We are so happy to be home. We are so happy it’s snowing. We are so happy Baby Lulu is feeling a little bit better this morning.
We spent the past weekend and the better part of this week up in Seattle. We watched the Super Bowl with Kyle’s family and some of our close friends. I ate way to many Skittles and Cool Ranch Doritos. It was so much fun to watch the Seahawks win a championship… and that’s probably the only time I have ever (or will ever) talk about football here. On Monday morning Kyle headed downtown to spend the day and night, and Tuesday day visiting brewery accounts, and I headed to my mom’s little house for what I was hoping would be a couple of days to play games with G, cuddle with Lu, and read by the fire. But by late on Monday evening, Lulu was a wreck. She was extremely fussy, touchy, and wouldn’t let me put her down. She woke in the middle of the night with a high fever, chills, and aches. She spent every waking moment glued to me in the Solly Wrap or nursing. She wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep… the poor little gal was absolutely miserable. She’s usually full of pizazz, happy and silly. Gigi kept asking, “What’s wrong with Lulu?” It was really rough. It just breaks your heart to see your little one so sick and sad.
When Kyle finally came “home” to us late on Tuesday evening I couldn’t have been happier to have my amazing husband back to help… not that Lulu would let him hold her. She only wanted me, which was fine with me (although my left arm may never be the same). I kept feeling thankful she only weighs 14 pounds, and that I had brought the Solly along. We packed up and headed out first thing on Wednesday morning, somehow lucking out and avoiding the traffic as hundreds of thousands of Seahawks fans headed into downtown to watch the victory parade. We cruised home, fretting about our lethargic little babe all the way. I took her straight to the doc, who determined she has a nasty virus, although it could be the flu… We were directed to keep her hydrated, and to keep trying to get her to eat something. So that’s what we are doing today. Kyle had to go to work but oh, what I wouldn’t give to have him here with us today.
Last night, after Lulu was sound asleep, I warmed up some French Onion Soup that I’d had the foresight to make ahead of time and freeze. It’s not quite the same warmed up from the freezer, but last night, after the week I’d had, it was just the thing. French Onion Soup is one of my very favorite things. I’ve been making it for years. A couple of things I’ve learned: it really makes a difference how you slice your onions so be sure to do it pole to pole; be sure to really let those onions caramelize into the deepest, richest brown or your soup will be limp and watery; it’s okay to make this soup as an excuse to consume bread that’s been smothered in cheese; once the broth has been added, be sure to let it reduce and thicken; if you’re a vegetarian, this recipe can be made using your favorite vegetable broth in place of the beef broth; eat it with people you love and I highly recommend getting cozy on the couch to watch Funny Face after you polish off the last drops from your bowl. You can take G’s approach, “After dinner I will watch Funny Face and learn about Paris and figure out how I can go there.” I mean, she’s got a a great plan there.
This recipe is pretty easy, and although it takes some time to get the onions nice and caramelized, you don't have to babysit the pot. Just keep the heat nice and low, and come back to check and stir between things. I make it all the time and I hope it becomes part of your regular rotation as well.
6 Tbsp. butter, (3/4 stick)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 large yellow onions, trimmed, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. flour
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 quarts low sodium beef broth (or sub. a rich vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)
freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette*, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Grana Padano or Parmesan, grated
1 cup Emmental or Gruyere, grated
chives, thinly sliced
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, one bay leaf, a pinch of salt and pepper, Cook the onions, stirring often, for about 2 hours, until the onions are caramelized (a dark, rich brown color). Discard the bay leaf and thyme stems.
Add in the wine and dijon. Stir continuously until the wine has reduced and the onions are “dry” again. Reduce the heat. Dust the onions with the flour and stir continuously for five minutes.
Add in the broth and the second bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until the broth has reduced, and the soup has thickened.
Preheat your broiler. Toss the two grated cheeses together in a small bowl. Transfer the soup into ovenproof bowls, top with a layer of bread, sprinkle with a bit of the cheeses. Place them under the broiler, on a cookie sheet, until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.