A Gluten-Free Blog for the Taste Full World

Caramelized French Onion Soup February 20, 2010

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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.


International Soups & Stews edition of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! January 31, 2010

I hope your bags packed, your ticket purchased and your passport is up to date, because it’s time to take a tour of the world!


I mean, I hope your stock pots are washed, your table cleared and your bowls and spoons are ready and waiting because it’s time to bring the world’s best gluten free soups and stews into your kitchen!

First, I would like to thank everyone who participated in this month’s theme.

I also want to thank Naomi for starting this whole thing and continuing to organize hosts and themes.



Alright. Ladles and appetites ready?



Let’s start in my home region with some Southwestern style Tortilla soup from “The Gluten Free Diaries.” This is just the thing for a cold night after a long day.

Chili style stews are classic, as is tomato soup.

Although the origin of tomatoes in soup is probably English or French,

possibly Italian- the tomato itself probably comes from Peru. So that’swhere we’ll head to pick some of those ripe red fruits (unless you’re in the US, where they are legally vegetables). Juanita from “There can be only Juan” provides the recipe for this old favorite.

From Peru, we continue south and east. On your left you will see the 1,000+ Polynesian islands in the south and central region of the Pacific Ocean. From here, Shirley at “Gluten Free and Easy” has brought on board her Polynesian Sweet & Sour Stew. With thick, hearty with big chunks of vegetables, sausage and a tropical flare, this is sure to become a regular comfort food.

Chaya, the Comfy Cook, leads us north to Asia next. Her “Emerald stir-fry” will pair nicely with this flight’s complimentary side of rice. Crisp green veggies, plus beef in a rich, dark sauce is sure to keep me happy!

Now that we’ve crossed International Date Line, it’s safe to say we are now heading west. Smell anything delicious? Wafting up is the smell of a couple billion people cooking a myriad of tasty, yummy things. Although we don’t have time to stop, I will offer up an Indian inspired recipe of my own. India is one of the leading sources of pumpkin and turmeric is commonly featured in Indian curries. My Spicy Pumpkin soup will warm your mouth and your stomach through the in-flight movie.

If you thought you were full, don’t recline your seat for a nap just yet. When you smell Naomi’s next recipe, your belly will make room. Her Persian “Cinnamon Scented Beef Dumpling Stew” looks incredibly inviting.

While we’re in the area, how about sampling some “Persian Pomegranate & Walnut Stew” from For the Love of Food? Served over rice, the fresh Pomegranate provides a burst of flavor, sweetness and bite. Yum, yum!

As we head over to Europe, grab your sweater from the overhead compartment or request a blanket from the flight staff; it’s going to get cold outside.

To keep you warm, Bean from Without Adornment is dishing up some “Swedish Meatball Stew“. This winter favorite is an all-in-one meal with plenty of protein and a variety of vegetables.

As the plane detours south to Spain, curl up with a sunny cup of “Tofu & Pinto Bean soup” from Iris at The Daily Diatribe. With its bright colors and clear broth, its a reminder for those of you from snow-locked cities that eventually, the sun will shine again.

We have one more stop in the Old World, and that’s up to Brittain for something very traditionally English: roast beef. Over at Live Once Juicy, we’re having “Slow Cooker Roast Beef“. I imagine this is the kind of thing we’d find at a tiny, out of the way pub where they’ve been making stew this way for centuries. Enjoy it in a dark booth with an ice cold pint of whatever is on tap.

Tracee, from Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes brings us back to this side of the Atlantic. Her “New England Clam Chowder” is a warm welcome for us, the weary travelers, and now we just need to find some GF oyster crackers to accompany this traditional northeastern treat.

As we land, safe, sound and almost satiated, Wendy, the Gluten Free Greenie (which I read first as Geenie), tempts us with one last stew. Her “Autumn Stew” recipe is full of all the things that we love about home: it’s warm, its comforting and it comes with biscuits.

Now that we have sampled some of the best soups of the world, we have to wonder- what’s next?

Find out tomorrow over at “Without Adornment” I, for one, am waiting eagerly for info on February’s edition of Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free!


Spicy Pumpkin Soup (GAHIGF)

This recipe is true to my attempt to maintain the no-fuss style of cooking I enjoy on a daily basis. I could fancify it by roasting the pumpkin myself, which could do wonderful things for the flavor. I could add other squash to mix things up, but I leave these additions, deletions and modifications in your capable hands.

I believe recipes are meant to be individualized. Take a look at some of the most used cookbooks that belong(ed) to older relatives. Are there notes in the margins? If we approach our recipe collections as sacred texts, we’ll miss out on new, creative, simpler, easier, more fun, faster, more impressive, etc., ways of making our favorite foods. The authors of cook books may know a lot about food; they may bring us some fantastic flavor combinations, but they aren’t perfect. Even if they are the best chefs in the world, they don’t have the same tastes and preferences as you do. Maybe you can’t stand cumin, or maybe you love it more than the author of this recipe. Even if it calls for 1/8 tsp, you get to decide if a little more or a little less improves the flavor as you experience it.

I say, try the recipe as it is (barring any strong dislikes or allergies), and then modify it from there. The recipe I have for Asian slaw simply does not work without lime juice (as far as I am concerned)- the flavor is drastically different if you use lemon juice instead. However, there are other times where you could make substitutions that are just as tasty, if not better suited to your preferences, as the original.

For today, here is a recipe that is easy to modify and scale up/down for portions. It’s also my submission for this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free!

Ingredients: (makes 1-2 servings)

1 C canned pumpkin puree

3/4 to 1 can coconut milk (~12 oz can)

1 tsp grated or minced ginger


Cayenne pepper

Sriracha sauce

Lemon or Kosher salt

Melt a chunk of butter (or splash of oil)  in a pot and add pumpkin. Heat through, stirring constantly.

Stir in coconut milk to desired consistency. (I liked it on the thinner side)

Add seasonings to taste, heat through and serve.


Teaser for “Go Ahead Honey”– Quick & spicy comfort soup January 27, 2010

I will still take submissions for “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free” through tomorrow and will post everything by Sunday.

It may not be snowing here, and the rain storms have passed, but it’s still chilly outside. I am cozying up with a cup of the soup I made for my submission this month. What is it? You’ll find out this weekend. In the mean time, I have a quick, but impressive recipe that heats up well and stretches out a box of pre-made soup.

Creamy Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

1 part boxed butternut squash soup from Trader Joe’s (or your equivilent favorite)

1 part milk and/or cream (depending on your desired thickness and fat content)

Tabasco/southwestern hot sauce of your preference (I used Tapatio’s, but use what you like)

Mix and heat.

I use this recipe as a way to double what I get out of the prepared soups which can be on the expensive end if you’re buying one that’s wheat and sugar (i.e. corn syrup) free.  It’s easy, it’s quick, hot, filling, delicious and fairly healthy. Plus, if the boxed soup is good (and TJ’s version is), this will taste like you picked, peeled and roasted the squash yourself.

Come back this weekend for the unveiling of some fantastic soups and stews!