Martha Mondays: Hearty Onion Soup Gratin

January 10, 2011

I chose Hearty Onion Soup Gratin from Jan Living to get us back into Martha Mondays. It’s basically a French onion soup with turnips and carrots added in. I am a lover of French onion soup and have been making it a lot recently (I had one batch where I didn’t stir my onions enough and a tiny bit burned and turned the whole soup bad).

This recipe was fairly simple:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
4 cups beef stock
4 small carrots, halved lengthwise
3 baby turnips, peeled and cut into wedges or chunks
4 small dried bay leaves
4 large slices of bread
8 slices Gruyere

Heat oil over medium heat in skillet. Cook onions until translucent, about 8 min. Reduce to low and add thyme and cook until golden 35-40 min. Season with salt and pepper

Preheat broiler. Bring stock to boil in pot. Add carrots and turnips and simmer until almost tender, about 5 min.

Divide vegetables among 4 bowls, add onions. Add bay leaf to each. Pour in stock. Place a slice of bread on each and 2 slices cheese. Broil until bubbly.

So now that you’ve seen Martha’s instructions I’ll confess what I did. First of all, I forgot the bay leaves entirely. I didn’t have enough fresh thyme so I used dried. I actually ended up roasting my veggies (and I used baby carrots cut into chunks) in the oven. I added the onions and veggies to the stock (I had about 6 cups of it) and let it simmer for a while so the flavors would combine. I like to make my bread separately on a roasting pan and if we’re eating at home alone, I cut my cheese covered bread into chunks before adding it to my soup to make it easier to eat!

With all that being said, I enjoyed this very much. Really, you’d have to really do something horrible to make me reject a bowl of French onion soup! I enjoyed having more veggies in it and have been eating leftovers for lunch.

Here’s the schedule moving forward for the coming weeks. If this doesn’t work for you, let me know. If you’d like to join up, let me know and I’ll add you.

1/17 Steak and Potatoes Kinda Gurl

1/24 Megan’s Cookin’

1/31 Sassy Suppers

2/7 Perfecting Pru

2/14 Tiny Skillet

2/21 Sweet Almond Tree

2/28 MarthaAndMe

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Gnocchi and Me

January 6, 2011

I’ve tried to make gnocchi in the past with disastrous results. Another kitchen gadget I got for Christmas is a potato ricer, which apparently is absolutely essential in making gnocchi (all the recipes I’ve tried in the past have made it sound optional). So, with my ricer in hand, I was ready to dive back into gnocchi making. This recipe has been hanging around my recipe notebook for a long, long time and I was thrilled to finally give it a try.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage

1 1/4 lbs baking potatoes

1 (1/4 lb) sweet potato

1 egg

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup Parmesan

1 1/2 to 2 cups flour

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup sage leaves

1 tbsp butter

Bake potatoes at 450 for 45 min to an hour until tender (I tried microwaving the potatoes in the past and it just doesn’t work – you have to bake them). Allow to cool, then peel and force through ricer onto a baking sheet. Spread into an even layer and allow to cool (I set mine outside and they cooled quickly). Mix egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl.

Gather potatoes in a mound on the baking sheet, making a well in the middle. Pour the egg mixture into the center and knead. Knead in cheese and 1 1/2 flour. Add more flour if needed and knead until it is smooth but slightly sticky.

Cut dough into 6 pieces. Roll each out into a rope about 1/2 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Boil a large pot of salted water and add half the gnocchi, cooking until it rises to the top, then cook the other half. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet until shimmery, then add the sage, frying until they turn a shade lighter and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Remove the sage and add the butter to the oil, cooking until it browns. Add cooked gnocchi to the butter and cook a few minutes, tossing. Serve with sage leaves and extra Parmesan cheese.

The gnocchi turned out really, really well. I didn’t do anything other than cut it into pieces (no fussing with marks from a fork). I really loved the flavor of it – the sweet potato gave it a nice taste. It was light and not gummy (unlike my previous attempts). I didn’t get any flavor from the fried sage though, so that was disappointing. I want to try a butternut squash gnocchi next.

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Martha Mondays: Hearty Onion Soup Gratin

January 4, 2011

It’s time to get Martha Mondays rolling again, so my pick for Monday 1/10 is Hearty Onion Soup Gratin from p. 188 of Jan Living (if you need the recipe let me know). I’ll post a schedule for the coming weeks soon.

Interested in playing along? Just leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll add you to the blogroll so you can have a turn picking our project. Anyone can cook along with us. Just check back on Mondays and leave a comment with a link to your blog or just a comment with your results if you tried it.

Baked Donuts

January 4, 2011

I got a donut pan for Christmas and I could hardly wait to use it! My family loves donuts, but they’re just not a very healthy breakfast option. Baking donuts with ingredients I could control really appealed to me. I used a recipe I had been saving from Health Magazine since October:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp melted butter

1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 and spray the donut pan with cooking spray. Mix buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter and vanilla. Then add dry ingredients. Put the batter in the pan, filling each space about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 7 minutes and let it cool for about 2-3 minutes, then roll each donut in cinnamon and sugar (a half and half mixture). Serve immediately. If you reheat the next day, roll in the cinnamon sugar mix again before serving.Makes about 12 donuts.

This was a huge hit here. The donuts are moist and have a nice texture. The wheat flour gives it a heartiness I really appreciate. I’m going to be tweaking this one, trying some wheat germ or flaxseed in it and then experimenting with adding some apples, so I can have some different varieties in my repertoire. I may have to buy a second donut pan since mine makes only 6!

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New Year’s Eve

January 2, 2011

It’s our tradition here to have fondue on New Year’s Eve. And it’s also a tradition for the kids to invite their friends. This year Teen Martha had 5 friends and Dude Martha had one (so the teenagers got the dining room and the boys ate with us in the kitchen). We had to run out and buy a third fondue pot. This was the first year people actually ate most of what I made. This time, we set up fondue pots on the table and instead of passing the food for dipping, I set it up buffet style on the kitchen counter. First course is cheese fondue (basic – gruyere, wine, cornstarch). With that I served: mini turkey meatballs, spicy chicken sausage, ham, tortellini, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, french bread, pumpernickel rye bread, pears, apple, grapes and I made 3 dipping sauces: tomato/Italian, mustard, and pesto. There was hardly anything left. Dessert was a chocolate fondue and a white chocolate fondue. In the dining room we did one pot of chocolate and second pot that had half chocolate and half white chocolate (Mr. MarthaAndMe did some synchronized pouring to make that happen). With it I served: pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, pretzel logs, marshmallows, Rice Krispie treats, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pineapple, tangerines, and pineapple. I had chopped peanuts and sprinkles to roll things in as well. This was also inhaled.

I decorate the table with a New Years garland, lots of fun hats (although most of them will not be caught dead wearing them in a photo), noisemakers, those little champagne poppers, and everyone got a chocolate snowman. I serve sparkling juices, soda and chocolate milk. I use paper plates and plastic cups. It’s a lot of work though. Although making the fondues is pretty simple, the prep takes me all day – cutting everything up and cooking all the veggies and pasta and meats. It’s fun though. The best part is that I cook like a lunatic all day and decorate the table, they come, they eat, they horse around a while then they all leave to go to the later parties. Mr. MarthaAndMe clean it all up, then collapse. I never make it to the ball drop and am usually asleep pretty early. It’s a fun tradition though – and before we went out and invested in a third fondue pot Teen Martha promised she will continue to have friends come.

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