Bacon wrapped pork loin

I have to give credit to my brother-in-law for this one.  He sent me a link to something wrapped in a lattice of bacon and promised he would help me consume the results.  What can I say, he’s a generous guy!  And full of good ideas!  I didn’t end up following the recipe he pointed out, but I happened to have some bacon and a pork loin in the fridge ready to go.  For the stuffing, I just scanned the old chill chest and found some leftover brown rice, mushrooms and spinach.  He’s not a fan of ‘shrooms, so we’ll have to reprise this one with a different stuffing (twist my arm!).

Here’s how it went down:

Start with the filling, since it’s best if this cool a bit before stuffing.  I had some leftover brown rice, and some uncooked mushrooms, carrots and spinnach.  Then I gathered up some spices and liquids that seemed like they’d fit together.

Saute some onions and carrots in oil then add mushrooms.  Once those look good, add some herbs and maybe a cup of wine along with the rice.

Then add some spinnach – it’ll cook down to virtually nothing.

Take it off the heat and let it cool off a bit.  Now heat your oven to 375 and prepare your meat.  Take a pork loin (not tenderloin, though these two cuts get used interchangeably in a lot of recipes – you’ll need the larger “loin” cut for this) and trim off the fat like-so.

Now you need to cut it open (butterfly, for those in the know) so you can wrap it around your tasty filling.  I mad a long cut about halfway to 3/4 through my loin and opened it like a book.  Then I pounded it a bit to flatten things down.  Now for the good stuff – weave a bacon lattice.

I decided to rub some steak seasoning onto the outside of the pork loin before stuffing.  No pics of the actual stuffing process- my hands were way too messy!  But it went pretty much like you’d imagine.  I flipped the loin over, spread the stuffing mixture all over it, then rolled it up.  Then I draped the bacon over the top, and tied it up with some twine.  Here’s how it looked:

Bake for about an hour at 375, and try not to drool as the heavenly aromas waft around your house.

Let it rest a bit before you slice into it!

The Verdict:  OMG – nom nom nom.  Not for casual fans of bacon.  Or flavor.  Or flavorful bacon smell.  It was pretty awesome re-heated for lunch the next day.  Both the smell and the cool look of the pinwheeled stuffing impressed my co-workers.

Tim’s Chicago rolls – sushi attempt #1

I’ve carried a sushi “cookbook” around for at least 5 different moves in 3 states and, until now, I’ve never used it or any of the cool sushi-making tools that came with it.  I love sushi, it’s just a little bit…exotic!  The raw fish thing…well, one day I’d like to get to know my fishmonger so that I have a trusty supply of definitely-edible raw fish whenever I want it, but that day hasn’t yet arrived.

But there’s plenty of “beginner” sushi that includes safely cooked seafood, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.  I’ve been thinking about making some kind of roll for weeks now.   I had some shrimp in the freezer and, for some reason I don’t fully understand, I picked up the other things I needed over the course of about a month.  I found Nori (sushi seaweed wrapper) in my supermarket’s international aisle.  On another trip I remembered to pick up some wasabi paste.  Then some medium grain rice, a cucumber and an avocado.  Sushi time!

First thing was to get the rice cooking.  My fancy book said to cook with a hunk of Konbu, which Wikipedia tells me is a type of kelp.  I went without and just cooked my rice in the regular way.  I’m told that the way the rice cools down is key.  I’ve seen these giant bamboo steamer things in sushi places where they spread it all out and stir it with a big paddle, also fanning it with the paddle, to cool it off.  I don’t have that, but I do have a biggish tupperware thingy and a kind of flat spatula, so I improvised.  I mixed the rice with some rice wine vinegar and sugar, and kind of pushed it around in my big container until it was pretty cool.  Then I got the rest of my ingredients together.

Here’s a tip: don’t put your rice on the edge of your sink like this! Oops…

I decided to put some carrots in there for crunch, and to mix up a wasabi mayo to make it spicy.  I just steamed the shrimp in the microwave and let them cool before assembling.

Now for the scary part:  putting it together!  Turns out that, after lugging those bamboo sushi mats around for so long, I finally lost them!  Oh well, no worries!  I just used a nice long sheet of plastic wrap under my nori sheet and it worked out fine.  This type of sushi – a roll with the nori on the outside – is called maki.  If you don’t have a helpful book to give you some tips, this website seems pretty helpful:  http://makemysushi.com/

Recipe:

Rice

  • 1 cup of medium grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar with 2 tbsps of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt

Cook the rice as usual, then cool it in a large container by mixing in the vinegar/sugar/salt mixture and gently folding the rice around the container until fairly cool.  Let cool to room temp before making the rolls.

For Tim’s “Chicago” rolls

  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Wasabi paste or powder
  • Mayo
  • Avocado
  • Shrimp
  • Nori

Steam the shrimp (or cook in other ways, but I prefer the clean, grease-free flavor of the steamed shrimp for this), seed the cucumer and cut it and the peeled carrot into long “julienne” strips. Combine some mayo with wasabi to make it as spicy as you like – mine was potent!  Finally, cut the avocado into thin slices.

To assemble, put the nori on some plastic wrap and use your hands to push the rice around the nori sheet, forming a fairly thin layer but leaving some room at one edge.  Keep your hands wet to help in handling the rice – it’s sticky!  Add ingredients and roll it up using the plastic wrap to support the nori as you go. Slice into rounds and serve with some soy sauce.  Take pictures and text them to your friends to impress them with your culinary skills.

Step 1. Put some rice in there, then a stripe of spicy mayo

I diced the shrimp, but it would have been nice as kind of long strips.

To roll it up, start at the end with the rice and filling and roll it away from you (as in the viewpoint below) using the plastic wrap to support the roll.  The nori at the other end (without any rice) will kinda seal on itself once you roll it up.  You can kinda press on it once it’s all rolled up to firm up the roll.

I felt like the first one was a little overstuffed, so I cut down a little on the rice and fillings in the other three rolls.

So, that’s pretty much it!  You’re supposed to have the shiny side of the nori on the outside (you can see the difference in the pic above), but I definitely forgot for one of the rolls, and it turned out okay.  Oh, and cut these into 6-8 pieces with your sharpest knife – use a dull one and you’ll end up tearing it a bit.

The verdict:  It really wasn’t too difficult!  These were soooo good!   I will definitely make this again.  I think the rice wine vinegar in the rice is the flavor that really made this taste like sushi.  I really like the wasabi mayo I put together for this, spicy enough that I didn’t add any wasabi to my soy sauce.  Carrots add a little bit of crunch, which is nice.  I didn’t really “cook” much in this one, but I felt pretty good about it all the same.

Jen and Tim’s jello shots… classy-style

So I admit it.  I’m 28 and I love jello shots.  Not the college version kind, not the shitty vodka or everclear mixed with jello that are barely solid because of the booze.

I mean, those have a time and place (college). But  I love jello shots that that basically taste like a mixed drink in jello form. YUM.  When I stumbled across this idea from Martha Reardon at Not Martha, and Tim saw a similar post, we said… Perfect for New Year’s (which, by the way, is why there’s a bunch of dirty dishes in the background… we were a little pressed for time)!

Grab a lemon or lime, hollow out the fruit.  This was much easier with the lemon than the lime.  I tried to use the “bendiest” knife I could find which helped a good deal.  We tried a couple of different tools to grab the pulp – spoons, forks, different knives – but scoring the fruit with the knife and grabbing the pulp with fingers and kind of ripping it out worked the best.  Keep the pulp for juice.

Rinse out the peels and dry with a paper towel.  Get a muffin tin and crumple some aluminum foil in each of the compartments to help stabilize the fruit halves.

Make the gelatin mixture.  I found that a liquid measuring cup was a good vessel because it was easy to pour the liquid into fruit halves.  Pour the gelatin mixture into the fruit halves.  Refrigerate till firm (~3hrs or overnight).  When they are set, grab a very sharp knife and cut the fruit into wedges. A sharp serrated one worked best for us as it didn’t squish the fruit.

Super easy  and they were a hit!  We did fairly simple cocktails (a margarita in limes and a “citrus” drop in the lemon halves) but you could adapt almost any cocktail recipe to this. Use your imagination and make sure you invite us over to try one!

Citrus Lemon Drops

  • 6 oz package of lemon jello
  • 2  cups boiling water
  • 1 cup orange vodka
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup

Dissolve the jello into the boiling water.  Take off the heat and add the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup.  Pour into the lemon halves.

Margarita Jello Shots

  • 6 oz package of lime jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1/2 triple sec
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

Same directions as above but pour into the lime halves.  This one could have been a bit sweeter, so maybe cut back on the lime juice and add more simple syrup.

Enjoy!

Tim and Jen’s butternut squash soup

Happy New year everyone!  Sorry for the long hiatus.  We’re back now from all of our various holiday travels and ready to talk about some more tasty food!  This post is about one of our favorite fall-winter soups; it’s pretty much the first thing I think of when I see a butternut squash.

Mmmmm....squash soup!

A couple of years ago Jen and I had our first thanksgiving together.  We decided to stay in North Carolina, where we were in the early stages of grad school and cook for ourselves and a bunch of our closest friends.  Of course we would have turkey – the centerpiece of pretty much every table on that special Thursday in November – but the other dishes…there we could get a little creative!  I had never been much of fan of squash.  Then again, my experience as a kid was pretty much limited to pumpkin pie.  Come to think of it – I love pumpkin pie!  I guess I was a fan, I just had no idea what else you could do with those things!  So we did some searching around the internet and picked out this soup.  Partly because neither of us had cooked with squash before and we wanted to try it out .  We had a great time that thanksgiving – in fact, two of our closest friends “got together” for the first time at our place some time between the meal and the Black Friday morning shopping!  Perhaps the squash had an effect on the libido (winky-face)?   This soup has been one of our favorites since the first time we made it.  It’s one of those recipes that we’ve made enough times, we don’t even thinkabout looking at a recipe.  I find soups and stews are like that.  You start with a base – some onions, garlic – maybe some celery, carrots or peppers – then you build it up from there.  This one is pretty simple – just onions and garlic, a little bit of spicy pepper to add some bite, then carrots and the squash, broth and a couple of spices.  The squash is the star – as it should be in a squash soup.  So tasty!  This time, I made a double batch to serve a dozen or so, but we’ll give you the “normal” portions below. You’ll need:

(adapted from Emeril’s soup)

  • 1 med-large onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp cumin
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt, pepper, cider vinegar to taste

Start out with the onions, jalepeno and garlic, then add the carrots:

Making some base flavors with onions, carrots and jalepeno. Do you think I can get GE to sponsor the blog? Their logo is in every "stove" shot.

You can pretty much rough chop everything ’cause you’ll be blending it up later.  As a side note, I like chopping veggies – I find it therapeutic and relaxing.  Is that weird? I roasted the squash in a 350 C oven until it was fork tender, though you don’t have to.  You can just peel it, chop it and throw it in after the carrots.  Then you add the spices and cover everything with stock.  Bring it to a simmer and cook covered at least until everything is softened – 30 minutes should do it.

"before" and "after" simmering

At this point, I usually wander over to the pot, give it a taste, and “adjust” the seasoning – meaning I add a bunch of stuff that’s not in the recipe.  It’s one of the things I like about cooking  - you taste it, figure out what’ll make it taste better, add it in, stir it up and see if it worked out like you thought it would.  I can’t walk past a pot of soup without tasting it and adding something.  I added a little wochestershire sauce (for the added umami), some hot sauce, and some coriander. Then just puree it in your blender until it’s nice and smooth and put back into the pot for some last minute tasting.  We usually brighten it up with a splash of cider vinegar.

Thick soup will make a mess of your stove while simmering!

The verdict:  Great success!  I love the little bit of heat you get from having a jalapeno in there – just a little something on the back of your tongue at the end of every spoonful.  I’ll probably forego roasting the squash next time I make this one.  You get some great toasty flavor notes from the roasting, but I remember the squash having a kind of fresher, brighter flavor when I added it to the pot uncooked.  I may add a little extra jalepeno, raw, right at the puree step – I think that should give me the fresher veggie flavor I’m remembering.  The squash was a little dehydrated by the roasting, so I had to add a bit of water to the final pureed soup to get it to the right consistency.  If you make this for your herbivore (vegetarian) friends, just trade out the chicken stock for veggie stock – also very tasty!

Coming Soon… Jen and I spent our honeymoon in Belize and had a great time documenting pretty much everything we ate so that we could post it here on the blog.  We also took home some Belizan ingredients to try out the home versions!

Tim’s Cranberry pumpkin bread

Cranberry pumpkin bread

I’m having an ongoing love affair with our bread machine!  It’s so easy to put a dough together, and I hardly even dirty any dishes aside from some measuring cups and spoons.  And there’s really nothing like fresh bread!  Seriously, if you’ve been living on the preservative-laden, pre-sliced grocery store stuff, you are missing out on one of the great tastes in life.  Do yourself a favor and bake some – or at least buy some from a bakery!  I’m of the opinion that before sliced bread, the best thing was…bread!

I wanted to make something that felt autumnal and thanksgiving-y, but not something too sweet.  I like the tartness of the fresh cranberries that you can find everywhere this time of year, and pumpkin seemed like a obvious addition to the fall flavors I was looking for.  I wanted this to be a yeast bread rather than a quick bread – like a sandwich bread rather than a muffin.  Something that you could eat with dinner or on it’s own, or maybe use for an interesting left-over turkey sandwich.  Yum!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

I decided to mix these up and knead them using the bread machine’s dough program and then bake them on my pizza stone in the oven.  I added the wet ingredients first – the pumpkin (from a can), the egg and the room temperature butter.   Then the dry stuff – flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar – followed by the bread-machine yeast.

I let these knead up into a nice dough and rise a bit (maybe 45 minutes), then took it out of the machine and folded in the raisins and cranberries.  To get the fruit in there, I stretched it out on my lightly floured counter and pressed the fruit in, then folded it over and lightly stretched it out and folded it over again.   The cranberries were kind of slippery and the dough not that sticky, so this was a little harder than I expected and a couple of the cranberries popped out of the dough and ended up on the floor.  I tried to be gentle here to avoid popping the berries – leave that to the heat!  I formed this into two loaves on a floured pizza paddle and poked the cranberries under the surface so they wouldn’t burn, then set it out to rise for about an hour.

Dough set out to rise on the left. On the right - fresh out of the oven. It smelled great!

I slid this into my preheated 350 F oven onto my pizza stone.  Once I had them in there, I splashed about a cup of water onto the bottom of the oven to generate some steam.  I’m told the moist heat generated this way gets you a nice crust!  It makes sense to me – humid air should transfer the heat more effectively.  I think most bakers do this with a spray bottle, but I didn’t have one handy and my method seemed to work just fine.  These baked for 35 minutes.  I took the loaf on the left to a Thanksgiving dinner party with some co-workers (I think it looked a little nicer) and kept the one on the right for later.

The verdict:  This turned out pretty good, and got some rave reviews from my co-workers, but there’s room for improvement next time.  First, this could have used some more time to rise.  The bread wasn’t too dense, but I jumped the gun when I got anxious to get this into the oven!  I’ll let it double in size before baking next time – I found a very similar recipe that recommended 1-1 1/2 hours for the second rise which is up to twice as long as I gave it!  As for flavor, I really like the how tart the cranberries are, especially in contrast to the sweet raisins and the rest of the bread is really tasty, but not too sweet!  I might add some more raisins next time too, though that might turn this into more of a sweet, dessert bread.  Right now, I’m enjoying having it plain for breakfast a slice at a time – it’s so tasty, no butter or jam is required!  The pumpkin gives it a little bit of an earthy taste that really contrasts nicely with the tart cranberries and the sweet raisins.  The cinnamon and nutmeg sit in the background, complementing the other flavors, but not obvious unless you’re looking for them.  As an added bonus, it looks really festive!  I might make this one to impress the inlaws over Christmas – Jen’s parents won’t know what hit ‘em!

Tim’s sweet potato rolls

Sweet potato rolls!

Breadmachines are awesome.  I know they are the stereotypical wedding gift to re-gift, but I’m really loving ours!  I’ve never been much of a baker – one of the things I like about cooking is tasting, deciding what’s missing or what might be a good addition to the flavors that are there, then adding some other ingredients and tasting how they fit in.  It’s a near-instant feedback thing.  Baking is different.  You have to wait until it’s done and there’s no adjusting at that point.  It feels…less forgiving.

But the breadmaker makes it a little bit less of an initial time investment.  You just pour in the ingredients, push a few buttons and it mixes and kneads the dough.  Then you can either pull it out of the machine to bake in the oven, or just bake it in there!  Five minutes of measuring and button pushing then 3 hours later you have some fresh baked bread!  Awesome!

So I’ve made a handful of breads in the machine – simple ones like french bread and rye bread.  When I was invited to a lab-mate’s thanksgiving dinner along with around a dozen other co-workers, I thought I would try something a little different.  Dinner rolls.  I figured sweet potato would make these especially seasonal.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed or pureed cooked sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter plus a little for the tops when the rolls come out of the oven
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

I microwaved a medium sized sweet potato for around 5 minutes (until it was fork tender), then mashed it with the parenthetically mentioned fork.  I added this and the wet ingredients – milk, butter and egg – and then dumped the dry stuff on top.  The yeast goes on the very top – careful not to get wet (according to my bread maker’s instructions).

Ingredients become a dough

The machine kneaded this up for 20 minutes or so, then let it rise for around an hour.  I tore off chunks weighing in around 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 ounces rolled them into balls and put them into a 9 x 13 inch, greased pan.  Then I let them rise for another 45 minutes under some plastic wrap before uncovering them and baking at 375 F for 25 minutes.

From top to bottom: dough set in the pan, after rising, and right out of the oven! I brushed them with some butter while they were still warm.

The verdict:  These turned out pretty great!  I’m surprised I managed to only eat one before packing them up to transport to my friend’s Turkey day dinner.  They were nice and flaky, and you could taste a little bit of the sweet potato flavor.  Not overpowering, but a nice accent flavor.  “Professional bakery quality” I was told!  These may end up being a thanksgiving standard!

French Onion Soup

Jen:

“I’ll have the french onion soup without the onions” –  a coworker of mine once said. WHAT? Without the onions?!?  They’re so delicious! She says she doesn’t like the texture of the onions, but she loves the rich depth of flavor of the broth.  I don’t get her on the texture, but she’s got me on the broth. Mmmmmmmmmmmm so rich, buttery, and decadent its hard to believe it comes from those make-you-cry onions. Oh but it does, slowly caramelizing the onions lends that depth of flavor that even if you don’t like onions you’ll still love french onion soup (although seriously….leave in the onions!!).  Add to that some thick bread with a good crust and some tangy cheese melted on top – perfection in a bowl and perfect for cool fall day in Chicago. 

Tim:

 I don’t think I’ve ever had french onion soup before.  All those onions are intimidating!  I mean, I like onions – as part of a soup or stew, but the whole thing…?  It sounds kind of old-school to me.   Like from a time before other vegetables were invented. Or maybe just from the fifties.

Anyway, it seems kind of mysterious.  It’s served in these special bowls, and the inside is hidden by this cheesy crust.  What’s under there anyway?  I’m eager to give it a whirl and find out!

Where's the beef?

So Jen and I looked up some recipes to get an idea of the flavor profile.  I figure the base flavor – aside from the onions – is a beefy broth.  We decided to “beef” up our store-bought broth with a cheap cut of beef – maybe add some depth of flavor to the soup that we can’t get from the broth alone.

We splashed a little olive oil in the pot, and browned the beef, then took it out to rest.

The next step is allllll about the onions. (Side note: Just use the cheapest onions you can find, never use the expensive Vidalia onions if you’re going to cook them– it’s a waste.  What makes the Vidalia onions sweeter raw is they have less sulfuric compounds, but those all evaporate when you cook, so cooked Vidalia will taste the same as cooked cheap onion).

We cut up a bunch of onions into long strips

We cooked it on low with the lid on for a while along with a cup of white wine, until everything was softened up, then took the lid off and cranked it to med-high to drive off all the moisture and get the onions caramelized.  We added a teaspoon of sugar to help the caramelization process.  I think we could have done this a bit differently.  Why add the sugar?  We don’t need it to caramelize the onions, just some low heat.   The same with the business of the lid on, lid off.  Maybe it helped us to cook them slowly?  They turned out pretty nice! 

All that kept running through my head at this point was the wedding-favorite song “Shout!” You know the one… a little bit louder now…except with the onions….

We added a little flour so the broth would thicken,  a little more wine (you can never go wrong with more wine), and then 8 cups of beef stock along with the beef we’d browned earlier.  After letting it simmer for a few minutes, we threw in some garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and then walked away for an hour or two while all the flavors starting melding together.   Also it gave us some time to wait for the bread! 

For the crouton portion of this soup, we broke out our wedding-gift bread maker for the first time and made a french bread.  It looks like it deflated a little when we carved the M in the top before it started to cook.  Next time we’ll be sure to carve initials before the bread starts to rise!  It didn’t seem to change the flavor, or even the texture.

After awhile (basically the bread was done and we were hungry), we started to adjust the seasonings- added a bit more salt (dont overdo this– especially if you’re having a cheese crust since the cheese will be salty), some red wine vinegar (just a dash to brighten), another dash of Worcestershire sauce and then it was time to put it all together!

 We cut some squares and toasted them with the broiler.  We served this up in mugs with a parmesan and mozzarella crust – also toasted with the broiler.  Yum!

The verdict:
Tim’s take:   I like onion soup!  The broth ended up very beefy, which I think is a plus.  We ended up skimming a lot of fat off the top of this from the fatty piece of beef we used, so a leaner cut might be better next time.  I’d also forgo the flour used to thicken the soup.  It made the broth cloudy, and I think I’d prefer to have it a little more clear even if it means sacrificing some viscosity.  Also, I found the longer onion strips made it a little hard to get the onions on my spoon without having them slurp off back into the soup.  Next time, I think we’ll cut them in half to avoid this. The hearty bread made a great crouton – thanks Christi and Mike for the bread maker!  I give this effort 4 stars out of 5.  Definitely one to revisit some time!

Jen’s take:  It was good and rich, and filled me up fast!!  Next time I would use a better beef broth (we bought the cheapest one we could find) and maybe half it with chicken stock.  I definitely agree with Tim about the flour.  Without the bread and cheese, the soup was good, rich, buttery, and decadent.  With the hearty bread and the tangy parmesan crust, it was pretty near perfect!  4 stars out of 5!! One to revisit when it gets a little cooler in NC!  

So there you are! Not very intimidating to make at all!

French Onion Soup

Adapted from some conglomeration of this recipe and this recipe.

  • A cheap cut of beef (feel free to omit)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 Large Yellow Onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup dry white wine (more never hurt anyone)
  • 1/4  teaspoon sugar (feel free to omit)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (feel free to omit)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • a dash or two (or three!) of Worcestershire Sauce
  • a dash of red wine vinegar to season as necessary
  • salt and pepper to season as necessary
  • Thick Slices of bread, toasted
  • some cheese (we used parmesan and mozzarella).
Instructions:
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Salt and pepper the beef.  Wait till the oil is nice and hot (like smoking hot!) and then sear the beef on both sides.  Remove and set aside.  If enough fat rendered from the beef, then add the onions, if it’s a little dry, put a little more oil in there before adding the onions. At this point you can add in a little white wine like we did, or not.  Turn the heat low, place the lid on the pot, and let cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, turn the heat up to med-low, take off the lid and let any liquid boil away.  Stir in salt and sugar.  Cook the onions slowly, stirring often until they are a uniform deep golden brown color.  Now stir in the flour (or don’t if you want it to be clear).  Deglaze with more wine, and then add the beef stock, the beef, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring it up to a nice simmer, and walk away.  Come back in an hour or so and adjust the seasonings- some more salt, pepper, or vinegar to “brighten” the flavor – whatever it needs.  Also, feel free to remove the beef, we tried to eat some of it but it was waaaaay too tough, and still pretty fatty.  Skim off any fat that’s on the surface.
Just before you can’t stand it that you haven’t eaten yet, get out your favorite crusty bread and cut it so that it’ll fit in whatever bowl/cup you want to use for soup.  Put the oven on Broil and toast the bread to a nice golden brown color.  Ladle the soup into the cups, top with the bread, and sprinkle a good  handful of grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top.  Throw it all back under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and brown.  ENJOY!

About the Savory Scientists

In short:

Two Scientists who love to cook; sharing our food adventures…with a dash of chemistry thrown in!

By the numbers:
We have:
(1) Marriage License (Oct 16, 2011)
(1) PhD in chemistry (yay Tim!)
(1) PhD in chemistry in progress (keep at it Jen!)
(2) Cities we live in: Chapel Hill NC, and Chicago IL
(1) blog to write about recipes we cook together and recipes we cook apart and any food-related tidbits we run across

In long:
We met in NC during graduate school, dated for 4 years, got married, and promptly had to live long distance! This is the price scientists pay to stay employed. Tim is busy in Chicago in a new post-doc position and Jen is trying to finish up her degree in NC. We love to cook, entertain, and try to recreate dinners we’ve had in restaurants. This is our way of sharing great food with each other and you! Hope you enjoy what you find here. If you have any ideas/comments/concerns/praise contact us at savoryscientists (at) gmail.com

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