Monday, January 15, 2007


My youngest sister is a freshman in college and living in her first apartment, so she's just beginning to cook for herself and learn the little, stupid lessons that you just don't have to until you're faced with them. I remember going through that, and remember the minor revelations about the fact that you don't have to cook everything on high heat, or that salt is really important for bringing out the flavors in food, or that you just have to be patient when you're reducing a sauce or waiting for meat to brown.

I made french onion soup last night, which is an excellent example of how patience is rewarded. It's one of the few things I cook that takes hours of sitting on the stove, stirring occasionally, and waiting until a little past the point where I think things have gotten overcooked. I took some pictures of the caramelization process of my onions, which took at least an hour and a half for a small batch (two large onions, a teaspoon and a half of salt, and one crushed clove of garlic) at medium-low heat.

By picture three, it was getting tempting to add the beef broth and thyme and white wine, but I ate a hunk of pepper jack to quiet my stomach, and gave it the time it needed. The finished soup was the perfect compliment to a fried egg sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mayo and mustard.
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