the batteries in the digital camera were all dead as a doornail. And I had laid out my beautiful handcrafted wood cutting board and French knife, lying next to 3 sticks of real butter, and a handful of the more beautiful onions. It was a beautiful still life.

I went to get the camera, and -dead batteries. I put in the spare set, and - dead too. I went into the spare room where we keep all sorts of batteries, in all sorts of sizes. None were the AA size I need. I took the right sized batteries out of the remote for the dvd player. I knew they had been in there a while, but they worked. I put them into the camera, and they didn't have enough juice to even zoom out the lens all the way before shutting off the camera. Exasperated, I put the rechargeable batteries into the charger and plugged it in.

So then, I thought...well, I'll go ahead and cut up the onions and just take some pictures of the soup while the onions are caramelizing, or after it's all done and looking all wonderful in one of my Fiesta bowls. I got the onions all sliced, put the butter into the soup pot and dumped all the onions in on top.

I used about 5 pounds of yellow onions, peeled and cut in half and then sliced into strips about 1/4 of an inch wide. (I like to FEEL my onions when I eat them in this soup--any thinner than this and they start to disappear. lol) But hey--you do what you like. Remember Rule #1: There are no rules in cooking that can't be broken sometimes.

Melt a stick and a half of butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot. (And shame on you if you use aluminum cookware). I have a choice of my stainless steel one or a cast iron Dutch oven. I love them both.

Dump in the sliced onions, turn the fire on low and stir. Keep stirring every now and then. With this much onion, it takes awhile for the caramelizing to begin. You just continue to cook them until you think they're way overdone...and then you cook them some more. At the stopping place, they will be all dark brown and gooey. Perfection!

I must interject to say at this point, plans changed. A knock on my door, and a man near tears saying he had just hit my littlest dog, and he was sure he had killed her. I turned off the stove, grabbed my coat (5 degrees outside) grabbed a flannel sheet off the shelf and followed him out. She was not where he had left her, he said there's no way, I hit her hard and square on. We looked, his brother helped look, and finally after half an hour, I sent him on his way. I would keep looking. I was so sorry for him as much as for's a horrid feeling to take the life of an innocent animal. As I trudged, crying, back up through the yard, something made me turn and look and there she was, huddled under my husband's little truck. I couldn't reach her. I struggled with what to do. She had started shivering in the cold and I'm sure she was in shock as well. There were injuries I could see and she couldn't crawl out to me as I called her. So--I went into the garage and found a broken down cardboard box and crawled under the truck from the back, under the bed. I scooted the cardboard ahead of me and got close enough to wrap the flannel sheet over her back and legs. I couldn't tell what was hurt...I assumed it was back and hips, pelvis maybe. I got the backboard under her about 2/3 of the way, and holding the flannel sheet in one hand and the cardboard in the other, slowly pulled her out from under the truck and carried her inside the house. My husband was at work and his cell phone was in the car. My neighbors weren't home. I cried and prayed and tried to check her out. I didn't know if she would live til he got home in 2 hours, but all I could do was talk to her and pet her and cry. I got another old coat of mine that was hanging in the mudromm and used that to cover her up as well. I knew that if she was in shock I needed to keep her warm. [We waited to see if she would live through the night. Hubby and I took turns laying out here with her, encouraging her and loving her and giving her little sips of water. This morning, first thing, we took her to the animal hospital about 30 miles form here. They xrayed her and are going to sedate her so they can stitch her up. They sent the xrays off to a radiologist, but the initial look by the vet says there are no broken bones. It's a miracle.]

I turned the stove back on and got the onions going again. I debated making the rosemary/garlic bread, and decided that if I used the bread machine, I could do it. I will share that recipe tomorrow.

At this point, you are ready to add enough water to cover the onions. If you care to, use beef broth as well. I prefer to use a magnificent vegetarian beef -style boullion that comes from Australia called Massels. It is without a doubt the best boullion I have ever used. It has all natural ingredients, it has very low sodium. And in a pot this size, I usually put 4 cubes in. I then add fresh ground black pepper, and simmer the soup for 45 minutes or so.

You can serve it with bread or croutons in the bottom of the bowl and some wonderful gruyere cheese on top, or just plain with some warm bread and butter...peasant style.

It's easy. It's nutritionally sound. It's inexpensive to make (especially compared with what you pay in restaraunts). And it is one of the most soul satisfying dishes in the world.

Onions have a natural antibiotic ingredient in them, as does garlic. It's called allicin. It's praises are sung far and wide for alleviating viruses and helping lower cholesterol and preventing heart attack an d stroke. It also contains a substance called quercetin, an antioxidant and cancer fighting ingredient. And lastly, an onion contains as much Vitamin C as an orange.

An update: Little baby Caylee is staying overnight at the animal hospital so they can make sure she is able to use the bathroom on her own. The vet called and said she is doing well otherwise, although the radiologist they sent the films to called back to say that although there are no broken bones, the little wings on the sides of a couple of her vertebrae have small fractures in them. She will require indoor bed rest for at least 4 weeks. We'll do our best.

Bon Apetit!

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