Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Yes, we have more than our fair share of guilty pleasures which is why although we can't wait for our annual spring break trip to Mexico we're not looking forward to the beach attire that comes with it. Unfortunately that has not been the usual motivation to kick us into high workout mode that it usually does.

In addition to our obvious food and maybe even more obvious wine pleasures we have more. For G it's Dark Chocolate, Hot Fries, The Deadliest Catch, Ax Men, Pawn Stars...(most of these shows make me leave the room typically.) For me it's shoes,US magazine ( don't tell my staff they think I only read instructional leadership & institutional change books, oh my what would they think if they knew The Shopaholic series is another fav),The Bachelor, Housewives of OC, New York & Beverly Hills, THE OSCARS & cheese! All of these things with the exception of cheese pretty much make G walk outta the room.

But this year he was feeling more accepting of The Oscars for reasons I won't go into (that include 2 themes fellow Washington skiers might relate to; Guilt of being 4 hrs late, Crystal /The Elk.)
So we got home pretty late that afternoon and at the last minute I was in the mood to prepare some "let's settle in, get comfy for 4 hrs & have some comfy" food.

So first we had some jalapeno smoked salmon mousse & champagne(sparkling wine) in the spirit of the Oscar celebration.

Next came the "comfy" part. So I recently found 2 recipes from our magazine arrivals that I was craving and decided to mix it up & experiment with combining the two. G was a bit leary of the combo idea but went with it.

So we annually make French onion soup in the winter enjoying it in front of the fire on a cold night. And Chorizo is in our top 10 foods. And cheese is maybe my #1 so how can I can really go wrong here with this idea. So I guess I'd call this creation French Onion Soup with Chorizo & Apple. G was not convinced, he was sure chorizo would be over powered by the onions. I still went with it.

First we sliced the onions and sauteed them for a good 40 minutes until there were caramelized and brown.

So many onions just starting to become translucent
While the onions cooked I also cooked the chorizo. Metropolitan Market is our go to market, of course it doesn't hurt that it's walking distance, and we don't have a local Whole Foods but regardless we'd still go. I just don't know if it would be daily. But Met Market has a great butcher in addition to everything else and they make their own bulk chorizo which is wonderful. The stuff we've found in the casing is usually very greasy and I'm not always sure which meat parts are included. But The Met's is pure ground pork with all of the yummy authentic chorizo spices.

When the onions were looking pretty well caramelized I added some chopped garlic, julienned granny smith apples, thyme, bay leaves and sherry until the apples started getting soft. Then I added the beef broth and red wine and cooked chorizo.

The Oscar show started and we ready for our next course of our winter version of Caprese Salad. Our previous house had the perfect southern exposure for a garden and growing our own tomatoes which we miss so much in this house. We have a great backyard now but it's far too shady for tomatoes. But when we used to grow our own and our own basil, luckily we still  grow basil it likes a little shady, caprese salad was pretty much daily on our menu. There is nothing better than summer tomatoes with basil. But it's winter obviously so in the winter we improvise. Trader Joe's has these cute little grape tomatoes that we picked up and then that of course prompted us to also pick up some fresh basil and their small fresh mozzarella balls.

We  chopped the basil added it all to a bowl with salt and pepper and some balsamic Vinegar and voila our favorite summer time treat in the winter. Another Guilty pleasure that we rarely feel guilty about.

It was delicious we it enjoyed while watching Melissa Leo win best supporting actress for The Fighter, loved her authentic excitement! If you missed it follow the link.

Melissa Leo in The Fighter (Photo from Oscar Go.Com.

The soup was starting to smell amazing so I grilled some slices of bread on the grill pan and shredded the Gruyere cheese. We ladled soup into our bowls topped it with the cheese and put it in the 500 degree oven until the cheese melted.

We enjoyed our French Onion, Apple & Chorizo soup with Darby's Purple Haze wine. Oh my god I LOVE Darby wine.

Darby is a fairly new winery started in 2005. Two years ago we went to his tasting room in Woodenville when he was still in the industrial park and we met him personally. He was passionate and loved talking to us about his wine which makes us love it anymore.

This is his newly released 2009 Purple Haze red wine. It's a blend of Cab Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from four vineyards (Conner Lee, Sheridan, Stonetree and Boushey). Considered more of an everyday wine but at $22 a bottle more of a weekend wine for us. Lots of black fruits, earth and pepper. My kinda wine. Delicious. And it was perfect with our comfy soup and grilled bread to dip following our tradition of being served and enjoyed in front of the fire this year while watching The Oscars. Which we both really loved and even had Monday night too. Not sure I'd add chorizo again but the apple definitely gave it a nice added sweetness to balance the very rich caramelized onion yumminess.

My Combo Recipe for:
French Onion Soup with Chorizo & Apple
2 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter
7 Cups chopped white onion
3/4 tsp black pepper
3 cloves chopped garlic
80z. Bulk Chorizo (or casing removed if you can't find bulk)
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
6 Cups low sodium organic beef broth
1/2 Cup Red Wine
10 slices of a rustic bread
2 Cups Gruyere cheese

Melt butter and grapeseed oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions. Stir during the first 5 minutes. Cook another 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Add black pepper and garlic. Cook & drain Chorizo. Add apple, thyme, bay leaves and apples to onions until apples soften. Add Sherry scraping pan to loosen bits. Add beef broth and red wine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and add chorizo and simmer 45 minutes. Shred cheese and slice bread. Grill bread. Either add bread to boil of soup prior to adding cheese or leave out and use to dip. Place bowls of soup with cheese in 500 degree oven until cheese melts. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This is so funny~I made the CL french onion soup recipe just last night!

    I didn't use apples or cider, I added some extra beef demi glace to make it a bit richer, and I added parsley and 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar (which I didn't have).

    I thought it was delicious...and I was going to post about it on my blog this week but I'll just direct the crew over here. :)

    Happy Weekend!


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