Archive for the 'French Onion Soup' Category

10
Dec
13

La Brochette Steakhouse and Sushi Bar


Last evening, SYR and I attended La Brochette‘s (340 Lexington Ave; New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212.972.2200Grand Opening Event. It is located on the premises of the late La Carne GrillUnder the direction of its owners Avi and Reuven Cohen, it acquired a more sedate and contemporary look to give it the distinctive atmosphere that would do full justice to its fare.

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The main floor...

The main floor…

Chef Angel Rodriguez cooked up a memorable menu for the occasion. We started out with the Petit Omakase, a selection of sushi rolls…

White tuna with avocado crunch, tuna/salmon roll and more in a sweet and sour sauce...

White tuna with avocado crunch, tuna/salmon roll and more in a sweet and sour sauce…

For a meat appetizer we had the La Brochette Sampler; it soon became very obvious we were about to be treated to a virtuoso performance of food and heavenly aromas…

Spring roll, wagyu beef brochette and Peking duck

Spring roll, wagyu beef brochette and Peking duck

SYR followed with La Brochette Salad, which came with Boston lettuce, baby corn, haricot vert, Kalamata olives and Ranch-Lemon dressing and she liked it!. I, intrigued, opted for the French Onion Soup. This soup is traditionally covered with bread and melted cheese, since we were at a steakhouse, I just had to see what Chef Angel would come up with and I was pleasantly surprised at the riches, the nuances of flavors.

We both segued with the Roasted Prime Rib, which came with a side of of potatoes Lyonnaise and the house beef glaze, SYR ordered hers medium rare, while I opted for a medium well. Both were excellent choices…

....ample portions, deliciously juicy and tender. Who can ask for more?

….big portions, deliciously juicy and tender. Who can ask for more?

We washed it all down with 2 glasses each of Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio 2012, from grapes grown in the the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. It was pale straw in color, medium bodied, with a fruity aroma and a clean refreshing taste. We should have found a more adequate wine pairing for the robustly flavored roasted rib, though the wine went delightfully well with everything up to the entrée.

SYR finished her repast with a Mascarpone Tiramisu..,

it truly mimicked the dairy original!

…it truly mimicked the dairy original!

while I – an unrepentant chocoholic – opted for a Chocolate Lava with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We left the restaurant enchanted by the atmosphere, and the succulent dinner. 

...the taste of paradise!

…the taste of paradise!

We run into quite a few old friends, most notably Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Elan Kornblum from Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, and Meyer Harroch from New York Kosher Guide, among others. The waiter, a gentleman of the old European schhol (though he was only middle aged), was very attentive and made everyone feel very special. As SYR and I discussed the evening, we both agreed that we’ll have to go back again an again.

CS

27
Jan
11

Pairing Food and Wine – Part 2


As we said – in the very first sentence – in the first part of this series, the one true rule of pairing food and wine is that such pairings are highly personal. The ethnic/cultural background and, specifically, the food one grew up with are influential on how taste is perceived by the individual. Someone who eats mostly spicy food will taste wine very differently from someone accustomed to more bland foods..

When you enter the differences of each individual’s taste buds into the equation you can understand that what may be a perfect pairing for one person, may not necessarily be so great to another. Rules are, at best, approximations based on the “average” person (read: “the average connoissseur,” often self-proclaimed, instead). I could find no scientific study ever conducted that definitely showed what is the “average” when it comes to taste matters. What is the point of this series, then, if the rules are subject to each individual’s preferences? That is a fair question! The answer is that all we intend to accomplish – here – is to give you, gentle reader, some departure points as you embark on your very own food and wine pairing journey. Just remember that wine should never overpower the food it accompanies but it should complement it.

Once again, winter has shown itself relentless and bombarded us with another big snowfall. Considering that wine can warm the soul and gladden the heart, considering that medical most studies now find the health benefits in drinking 2 daily glasses of wine (like the French do), isn’t this weather just right for sipping wine, especially if paired with a nice soup?

A street in Brooklyn today... comfort food and wine weather

How about a Chicken Noodle Soup, paired with a Pinot Grigio or a Chennin Blanc? Perhaps a Cream of Chicken Soup with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Viognier would fit your preference? Maybe a French Onion Soup paired with a Beaujolais or a White Burgundy?  Hmmmmnnn, my mouth is watering already!

Since we are only offering departure points here are some favorite pairings:

Fish

Sauvignon Blanc – Light, zesty and citrusy

White Burgundy –  Goes well with salmon

Chardonnay – Perfect for rich fish dishes

Riesling – It’s lime/lemon juice flavor make it a nice complement to any fish dish

Pinot Noir – Yes, it’s a red wine, but try it with grilled fish and see what it does!

Meat

Beef or steak – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Shiraz

Lamb - Bordeaux, or almost any Red wine

Poultry – Chardonnay

Miscellaneous

Fruit – Any Sauternes, Muscat or Riesling (especially Late Harvest)

Very sweet or heavy desserts – I prefer to pair these with a Moscato d’Asti

Pizza – Chianti is the perfect choice!

This does not pretend to be an exhaustive list, it merely reflects pairings I’ve tried and liked.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

21
Dec
10

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 3


There are myriad types of soups, while I never intended an exhaustive listing when we started this series, while I realize there are far more types than I’m ever likely to try, this series only deals with some of my favorites from among those I’ve tasted. In this, the final installment of the series we will again feature two soups.

We chose all these recipes both because of their taste and the ease of preparation.

Last evening, at a cooking demo by Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum, I tasted her incredibly flavorful and very simple to prepare…

Aduki Bean Burdock Soup

Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
  • 2 cups aduki beans
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 large zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 large piece burdock, peeled and cut in large chunks

Directions

  1. Bring all ingredients to boil in a wide heavy pot.
  2. Reduce to medium and cook covered for 1 hour.
  3. Cream the soup with an immersion blender.
  4. Adjust texture and seasonings.

If you do not have, if you cannot find burdock, you can substitute almost anything else. In spite of her recipe calling for burdock, Lévana – just to demonstrate the versatility of her recipe – used kale stalk instead

If you are like me you probably never heard of burdock before…What is burdock? For its culinary and medicinal properties look it up in the Wikipedia. Meanwhile, as the article says:

the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote in his journal, in 1896, about a tiny shoot of burdock he saw in a ploughed field, “black from dust but still alive and red in the center … It makes me want to write. It asserts life to the end, and alone in the midst of the whole field, somehow or other had asserted it.”

For another of Chef Lévana’s superb soup recipes check out Quick Black Bean Chocolate Soup

To end this series I chose to adapt an Emeril Lagasse variation of the classic French Onion Soup on the Food Network :

Gratinee Lyonnaise (Lyon-style Onion Soup)

[adapted to conform with kashrus]

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 8 cupspareve soup stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen string
  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Port wine (optional)
  • Finely chopped parsley, garnish

Directions

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cognac. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Be careful as the cognac may ignite.

Add the soup stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, toast the bread slices until light golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Preheat the broiler.

When the soup is ready, divide 1/2 of the toasted bread slices between 6 individual ovenproof serving bowls or crocks and top with 1/2 of the grated cheese. Ladle some of the soup among the bowls and top with the remaining toasts. Ladle the remaining soup among the bowls and top with the remaining cheese. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted, golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Optional topping:

In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and Port and whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour some of the mixture evenly among the soup bowls, stirring in around the edges so that it is incorporated into the soup. (The heat of the soup will cook the egg yolk and this will thicken and enrich the soup.)

Garnish the top with chopped parsley and serve hot.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Soups as Comfort Food – Part 2

Soups as Comfort Food

16
May
10

Shavuos Recipes – Part 1


Being a foodie, I’m always scouring the net or pestering friendly Chefs for new interesting creations. Here are two superb Shavuot recipes. The incomparable Lévana will always find a way to do it different, to make it easier and keep it delicious!

Ricotta Almond Pie

Anyone looking for a nice departure from the traditional all-American Cheesecake? This is for you! light and ethereal, with a wonderful almond crust and scented with lemon peel. I just made it for a fundraiser demo and watched it disappear with great pleasure!

Almond crust ingredients:
1/2 cup
almonds
1/4 cup
brown sugar
Dash
salt
2 cups
flour (any flour, including Gluten-free)
1 tablespoon
vanilla
1/3 cup
cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2
tablespoon very cold water, or a little more if needed.

Filling ingredients:
3 cups
ricotta
4
eggs
1 cup
sugar
2 tablespoons
brandy or rum
2 tablespoons
lemon zest

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the crust: finely grind the almonds with the sugar. Add the salt, flour, vanilla and butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and mix just until the dough comes together. Working quickly, spread into an 11inch springform pie plate, coming up the sides.

Whisk all the filling ingredients together. Pour into the pie crust. Bake about 40 minutes, or until set.

For a long time I wanted a great kosher recipe for French Onion Soup Recipe… I finally found it:

Every single ingredient in this wonderful soup is in on the secret of its success: All the members of the onion family are present; fresh thyme; The mixture of dark miso and dry red wine do wonders to imitate the beef broth that is the trademark of onion soup but that is off-limits to Kosher and Vegetarian Cooking; The cheeses must be freshly grated.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup
extra virgin olive oil
2
large onions, sliced very thin (food processor)
4
large shallots, sliced very thin (food processor)
2
large leeks, white parts only, sliced very thin (processor)
6
large cloves garlic, minced (food processor)
3 tablespoons
sugar
2 cups
dry red wine (liquor stores)
1/2 cup
dark miso paste (health food stores)
6 sprigs
thyme, leaves only (or with their stems, but remember to fish it out)
2 1/2 quarts
(10 cups) water
Good pinch nutmeg
Salt and freshly grated ground pepper (very little salt if at all)
1 cup
grated Swiss cheese
1 cup
smoked cheese, cut in small chunks
1 cup
grated parmesan
A dozen slices baguette, cut on bias, toasted. (375 degrees oven, for about 20 minutes, until light brown)

Directions:
Heat the oil in a heavy pot, and in it fry the onions, shallots, leeks and garlic on a medium flame, about 30 minutes, until dark. Add the sugar and cook two more minutes until caramelized. Add wine, miso, thyme, water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook covered another 30 minutes.  Stir in the ground pepper and nutmeg. Pour the mixture into individual oven-proof soup crocks. Float a slice of toasted baguette in the center of each bowl, and a handful of the mixed grated cheeses, and run under the broiler for just a few seconds. If you don’t own the crocks, no problem, just stir in the cheeses at the end and cooking, right in the pot, and top each serving with a slice of toast. It won’t look as dramatic, but it will be every bit as delicious!

Enjoy these folk, I know I will.

CS

related posts

shavuos recipes – part 2 

shavuos recipes 

————–

shavuos recipes – part 2

For prize winning cheese cake recipes: and the winner is…




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