Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gluten and Dairy-Free Cookies

In the past couple of years, several of our friends have developed severe allergies to wheat and dairy products. Desserts are the most difficult items to find recipes for. I made these last week and they were a hit. No flour, no dairy, and no added fat, other than from the nuts. Easy and I think they are pretty tasty, too. I found them scouting about the web, on a number of sites.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used the Fry's brand we have in Canada)
3 cups icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups of coarsely chopped pecans, lightly toasted and cooled
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 or 4 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder to remove lumps. Add salt and pecans and stir to mix. Dump in the egg whites and vanilla and slowly stir to combine. Do not over mix, but ensure that all the sugar and cocoa powder is evenly moistened. 

Spoon batter onto prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room (2-3 inches) for expansion. Bake for 15 minutes, or until small thin cracks appear on the surface of the cookies. Let cool completely before removing from the paper.

These keep well for several days, but get chewier as the days pass. Not a bad thing, in my opinion. 

The recipe said this will make 12 4-inch cookies, but I made about 25 2-3 inch cookies. Walnuts or almonds could be used in place of the pecans.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Crisp with Custard Sauce

I use the apple crisp recipe from my falling-apart Betty Crocker cookbook, received as a wedding shower gift years ago. It's good, we like it, and I've seen no reason to alter it. 

Apple Crisp

4 cups sliced pared apples
2/3 - 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (I use the lesser amount)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1/3 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place apple slices in 8 inch square pan (or use individual dishes). Mix remaining ingredients with fingers, until mixture is crumbly, with the butter evenly distributed. Sprinkle over the apples. 
Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm with custard sauce.

Crème Anglaise aka Custard Sauce

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream) (or use 1 cup of light cream in place of the milk and heavy cream)
dash salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan until just hot. (Steam should rise from the milk, but it shouldn't boil.) Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar with the salt. Add a small amount of the hot milk to the eggs, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens slightly - about 175 degrees. The mixture should not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain mixture into a glass or metal bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper onto the top of the sauce to prevent a skin forming. Chill. (Will keep up to 3 days.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Floating Island

(originally posted on Fabric Paper Thread in January 09)

Have you ever eaten Floating Island? I never had but somehow, the thought popped into my head yesterday. I hankered after a light and white sweet, and this was it. Delicious, with lots of texture - melting smooth crème anglaise, marshmallowy meringue, bitter burnt sugar sauce and crunchy sweet praline.

Although this recipe has a lot of steps, it's not difficult at all. Most of it can (and should be) made ahead, even a day or two. I spent a couple of hours puttering in the kitchen in the early afternoon, then did the meringues at the last minute.

Step One:

Burnt Sugar Sauce

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
another 1/4 cup water mixed with 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Heat the sugar and 1/4 cup water in small, heavy sauce pan, stirring once or twice until the sugar dissolves. Cook over medium heat, not stirring, but swirling every few minutes, until the syrup turns a light caramel. Remove from heat and add the water mixed with vanilla. Be careful as the mixture tends to pop and bubble. Return to heat and stir and cook until caramel reached 230 degrees F (thread stage). Remove 1/4 cup of caramel for the praline (recipe follows). Set the remainder aside to cool slightly, then add the cream and stir until combined. This can be made ahead and then reheated slightly when you are ready to assemble the dessert.


3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup of the caramel sauce

Combine almonds and sauce. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until almonds are toasted. Let cool, then break into small pieces. (I like mine quite fine and smashed them with a rolling pin.)

Crème Anglaise

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
dash salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan until just hot. (Steam should rise from the milk, but it shouldn't boil.) Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar with the salt. Add a small amount of the hot milk to the eggs, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens slightly - about 175 degrees. The mixture should not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain mixture into a glass or metal bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper onto the top of the sauce to prevent a skin forming. Chill. (Will keep up to 3 days.)


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat 2 egg whites with a dash of salt and 1/8 tsp cream of tartar until foamy. Then increase the speed and add 1/2 cup of white sugar. Beat until the egg whites are very stiff and glossy. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet, forming 6 mounds. Bake for 20 minutes (they will be soft).

To assemble the Floating Islands, pour a puddle of Crème Anglaise onto a dessert plate, place a Meringue on top, drizzle a little Burnt Sugar Sauce over top and sprinkle with a bit of Praline.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Here in British Columbia we wait a long time for peach season. And when it's here, we enjoy it to the full. Peach ice cream, fresh peaches and whipped cream, peaches eaten out of hand, sweet juice dripping down chins and hands. And this cake. Easy to put together and best served warm, with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Peach Upside-Down Cake

2 - 3 large peaches, blanched, peeled, pitted and sliced thickly
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar

In the bottom of a 9 x 9 glass baking dish,  place the melted butter and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Arrange the peach slices in slightly overlapping rows on top. Set aside while you make the cake.

Sponge Cake

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs until very light and lemon coloured. Beat in salt, sugar, and vanilla. Scald the milk and add the butter to melt it. Add to the egg mixture and stir well. Combine the flour and baking powder and add it to the egg/milk mixture. Stir well to combine but don't overmix. 

Pour over the peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prize Apricot Jam

Two apricot trees grew beside the house I grew up in in Kamloops. They never grew very tall, but produced quite a few apricots, according to my memory. My mother made this jam every year, filling the house with the smell of hot sugary fruit. The result: jars of golden summer flavour to open in the dark days of winter.

This jam is made the old-fashioned way, without commercial pectin. It relies on the pectin in citrus and natural fruit, along with a long (about 35 minutes) simmer. I like to have a book beside me while I stir, or someone to visit with.

Prize Apricot Jam

8 cups pitted, chopped apricots (large chunks, at least one-inch pieces)
zest of 1 orange
finely chopped fruit of one orange, pith removed
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
4 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Wash and sterilize 8, half-pint jars. Place lids in small saucepan and cover with water. Don't boil them yet.

In large, heavy pot, stir all of the jam ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat until the mixture boils steadily, and stir constantly, until 2 thick drops of syrup run together off the side of a cold metal spoon. Alternately, place a plate in the freezer, and drop a spoonful of jam onto the cold plate to test it. When a spoon can be drawn through the jam and the ridge remain clear, the jam is ready. This will take about 35 minutes. The jam will darken in colour, and the apricots break down, leaving bits of fruit and peel.

A few minutes before the jam is ready, boil the lids for 5 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the lids in the hot water.

Ladle into sterilized jars, seal, and let cool. Makes 6-8 half pint jars of jam.

Apricot Tart

Apricots have such a short season that I knew I must not hesitate to make this tart. The crust is sweet and slightly chewy, like a cookie, and easily presses into a tart pan - no rolling required. The custardy filling is flavoured with honey and almond extract, a perfect pairing with the slightly tart apricot halves. It's not too heavy - a perfect summer treat with tea.

The tart is based on one found on the Epicurious website, but I've adapted it.


1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of fine salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons finely ground almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

Combine the melted better and sugar in a bowl. Stir. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Place the dough in the center of the tart pan and evenly press it out with your fingers to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. 

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven to baked for 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle the ground almonds, if using, over the bottom of the crust.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.


2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon flour

Fresh apricots, about 1 1/2 lbs, pitted and halved
Icing sugar, for garnish

Combine the eggs, whipping cream, yogurt or sour cream, extracts and honey. Whisk well to blend. Whisk in the flour. Pour the filling evenly over the pastry. Arrange the apricots in concentric circles, beginning with the outside of the tart, overlapping slightly. Fill in the center with more apricots. 

Bake the tart 50-60 minutes, or until the filling is firm and the pastry a golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately dust with icing sugar. Cool on rack. Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature. 

Linking to Foodie Friday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

Before moving to Ecuador my husband and I spent 9 months in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, along the Mexican border, studying Spanish. We arrived on a steamy August evening, just after a minor hurricane. I have never experienced such humidity. Never. Even in our jungle years.

Our apartment had no air conditioning. We knew we'd be moving to the jungle and thought that we had just better get used it. Uh huh. We lasted one night, trying to sleep in a steam bath and failing miserably. As soon as the stores opened we were there and plunked down the cash for an air conditioner. It made life bearable for these northern folk. 

Cooking was avoided because of the heat. But those were the days when our figures could still withstand daily sweets and I liked to have baking on hand. No internet in those days. I wrote and asked my mother for a few of her no-bake square recipes. She sent them, typed onto a pale blue sheet of stationery that still resides in my recipe box. I remember her making these squares when I was a child, as a treat for Sunday evening lunch, faspa, we called it. She still makes them. They are fast to prepare, without heating up the kitchen, and are a sweet treat after a meal, or as a little pick-me-up with a cup of tea.

Chocolate Marshmallow Squares

1/2 cup butter
2 squares (2 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup sifted icing sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup mini-marshmallows
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
whole graham wafers to line an 8 x 8 square pan.

Line an 8 x 8 pan with whole graham wafers, trimming them to fit, or letting them overlap slightly.

Melt the butter and chocolate together (over simmering water on the stove top or in a glass bowl in the microwave). Add the icing sugar and egg, beating well. Stir in the marshmallows and optional ingredients. Pour over the graham wafers, spread to the corners and place in the fridge until set. Cut into squares. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread

The herb garden is doing well. I love going out to clip a handful - chives, oregano, thyme, parsley, and adding them to salads or soups.

This spread, which could also be used as a dip, uses nothing but fresh ingredients. It tastes better if the flavours have some time to get to know each other in the fridge before serving. Equally good spread on toasted baguettes, crackers, or with fresh vegetables, it's a summery staple that comes together easily.

Note: I used 1% cottage cheese and light sour cream. Feel free to use the fuller fat varieties - you'll probably land up with a creamier taste.

Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread

2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 green onions, green parts thinly sliced and the white parts minced

To chop the fresh herbs, I like to give them a good rinse, dry them well, then place them all in a heap on the cutting board, along with the garlic cloves, and run my chef's knife through them until they are a fragrant heap of green and white on the board.

Combine the cottage cheese, the sour cream, the salt and lemon in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Almost Piña Colada Popsicles

Summer time treats, for me, always include popsicles. They are easy to make and handy to have in the freezer for a cool taste on a hot day. I'm hoping for many hot days this summer. These are mild in flavour, full of pineapple, coconut milk and banana. A dash of rum or rum flavouring wouldn't come amiss for more of the piña colada flavour, but you might want to leave it out if these are intended for children.

My popsicle molds are old Tupperware ones - they've been around for at least 35, maybe 40 years - they first belonged to my mother. I've lost a few of the handles, but a wooden popsicle stick fits into the slot quite nicely.

Almost Piña Colada Popsicles

1 can (398 ml) crushed pineapple, with juice
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tablespoon light rum OR 1 tsp rum extract

Whir everything together in a blender. Pour into molds. Freeze. Enjoy on a hot summer day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crustless Leek, Spinach and Feta Quiche

I love quiche. In a crust or without. This quiche is crustless and makes a wonderful lunch, paired with sliced tomatoes and avocados. I assembled the quiche in the morning before running out to do some errands, then baked it just before my daughter came for lunch. 

Other vegetables could easily be substituted - onions for leeks, or cooked broccoli or zucchini for spinach. Add some leftover ham or chicken for a heartier meal.

Crustless Leek, Spinach and Feta Quiche

1 Tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
2 leeks, sliced (use the white and pale green sections), and well rinsed, then drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh chopped spinach (or use about 1/2 box of frozen spinach)
4 eggs
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a handful of pitted Kalamata olives, if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet. Add the sliced leeks and sauté gently until almost tender. Add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted down and all the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper, but take into account the saltiness of the cheese. Let cool.

Whisk the eggs together, add the cream, sour cream and milk. Stir in the cooled vegetables and the feta cheese.

Pour into a lightly greased 10" diameter baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and arrange the olives over, if using. 

Quiche may be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for several hours before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until mixture is mostly set and lightly browned on top. Let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving to let it finish cooking.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Brown Rice and Onion Bread

Making bread is a very satisfying endeavour. It lasts, properly wrapped, for a long time in the freezer and then taken out and reheated. Of course, nothing beats slicing the crust off a barely touchable loaf right out of the oven. And the fragrance - nothing can beat it.

This bread is adaptable in so many ways - instead of brown rice, use wild rice, bulgur, millet or quinoa. Don't use ordinary white rice, though, its flavour tends to overwhelm the bread. 

Brown Rice and Onion Bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day)

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 1/4 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt)
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
1 cup cooked brown rice (wild rice or another cooked grain may be substituted)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
2 cups diced fresh onion (about 1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage (other herbs may be used - rosemary, thyme, parsley)

1 egg white, for egg wash (optional)
1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients except the egg wash in a mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer and start with the paddle attachment, mixing for 1 minute on low. The dough will be sticky, coarse and shaggy. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 4 minutes, adding a small amount of flour or water as needed to keep the dough together. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 - 3 minutes by hand, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. It should still be very soft and slightly sticky. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

When ready to bake, remove dough from fridge 2 hours before you plan to bake it. Shape the dough into loaves, either free-form balls on a baking sheet, or in loaf pans. It can also be shaped into rolls. Use a minimum of flour when shaping, just to keep dough from sticking.

Cover the shaped dough with a towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until increased about 1 1/2 times its size. If you want a shiny top, whisk the egg white and water together, then brush over the tops just before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves 45-55 minutes, rotating pans once. For rolls, bake 20-25 minutes, rotating once. Cool on a wire rack. I dare you to resist eating one warm from the oven.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Herb and Garlic Pan Roasted Snapper

We like fish, but I find that it needs a serious injection of flavour to really taste good. This is especially true with white fish such as snapper. A combination of herbs, garlic, and lemon was just perfect with these pan-roasted fillets. I threw in a handful of grape tomatoes before putting the dish in the oven and was very pleased with the result.

Herb and Garlic Pan Roasted Snapper Fillets

2 Tablespoon butter, divided
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 snapper fillets, each cut in half
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in oven-safe skillet. Add the garlic and stir until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not brown. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs and lemon zest. Remove from pan to small dish. Wipe out skillet

Melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter in same skillet over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the snapper fillets. When the butter is foaming, add the fillets. Immediately spoon the herb mixture over top while the fillets are cooking. After 1- 2 minutes, add the tomatoes, then place the skillet in the oven.

Bake until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over. Serve immediately.

We ate this with sliced avocado, roasted zucchini and roasted fennel. It was a quick and easy meal, satisfying but not heavy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lemon Meringue Cups

My husband loves lemon meringue pie. I do, too, but for the past few years my pie crusts have been dismal. I have no idea what changed since I use the same recipe as I always have. But now, I try to avoid making them. Instead I came up with the idea of making the filling and  meringue in a ramekin, without the crust.

I made these for Valentine's Day dinner last night and I'll be using this idea again. On top of the lemon filling I spooned a bit of strawberry sauce to add some red colour. 

I used four 4-oz ramekins. The recipe filled them well. I found it quite a lot to eat, and next time, I'd use six 4-oz ramekins and not fill them entirely.

Lemon Meringue Cups

Lemon Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons butter 
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 Tablespoons strawberry preserves

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Whisk in the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Gradually stir in 1/2 to 1/3 of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks, whisking all the while. Return mixture to saucepan, whisk all together and boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and butter. Pour into four (or six) 4 oz oven proof ramekins or custard cups. Gently spoon the strawberry preserves on top of the lemon. 

Heap meringue (recipe follows) onto filling, taking care to spread meringue right to the edges of the cup. This will prevent it from shrinking or weeping as it cools. 

Bake about 10 minutes or until a delicate brown. I found there was quite a lot of meringue and baked them for 15 minutes, watching carefully the last few minutes to ensure they didn't burn.

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Beat in vanilla. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meringue-Topped Cookies (Morkakor)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Heart-shaped cookies are a tradition in my family for Valentine's Day. Instead of my mom's usual sugar cookie recipe, this year I used a recipe from my husband's family - Morkakor. His grandfather was Swedish and these were his favourite cookies.

A buttery, crisp, almond-flavoured foundation is spread with meringue that bakes up crisp and can turn chewy if the humidity is high. They are delicious either way. The original recipe calls for the meringue to be sprinkled with chopped almonds. I used sprinkles in honour of Valentine's Day, to provide a little colour.

Morkakor (makes about 4 dozen cookies)

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour

Cream butter, add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and then the almond extract. Add the flour. Form dough into a ball, chill if too soft to handle. Roll to 1/8" thickness between two sheets of parchment paper, lightly floured. Cut with a floured cutter. Place on baking sheets. Spread each cookie with meringue (recipe follows) and sprinkle with nuts or candy sprinkles. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. The cookies should be firm and the meringue a light brown. Cool on wire racks. Store tightly covered.


2 egg whites
12 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons chopped almonds, or candy sprinkles

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until the meringue is stiff but not dry. Spread on cookie bases. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Red Onion Soup

Our traveling children are currently in the Calabrian region of Italy. The other day in the library I came across this book --

Part cookbook, part memoir, the author, Rosetta Costantino chronicles the traditional foods of southern Italy. Tropea, a small village perched on a cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea is famous for its sweet red onions. Rosetta gave a recipe for a red onion soup that I thought sounded delicious.

And so it is. It's similar to French Onion Soup, but sweeter. Very mellow and rich. The famous red onions of Tropea are not available here, but Rosetta suggested using the red onions we do have. Unlike the French version of onion soup, this one has no crouton on top, just cheese, broiled until brown. I tinkered with the recipe a little, adding in some red wine and using chicken stock in place of water or vegetable stock.

The recipe is simple, but give yourself enough time to make it. The onions need to cook slowly, not browning at all, for at least one hour, then an additional 30 minutes in the stock.

Red Onion Soup

3 pounds sweet Italian red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) chicken stock (or water, or vegetable stock)
1/2 cup red wine
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Pour the oil into the bottom of a 6-8 quart pot. Stir in the onions and the salt. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and sweet, not browned at all. This will take about 60 minutes. 

Add the wine and the stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. 

Run an immersion blender through the soup, just enough to give it a slight creaminess, but not pureeing it entirely. Or, remove about 1/2 of the soup to a blender and puree it, then return it to the pot. Sprinkle with pepper, add more salt if needed. 

Divide the soup among 6 oven-proof bowls. Sprinkle cheese on top of each and run under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese melts and browns. Watch carefully so as not to burn it. 

For a more hearty meal, place a slice of toasted crusty bread in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup over it.