Wednesday, February 29, 2012

French Onion Soup

I didn't realize how long it has been since I have cooked anything new!  I have been absolutely beaten down by house hunting.  It is frustrating when you find a gem of a house that has been on the market forever, put an offer on it, and have some other butthead swoop in and steal it.  I feel like this hunt for a house has consumed my entire soul.  At work?  Looking at houses online.  Off of work? Driving around to look at houses.  Sleeping?  Having nightmares about never finding a house.  Waking?  Having much more sensible fears about never finding a house.  Also, apparently to get a house with a good kitchen you need to have a mortgage 25k more than ours.

To wrap this story up, I just want to say that I haven't been spending as much time in my own kitchen as I have in the kitchens of strangers.  Dinner for us lately has been: a big bowl of popcorn, hamburger patties without a bun and other fun burger things, and restaurants that we have groupons for.

This soup has been the first meal in a long time that I have actually invested more than five minutes into, and it's fabulous- and healthy.  It also changed my opinion on swiss cheese being gross.

Recipe from Ellie Krieger

  • 2 small leeks- remove the green top, cut the remaining leek in half and slice thinly
  • 3 yellow onions- finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A few slices of whole wheat bread
  • Swiss cheese- about 1 cup shredded
Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat- add the leeks, onions, thyme, and bay leaf.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally until the leeks and onions have caramelized/browned.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir.
Add the white wine, beef broth, and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 more minutes- this reduces the soup
Toast your bread and then tear into large chunks
Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the toast and swiss cheese.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Back in the day when I was a nerve-wracked obsessive compulsive little kid I would ONLY order mozzarella sticks when I went out to eat with my family.  I would also attempt to get to a certain destination - say the bathroom- in a certain amount of strides.  I have become less weird over the years.  I still really like mozz sticks.

I've attempted to make my own before, but I made a few mistakes.  I have since then altered my method and this is a fail-proof way to make delicious cheese sticks.  For loyalty reasons I used Crystal Farms Wisconsin Mozzarella Cheese sticks (since Minnesota isn't cool enough to have their own) which worked quite well, but I'll be trying out different cheese varieties in the future to see if I can find the perfect type.

This is a plan-ahead kind of snack since you need to freeze the sticks.  I usually am an instant gratification kind of person when it comes to food, but it was nice to be able to get back from doing stinky horse chores, preheat the oven, hop in the shower, throw cheese sticks in, do my hair and in ten minutes have lunch.
Cheesey goodness

  • 10 mozzarella cheese sticks 
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 2 eggs- lightly whisked until homogenous
  • ~2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
*The process is simplified if you put the flour, egg, and bread crumbs in their own bowl that is wider than the cheese stick.
  1. Roll each cheese stick in flour until the entire surface has been thinly coated
  2. Dunk the cheese in egg- make sure to get the ends!
  3. Gently bury the cheese in the breadcrumbs
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3
  5. Freeze the cheese sticks- this is a crucial step and must be done for at least a couple of hours 
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  7. Place the cheese sticks on a pan lined with tin foil and bake 5 minutes on each side
  8. Eat immediately- mozzarella cheese sticks are not meant to be slowly savored!