Wednesday, January 30, 2013

French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms

I have this amazing friend named Kacie that knows how much I love to cook.  She knows because she's frequently (ok, always) the one that partakes of my creations (as long as there's no chocolate involved...weird, right??--Love you!).  For Christmas she gave me the most perfect gift: a cooking class with her at Charleston Cooks! here in Greenville.  I got to pick the class and I picked the "winter comfort food" class.  The menu consisted of: French onion soup with porcini mushrooms, white cheddar mac & cheese with bacon crumble, balsamic roasted broccoli with parmesan, beef and red wine shepherd's pie, and chocolate pudding cake.  It tasted as good as it sounds!  And it was so much fun!  They showed us how we'd be cooking each recipe then divided the class up and had us all make the recipes on our own.  Then we all got to eat it and had wine included with our meal!  That is my kind of night!  By far, the entire class' fave dish was the French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms.  It was savory and succulent and melt in your mouth AH-MAZING.  Now, my Dad makes a pretty killer French onion soup, but this one was fairly easy (minus the extended time to properly caramelize the onions) to make and I could've eaten the whole pot!  The mushrooms added such a different take on the typical french onion soup, and it was a perfect addition!  You could really taste the vermouth in it too, adding yet another perfect flavor to a classic.  We used gruyere and parmesan cheese melted on top of a baguette...which in itself was amazing, and even more delicious in the soup!  I am DEFINITELY adding this to my recipe stash...and I think you should too!  So, without further ado, here is Charleston Cooks! recipe for French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms.

French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Serves 8

1/2 stick unsalted butter
6 yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
8 ounces porcini mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned
1 cup dry vermouth (red wine)
2 cups chicken stock (don't use bouillon)
2 cups beef stock (don't use bouillon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices of baguette
1 cup gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the onions are brown and softened, about 45 minutes-1 hour.  Add the vermouth to the onions and simmer until reduced by 1/2.  Stir in the chicken and beef broth.  Add the mustard and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the bread out on a sheet pan in a single layer (it's handy to put it on a wire rack on top of the sheet pan).  Top the bread with 1/2 of each of the grated cheeses.  Place in the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Change the oven setting to broil.  Divide the soup into 8 individual, broiler-proof bowls.  Place a piece of cheesy baguette on top of each bowl and add remaining cheese (I think this step was left off by the people who made ours at the class!).  Place under the broiler.  Broil until cheese is bubbling, about 1-2 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Southern Shortbread: The Beginning

I've had a "regular" blog for a few years now...but I kind of let it slip away as I realized all of my five (and that's being nice...) readers probably really weren't all that interested in my ho-hum day-to-day life.   However, I started thinking about how often my friends typically ask me for a recipe...or to re-make a recipe...only to discover I have NO. CLUE. what meal they're talking about!  You see, I L.O.V.E. to cook and bake.  Being a single gal, that usually results in cooking for my friends.  Sometimes I follow a recipe, but most of the time I just kind of make stuff up...and it usually ends up pretty delicious!  But, then when I'm asked to make it again...or I WANT to make it again...I either don't remember making it in the first place, or totally forget what ingredients/spices I added to a dish.  SO, I plan to make this my attempt to document those meals that really jump out.  The one's you eat and it's melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  The one's you say "I have GOT to make that again!"  I'm a self-taught cook.  By no means do I have ANY professional training, but I DO have a Southern grandma who taught MY Momma how to cook...who in turn gave me my basic skills.  My grandma ("Mo") was one of the best cooks in their small little town.  Everyone LOVED Ms. Joy's cooking (and baking!) and she had a LOT of good recipes!  My Mom would always let me hang around the kitchen whenever she was cooking.  I enjoyed watching her cook.  As I got older, she began to let me help her.  Just small things at first.  Cook the pasta.  Stir the spaghetti sauce.  Cook the rice (sidenote: my first solo attempt at cooking rice was a DISASTER.  I quickly learned you actually have to put water in the rice steamer for it to uhhhh, cook.  I'm a genious.)  When I went off to college, I got a little more adventurous.  I started combining ways my Mom cooked the food with spices and changes that I thought of on my own.  Maybe Food Network contributed to my creativity in the kitchen...or maybe it was just in my genes.  Whatever it was, it's made for some pretty tasty meals in my adulthood!  Not to be vain, but my husband (whomever he may be!) is set to be a very happy man!

If you haven't figured it out, the name behind my food blog is a tribute to my Southern and Scottish heritage.  A tribute to my roots, per se.  My Southern grandma and my grandmother that was born in Scotland.  Not only did I grow up Southern, but I also grew up celebrating my Scottish heritage.  Every Christmas my Dad would make his mom's Scottish shortbread recipe...and it's the most amazing thing ever!  My heritage is rooted in cooking in more ways than one.  So, what better name for a food blog?? And I guess, in a way, it also forebodes what types of recipes will be on here.  I love baking AND cooking.  I love cooking traditional good 'ole Southern food, but also gourmet international food as well (French, Mediterranean, Moroccan...the list goes on!)...but I also love to whip up a made-from-scratch batch of cupcakes too!  Southern Shortbread is a mix of all things good...just like the recipes on this blog will be!

I hope this turns out to be beneficial.  That I can pass along some delicious recipes that you'll love as much as I do.  I guarantee you I make things that aren't anything to write home about...and those will be the things that do NOT make it onto the blog!  Ha!  I guess if my Mom ends up being my only reader, I'll at least have the recipes for my own reference!  Here goes!