Blogging is more fun than grading papers, averaging grades, and writing progress reports. Just ask me. I am an expert. Therefore, I will start my Sunday with a blog and ignore the work for a little while longer. It is chilly, windy, and rainy here so I am not tempted to play outside the way I did on Friday (shhh... it was a faculty workday to get all the work done and I only worked a half day). So, instead of working right now on the paperwork, I will tell you about Friday and having fun.
The fun started around 2:00 pm. The BFF and I went out to lunch like civilized human beings.
This is one of our newest restaurants in downtown Durham. The Ex-Ex and I went to Pizzeria Toro a couple of weeks ago and loved it. When the BFF and I walked in on Friday, one of my advisees was there having lunch with his family. Bless his heart. He and I have lunch together every Monday through Friday so I apologized to him and tried my best to not even look his way. We sat as close as we could to the oven, in my opinion the best seat in the house.
This was our table decoration.
We started with parma ham. It melted in my mouth.
We also sampled the marinated kale salad. Pine nuts and a little kick from the peppers.
The BFF ordered the San Marzano tomato and buffalo mozzarella.
I opted for Cremini mushrooms.
(The Ex-Ex and I shared a fennel and sausage one when we were there.)
When the pizza comes out of the oven, the cheese is grated onto it and then olive oil and sea salt are added around the edge of the crust. You do not want to waste one bite of that crust.
After lunch, the BFF had a surprise for me. Her idea of really relaxing and spoiling herself is a manicure and pedicure. And I am so happy to go along for the ride (I think it makes her feel less guilty if she treats me...).
Is it gross to have toes and pizza in the same blog? I don't think so. Neither do my happy toes.
Later that night, we went back to downtown Durham to Motorco. At our upper school, we have an amazing band called In The Pocket made up of students and faculty. They really are seriously good.
band artwork by Doug Marlette (1949-2007), award-winning cartoonist, novelist and former DA parent
Motorco was packed with students, parents, faculty, and friends of the musicians. It was a blast. Ms. Sunshine was there to support her field hockey players who are in the band. (They then went on to win the state tournament yesterday!! Even after a night of rock and roll.)
Thank you for allowing me to relive my day of fun. Now, back to work.
I will reward myself in a couple of hours by making French Onion Soup for our lunch. That will help take the chill off the day and make my kitchen smell good while I work. Hurricane Sandy is heading up our coast and bringing the rain and wind with her. I order this soup every time I go to Paris, regardless of the season. It just wouldn't seem right not to have it.
French Onion Soup
from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking, Oxmoor House Publishing
(a gift from Son #2 Christmas 2010)
Topped with a thick piece of toasted bread and a generous amount of melted Gruyère cheese, onion soup was the favorite early-morning fare of the vendors and buyers who frequented the tiny restaurants surrounding Les Halles, the famous Parisian wholesale produce and meat market. Although the market was torn down in 1971, the soup remains popular in Paris and throughout France.
For the soup:
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 lb. yellow onions, very thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
8 c. beef bouillon or beef broth
1 c. dry white wine
1 tsp. freshly grated pepper
For the topping:
6-8 slices coarse country bread, each about 1/2 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, halved
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. shredded Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter foams, stir in the onions and sauté until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the onions are lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Raise the heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring often, until the onions are deep golden brown in color, 30-40 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, until the flour is browned, 2-3 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually pour in the bouillon and 2 cups water. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the wine and the pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the onions begin to fall apart, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping:
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast the bread, turning once, until dried out but not browned, 6-8 minutes total. Remove the pan from the oven. Rub both sides of the bread with the garlic halves and brush both sides with the olive oil. Return to the oven, turning once, until golden, 4-6 minutes total. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
Place 6-8 ovenproof soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the bowls, filling them to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Top each with 1 toasted baguette slice, sprinkle evenly with the cheese, and dot with the butter. Bake until a golden crust forms and the soup bubbles around the edges, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.
**If you do not have oven-proof bowls, melt the cheese on the bread slices in the oven and then add to the soup just before serving.
Bon appétit to all who are working instead of playing!