The other day, Charlie Louie from Hotly Spiced made my asparagus and potato tart and wrote about our friendship. I was really moved by that and was determined to pass on the love. I think we all should. Helping someone else always ends up with good karma. So often you see grumbling on blogs, trolls on twitter and frankly some idiots on Facebook.
A local friend of mine, Kylie Huckstepp, is a long time food lover and has had a magazine that focused on good, locally produced food products. It was well written and I looked forward to every issue. The magazine was taken over by new owners a while back and Kylie now has a brand new venture.
What better magazine could you visit than one called Happy Today? It’s filled with things to make you feel good AND there’s some food in there too.
In Happy Today now there’s a lovely interview in the food and drink section with Sydney chef Kylie Kwong. She’s one of my food heroes. The magazine has other sections on health and wellbeing, money, hobbies, travel, the mind, entertainment, cars, art and books. If you’re looking for good writing, interesting articles and raw emotion – check out Happy Today.
Now about those onions. I read somewhere that you couldn’t sous vide onions because as they cooked they gave off a gas that would make the bag explode and that I’d need to saute the onions for a little while and then bag them up before putting in the hot water bath. I wasn’t convinced it would work but I was determined to try.
I sliced the onions with the mandolin and sauteed them in a frying pan for about 5 minutes or just beginning to go translucent. I cooled the onions off and vacuum sealed them in a bag and popped them in the sous vide machine. A sous vide machine doesn’t use a lot of power and that’s a good thing because I left those puppies in there for 24 hours. They went in as translucent onions with no color and came out the most gorgeous brown and well caramelized.
I proved I could do it. I tried to decide if I was going to make onion jam or French onion soup and went back and forth all day. At 5:30 I realized I hadn’t done a thing about dinner (what is it about social media that makes me lose all sense of time?) so it was French onion soup. Very poorly photographed. I wasn’t going to share this with you but hey, my blog is all about being real and sometimes (most of the time) I’m not perfect.
When I opened the bag of onions the aroma was intoxicating. Okay I’m an onion lover and I’ve never met one raw or cooked that I couldn’t be best friends with so it’s possible that I’m the only one who would swoon over the scent of beautifully caramelized onions. I can’t wait to make some more and do that caramelized onion and roasted garlic jam. Coming soon.
With a bag of onions like this, soup is only about 30 minutes away. I used beef stock from the store, a bit of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf and it was nearly done. The hard work is caramelizing the onions.
- 1 kilogram (2 pounds) brown onions, sliced thinly.
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 4 small sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 stalks of fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 baguette cut into four one-inch slices.
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the butter and oil. When the butter melts add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Don't brown the onions, you only want them to go translucent. When that begins to happen, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so but don't let the garlic brown.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Preheat sous vide machine to 85C / 186F
- Vacuum seal the cooled onions and place in the sous vide machine and leave them there for up to 24 hours. The length of time determines how long you leave them in the water bath. Mine stayed 24 hours and came out a rich dark color.
- When the onions are done you can remove and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (perfect for dinner party preparations)
- If you're going to make the soup right away, add the onions to a large stock pot on medium heat and bring to the boil. The onions will have some juice in the cooking bag.
- Add one ladle of stock and cook for a few minutes to reduce and add another ladle of stock and repeat one more time until you've reduced 3 ladles of stock.
- Add the remainder of the stock and the herbs tied with some cooking twine. Cook for 30 minutes and then taste for seasoning.
- I can't tell you how much salt to use because stock varies and some is very salty so if I said use a teaspoon of salt it could be like the Dead Sea. Taste the soup. If it needs salt, add some. I used ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
- Place sliced baguette on a grill pan or under the griller/broiler to toast.
- Add soup and top with two slices of baguette and cover with shredded gruyere.
- Place bowls in the oven under the griller/broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Be careful as bubbly can turn to burnt in under a minute. Best to watch.
- Serve immediately but the soup will be very hot.
So, who will YOU feature to pass on some blog love?