WORDLESS WEDNESDAY – Sky Art

SkyArt

THE ORIGINAL FAMOUS & BARR FRENCH ONION SOUP RECIPE

WinterMornings Well, it has reached that time of year when your kitchen window will greet you with a very gloomy and chilly morning view. The kind of day when you long to eat something that will not only warm you up, but also cuddle your tummy. Here in the Wicket City we once had such at dish. It was the French Onion Soup served in the restaurants in the Famous & Barr Department Stores. It was a Saint Louis tradition that originated in the 50s or 60s when it was created by a Swiss chef the department store had hired to oversee the operation of their restaurants. The recipe was first printed in the food section of the Post-Dispatch and I clipped it out and added it to my recipe file.

For new-comers or visitors to the Wicket City — the Famous & Barr Department Stores are a thing of the past. They are all Macy’s stores now, and in-store restaurants have all vanished. Damn those food courts. But never fear, I’m going to share my copy of the original recipe. Be forewarned, it does take a little effort to make the soup — nut the fantastic taste makes it well worth it. Also, the recipe has never been cut down, so you’re going to end up with about four quarts of soup or 16 servings. The soup does freeze very well, and it’s always nice to be able to grab a bowl out of the freezer on a cold winter day.

FB FrenchOnionSoupNow the recipe … here’s what you’ll need.

 

First, about five hours of time and a six-quart or larger stock pot
5 pounds unpeeled onions (I go with yellow)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika (Sweet Hungarian is my choice)
1 bay leaf
14 cups (almost four 32 oz cartons) beef broth (low sodium if desired)
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup flour
Brown Gravy Sauce or Kitchen Bouquet (for coloring)
2 teaspoons salt
Crusty French bread
Gruyère or just plain Swiss cheese

The most daunting part of the entire recipe is peeling and slicing five pounds of onions. But it does tearfully go fast, also my culinary efforts have grown to include a mandolin slicer.Mandolin

Peel onions, cut in half and slice into 1/8 inch thick slices.

Melt the stick of butter in the stockpot. Add the sliced onions and saute uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Let the aroma fill the kitchen — the smell is wondrous and will make you drool. Remember to stir every so often, because as the onions soften and begin to brown you wouldn’t want them burning to the bottom of the pot. There’s a reason for the long cooking time — you’re cooking the vital essence out of the onions, and bringing out all that is sweet and tasty within them.

Add the pepper, paprika and bay leaf and continue to cook over a low heat while stirring frequently for 10 minutes more.

Add 12 cups of the beef broth and the cup of white wine. Hold the other two cups of broth for the next step. You can also pause for a glass of wine for yourself. You deserve it for all the effort you’ve put in so far. Increase heat until the soup comes to a boil.

Now dissolve the 3/4 cup of flour in two cups of broth you held back. When fully dissolved, pour into boiling soup while stirring.

Reduce heat and simmer slowly for two hours more.

If your onions browned correctly, the soup should be a rich brown color. If it isn’t don’t worry — you can use a bit of Brown Gravy Sauce or Kitchen Bouquet to adjust the color of your soup. But go easy on the Kitchen Bouquet because too much can change the taste of your soup.

Now is the time to taste your soup for salt. Go sparingly on the salt, because we really don’t need as much salt as we think we do.

If you made the soup the day before, refrigerate over night.

When you’re ready to serve, reheat the soup. Pour individual servings into ovenproof bowls. Top each bowl with a toasted slice of the crusty French bread. Sprinkle grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese on the bread. Heat under the broiler until the cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Now enjoy your soup, or better yet invite your friends over and share … you’ve got enough soup for 16 of them!

And if you’re one of those people who can’t boil water or you’re in a hurry, Trader Joe’s offers a passable frozen French Onion soup you can throw in the microwave. Don’t expect the to-die-for flavor of the soup you cook from scratch.

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter!

WinterWoodLATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN FOREST PARK

The sun was shining brightly … the sky was a deep cereulian blue … and the trees were noticeably bare … even though the solstice is officially still three weeks in the future, all of the indicators say it is already here!

Rob’s Random Ramblings And Observations – 11/29/2014

 

 

WORD PRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CONVERGE

This week, explore the ways lines and shapes can converge in interesting ways through photography. You can take the theme in a literal or an abstract direction, as you see fit — from a photo of a byroad merging into a busy highway to an image of an airport terminal where people from all over the world form hectic, ephemeral communities. {For more information, click HERE!}SLAM

My subject for today’s photo is one of Saint Louis’ classic buildings the Saint Louis Art Museum. It was designed as the PALACE OF FINE ARTS for the 1904 World’s Fair by Architect Cass Gilbert who used the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy as his inspiration. The photo shows the Grand Hall as seen from the identical center bay on the other side of the hall.  I don’t know about convergence, but there is a lot of play with the reflections in the marble floor. Feel free to click on the photo to see a more detailed view of the photo.

THANKSGIVING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR!

Thanksgiving Turkey  I have always spent Thanksgiving surrounded by family. And this year was no different … I was again invited to share the bird with my younger brother and sister-in-law and their children and grandchildren.DSC00824

Naturally, Mlle. Renee didn’t like the idea of being left home alone with a few of her favorite play toys. Notice the fearful look on the stuffed fallen star who had just seen the unstuffed squirrel and bear. He wasn’t too keen about staying home with Renee and her unstuffed pals either.  But, after promising to bring a bit of turkey home for her I was allowed the get dressed. So as an unforecasted snow began to fall, I packed up my contribution to the family feast (fresh-baked dinner rolls and Carrot/Pineapple Orange Jello Salad) and headed off into the woods of the far western burbs.

I arrived to discover my great-niece and great-nephew working in the Kiddy Kitchen cooking up a storm of their own.

DSC00826Don’t know what they were cooking, but apparently they had to wear safety goggles to cook it. My sister-in-law was a bit luckier as her dinner was either in the oven or on the stove taking care of itself. Also, she didn’t have to wear goggles to do her cooking.  She was also able to take a break for a little family game session.DSC00825

And she was winning.DSC00831

My brother was playing on the floor with his grandkids. DSC00827Then Little Luke had discovered something better to play with on the floor.

DSC00830

It was the velcro strap on my lazy-man shoe, and he began to open and close it for just about 479 times.  Thankfully, the dinner finished cooking itself and we prepared to eat. We were seated at two different dining tables.DSC00829

This one was rather historic because it celebrated its 77th birthday this summer. It was the original dining table of my mother and father. My brother restored it several years ago. (They made furniture to last in the 30s.)  I was seated at the other dining table with the rest of the family. Which is why I didn’t take a picture of that table.

Naturally, dinner was fantastic and we all gobbled it up like turkeys!  And then we just sat around …DSC00832

… waiting for our dinner to settle down to allow for dessert!DSC00834

When I got home, Mlle. Renee gave me one of those It’s About Time looks that really means, “So, where’s my TURKEY!’GoofyTurkey

“That’s all, folks!”

This Thanksgiving dinner story starred one brother, one sister-in-law, four nephews, four nieces, two great nephews, two great nieces, Mlle. Renee, one very big turkey and me.

 

 

WORD PRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: ANGULAR

What does angular mean to you? It might mean the corner on which you live or the intersection of sea and sky at a 180 degree angle. Angular also offers a chance to shoot from an entirely new perspective: from above, below, or even from the margins of the fray. {For more information, go here!}

anglesDSC00486

In September I decided to take a photograph that would contain as many angles and geometric shapes as possible. Here it is with all the shadows and drain pipes. Enjoy! Let me know what count you come up with.

 

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: OSKER

Oscar3 1

{CAPTION NEEDED}

MONDAY … With A Few Of My Favorite Things!

I decided to start the week off with something a little different. I’m sharing photos of five of my favorite things, and I hope you enjoy them too! BlackKnight

STRIDING MAN – Rudolf Belling

A dark figure about a foot tall that I always pass in the narrow corridor when I move from the new addition of the art museum into the original museum building. I think of him as my dark knight.

roman-mosaic

ROMAN BOY – MOSAIC FRAGMENT

I’m amazed with the eyes of the boy in this mosaic fragment. It was found in a 2300 year old Roman city between Turkey and Persia.

ManholeCoverA CEMENT MANHOLE COVER WITH A FISH

This is on a sidewalk in West Walnut Manor. When I was a kid all manhole covers were made of  heavy steel. Unfortunately people began stealing them to sell for scrap metal leaving an open hole people could fall into. Cement is cheap, and the fish is to remind people the sewer is for runoff water and not garbage.WarthogParade

THE PARADE OF THE WARTHOGS

This is one of the many animal sculptures in the parking lot of the Saint Louis Zoo. The biggest one is of an actual sized elephant seen below.

ZoofariThat’s my best friend Mr. Bill standing in front of it. Bill is also my oldest friend. He has been for over fifty years.SLAM GrandHall

THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM GRAND HALL

It was originally known as the Sculpture Hall and it is in one of the most historic buildings in the city. And it has been standing at the top of Art Hill for 110 years. I love to wonder through this building. It’s one of my favorite things, too.

INTO THE WOODS … A TALE OF TWO SEASONS IN TWO DAYS!

There’s a saying in West Walnut Manor … if you don’t like the weather today, just come back tomorrow! And that’s the way the weekend started on Saturday morning. The sun was out, and it was a picture of FALL all over the place.

GoldenrodThe GOLDENROD was in full bloom!

IntoTheWoods1

And the leaves were still falling …IntoTheWoods2

Or totally fallen!

As the morning dwindled, so did the sun. And by afternoon the sky filled with dooming, gloomy clouds. As the afternoon gave way to evening, little balls of sleet began to fall covering the ground with a blanket of white. By Sunday morning it had all melted.

By noon today Winter arrived, and it started snowing! WinterWoods

First covering the branches and never-say-die leaves that remained on them …WinterWoods2

And then moving on to cover the ground and the leaves I didn’t get raked up because it was too cold to go outside.

Right now in mid-afternoon we only have a little over an inch of snow on the ground. But it is expected to continue falling through the evening and night.

So, what’s left to do …SnoDazeStickyBuns

… Other than baking SNO-DAZE STICKY-BUNS! A wonderful combination of butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon and white chocolate chips — just the treats needed to go with a cup of hot cocoa.

WORD PRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – ACHIEVEMENT

This week, show us a photo that says “achievement” to you: people meeting a long-worked-for goal. Something tangible you’ve created. A view from a journey you’ve completed, or the stating point of a journey not yet made or a project you hope to finish. We look forward to being inspired!  For more information, go here!ACHIEVEMENT

The first achievement a little boy must master to get a little girl’s attention is a show of  brute strength!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 325 other followers