Mouthgasmic

A Gluten-Free Blog for the Taste Full World

Caramelized French Onion Soup February 20, 2010

Filed under: 1 — Laura @ 8:10 am
Tags: , ,

The first time I tasted French Onion soup was in France and it was over salted.  That was almost 10 years ago and I remained under the mistaken impression that the soup is supposed to be salty, oily, and heavily seasoned with pepper. As much as I love onions, I never thought I would put my lips to a spoon full of the stuff again.

That is, until last weekend. Evan and I love onions, and when he mentioned a craving for French onion soup, I decided to give it a go on my own. Surely, I could avoid the failures of my predecessor? How could a dish so full of onions go wrong?

The first attempt was on Valentine’s day. I skimmed a few recipes and gathered up the most common ingredients that I had on hand. I sliced a big pile of onions (estimating how well they’d cook down into two servings. Answer: 1.5/person for large bowls) and dug up some beef broth, white wine, butter, minced garlic and kosher salt. That is it. No simmering bay leaves, no fresh thyme, no splash of lemon juice, nothing else.

I melted a big chunk of butter in a wide bottomed pot and layered in onions with a few smaller bits of butter and salt. Then I walked away. I poured a drink, and pestered Evan while he tried to prepare that night’s meat dish in peace.

Ten minutes later, I poked at the onions and saw they were caramelizing at the bottom. I tossed them about, both to redistribute the less-cooked pieces and to make sure they were all coated with butter.

When the onions were a soft, golden to dark brown and smelled like heaven, I added the beef broth, a couple glugs of white wine and a hefty spoonful of garlic. I measured by way of saying to myself “does that look like enough broth?” If not, I added a little more broth and tasted in between additions to make sure the flavor wasn’t becoming diluted.

I let the soup bubble away for a while, melding flavors of beef broth and onion and became a magical fusion of love and nourishment. Perfect for a day that’s supposed to symbolize romantic love!

To be traditional, toast some bread (or a comparable alternative) and broil shredded Gruyere cheese on top.

Enjoy, but learn from my mistake the second time I went to make this: don’t skimp on butter, and keep the onions on low temperature– either will result in burned instead of browned onions, and a pouting cook.

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Best spaghetti w/o red sauce February 18, 2010

Filed under: Found Foodies — Laura @ 6:00 pm

I recently stumbled upon this delightful method of preparing pasta and I HAD to pass it on. I follow the Smitten Kitchen blog on my rss feed even though most of her dishes are strictly forboden and not possible to recreate within my dietary guidelines. Nevertheless! I find the occasional adaptable delight and the rest… well, we all have dreams, don’t we?

Check this post out, if just for the mouthwatering pictures. All I had to do was replace the wheat pasta with rice spaghetti and the black pepper with cayenne.

I made the mistake (or maybe it was my crafty intention all along?) of letting Evan have a taste. I ran for a second fork, and it was devoured in less time than it takes to boil a litre of water.

May I suggest pairing this with the previous Caramelized French Onion Soup for a meal that looks impressive, expensive and high maintenance, but actually couldn’t be easier?

 

Cheater’s Enchiladas February 16, 2010

I like enchiladas except for a few things:

I don’t like a lot of sauce because the tortillas can get soggy.

It sometimes feels like too much work to roll them all perfectly and then eating them is a pain if it unrolls.

I like to choose my ingredients- i.e. no bell peppers.

Most red sauce you can buy pre-made has sugar in it or if not, it’s expensive.

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The following recipe is highly customizable and pretty easy to assemble. I did do a bit of extra work because I got a grinding attachment for my stand mixer (best Christmas present ever!)… and I spent the evening of my day off making ground hamburger and little sausage patties. Those I made tiny enough that they take literally 5 minutes from freezer to plate. Later I took the rest of the ground meat and made mini-meatballs.

So, unless you’re grinding the meat yourself, this should take 20-30 minutes to prepare and another 10-15 to toast up in the oven.

Cheater’s Enchiladas (proportions are up to your taste and number of people)

Tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s rice tortillas)

canned tomato sauce

Spices: garlic powder or minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, kosher salt, chipotle powder (for smoke and heat), cayenne pepper or black pepper, whatever else suits your taste buds and compliments your ingredients

ground beef, turkey or chicken

shredded soft cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, jack, etc)

chopped vegetables:

onion

bell peppers

carrots

anything else tasty and a little crunchy

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1. Chop vegetables and set aside.

2. Heat tomato sauce in a small pot with the garlic and spices. Just heat through to blend the flavors. Set aside.

3. Brown meat to just-barely-done. Set aside.

4. Start layering: oil the bottom and sides of your pan so the tortillas don’t stick. Dredge a tortilla in red sauce and use that as your bottom layer. Sprinkle on a mix of toppings and some cheese. Don’t pile it on too thickly or you’ll run out or room in the pan on your first layer (think lasagna). Repeat layers of sauced tortilla, cheese, meat and veggies until you reach the top of the dish.

5. Sprinkle or dregde the top tortilla with cheese (to your cheese density preference) and cover with foil. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes, and uncover for another 2-3 so the cheese gets toasty.

6. Grab a fork and dig in! … just don’t forget to take it out of the oven: no matter how good it smells, the burns aren’t worth it.

 

Guacamole dip February 3, 2010

Guacamole is one of the tastiest and most abused toppings I can think of. If I go to the store, I see sad bags or tubs of pureed avocado, the texture and flavor of which leaves something to be desired. Some restaurants have great guacamole, others… it’s runny and/or it’s flavorless. Also! It’s overpriced. At Chipotle (the restaurant, not the spice), a dollop of guacamole is 2-3 bucks! They don’t even give you a full avocado’s worth either. Since avocados here are 50-90 cents each, I set out to make my own in a way that is easy, a little bit chunky, flavorful and of course, bordering on mouthgasmic.

For approx. 2 Cups of dip:

2 avocados

1 C sour cream or plain yoghurt (amount depends on your prefered texture, consistency, density of avacado flavor)

Cayenne pepper

Garlic powder (and/or minced garlic if you have the time, or a jar of pre-minced)

Optional: minced onion for bite, chipotle powder for smoke

My methods are pretty slaphazzard:

Plop the meat of the avocado into a bowl or stand mixer. If by hand, mash using potato masher or whisk. I have to push the avocado out of the whisk occasionally, but it wasn’t too hard. In the stand mixer, use a whisk attachment and stir on low.

Add other ingredients and mix thouroughly. I like to leave some lumps because they taste good and give the dip some texture.

I could eat a whole batch with some rice crackers, some toasted rice tortillas with beans or salsa to go with it… yummmmm…

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Or, I could plop some attop the enchilladas I made the other night. Evan and I ate them up too quickly, so I forgot to get pictures. This recipe itself was pretty easy, but I did do a little extra work since it was my day off.

I will try to get that recipe up today, otherwise tomorrow.