The other day I read an article or – ok, let’s be honest – saw something on TV – about how quickly the spice can fade out of a relationship. One very important authority – ok, it was Dr. Oz (but if it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for me) estimated that the spice is gone within three years. He went on to say that the only way to stay in a relationship is to continue to spice things up.
Something to think about. But, since this isn’t ‘that kind’ of blog – we’ll leave that type of spicing up and talk about the benefits of eating spices instead.
And, luckily, Dr. Oz talks food spices and herbs as well. Cayenne pepper, for example, can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight more quickly. Ginger and mustard have a similar effect.
There are also herbs and spices that as per the good Doc, can help you combat aging and fight against disease and make you smarter.
One of my favorite and not too crazy of herbs, Thyme, can help you fend off MRSA and is used in mouthwash to help treat throat inflammations and in cough drops to fend off throat infections.
I’m not a huge fan of the super spicy – again, we’re talking edible spices, this is a food/food stories blog after all. I mean, I have been accused of being sassy and maybe even a little bit saucy…but no one has every called my cooking too spicy. I try to include spices and flavors that will please all my reader(s). Like, even though I don’t love garlic (and neither does Ina, btw), I will include almost the entire directed amount prescribed by a given recipe…Ok, to be honest, I usually sub out 1/2 the garlic and replace it with a sweet shallot. I’m trying.
But, it’s time…and I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone and try to spice things up a bit.
And, as per Dr. Oz, I may be getting thinner AND healthier at the same time!
Spicy French Onion Soup (serves 2-4)
1 TBSP Butter
- 2 Medium Sweet Onions sliced thin with the grain – so you have onion strips. I had to stare at the onion for like a long time to figure this out…
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 TSP Flour
- 1/3 C of Red Wine
- 1 TSP Fresh Thyme
- 1 TBSP fresh Lemon Juice – really good add by Melissa D’Arabian who recommended just a teaspoon. So good an idea that I added more!
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1/2 TSP Gindo’s Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 1/4 C Beef Stock – I use Kitchen Basics because it comes in the smaller sizes and I didn’t need a 33oz box
- 1 1/2 C Chicken Stock
- 1/2 C Grated Swiss Cheese – if you’re feeling fancy, get gruyere…but it’s pricey and the Kraft shredded swiss is also good
- 1 – 2 TBSP Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Baguette Slice for each bowl of soup. Sliced about 1/2 inch thick and lightly toasted. I buy the petite baguettes at Food Emporium…But, really, you could just toast up any hearty bread you might have on hand…
1. In a large saucepan – I used my 4qt All-Clad soup pot with the copper core – because I love it – melt the butter over med/low heat
2. Stir in the onions, add salt and pepper and cover
3. WAIT – like forever – though get in there and stir them around every :15 mins or so
4. After about :90 mins, the onions should be a lovely brown and caramelized. If they’re not…send a tweet to Melissa D’Arabian and ask her for tips to speeding the process. She will tweet you back ‘Time ‘. So, I gave it more time.
5. Once the onions are caramelized, turn up the heat to medium and stir in the flour….cook for about a minute or so.
6. Add in the wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the oniony-goodness from the bottom of the pan
7. Add in the thyme, lemon, a bay leaf….And, this is where I got all spicy…the Gindo’s Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce – I used the red one, but either the green or red will do here.
8. Add both the beef stock AND the chicken stock, stir and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (BTB/RTS)
9. Simmer for :10 mins
10. Ladle the soup into 2 – 4 sassy french onion soup bowls….Or, in my case, an oversized ramekin. (note, if you are thinking of Christmas gifts for me and want to try this soup..well, you know)
11. Top the soup with a single slice of the toasted baguette
12. Top each baguette with a heap of the swiss cheese and a sprinkle of the parmesan cheese
13. Put the soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven on Full BROIL
14. Broil just until the cheese is cheesy – bubbly and beginning to brown
Serve while piping hot…and spicy!
I’m not a big fan of the spicy foods. And, people who douse their meals in hot sauce have always baffled me…I mean, how can they really taste what’s going on when it’s overpowered by hotness?
But, it’s good to step out of your comfort zone once and maybe more than once in a while and spice things up a bit. And, listen, if it’s making me thinner AND fighting off a sore throat…I’m like totally in and willing to give the other type of spice a try.