Sunday, March 18, 2012

Marketing myself at 76/Shooting a Video

As I was writing this memoir going back so many years I realized I also need to stay in the present. For forty plus years I was working in the Hospitality Industry. I presume you have been following my blog so you already know about the start of this cooking venture.

Being retired has its benefits and drawbacks. Some people look at you as if you came from Mars when you tell them that you want to keep your fingers in the pot so to speak. Nothing annoys me more than being ignored when you talk, whether professionally or personally, just because of your age. Trust me - it happens.

To start reinventing myself, my daughter Heidi shot a video of me cooking answering her questions as we go along. This will be posted at a later blog.

I live in beautiful Sonoma County with all the winery’s fabulous restaurants I can’t help but be involved somewhat. At times I work as a spotter. Funny how Chefs are so protective of their turf, me included. I do not advise Chefs anymore but I do critique, wanted or not.

Talking about critique, I am my own tough critic to the consternation of my friends/guests. I have always loved to entertain and the feedback I receive from my guest’s was/is valuable --- good, great or even a “no comment” which does happen occasionally, ha, ha.

Over the years my cooking has changed back to more comfort food and, of course soups, Eintopf (meal in a pot). Last Saturday I did just that. I had planned a girls/ladies evening about 2 months ago. A few weeks ago it dawned on me why not make this evening a surprise lingerie shower for my very special friend Josie. Josie is getting married in June. A surprise it was. None of our friends spilled the beans. As far as Josie knew it was a get together with women friends, great food, wine and good conversation.

It was a wonderful evening and Josie was so happy that we did that for her. She modeled some of the items she received and danced around. The evening was, All about Josie”.

The menu was:

Palm of Hearts dip (from Food and Wine Magazine) with pita chips
          French Onion Soup au gratin (baked in individual crocks)

                   Salad Greens with Sigrid’s secret dressing

Fresh Strawberries with my cream cheese/sour cream and whipping cream sauce


My friend Christina, who is a wine maker, brought a great Pinot and a Chardonnay. All in all, this was an evening we all will remember fondly.

Here is my recipe for the Onion Soup and it was so good.

French Onion Soup au Gratin

1 1/2 lbs or about 5 cups thinly sliced white or yellow onion
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil (I use Olive Oil)
A heavy bottomed, 4 quart saucepan

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar

3 Tb flour

2 quarts boiling beef or chicken stock, or bouillon 
1/2 to 1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

 Cook the onions slowly in the butter and oil for 15 minutes in the covered saucepan.

 Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned golden brown.

 Sprinkle in the flour and stir for about three minutes.

 Remove from heat, blend in the boiling stock. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for about 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.

   * Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Reheat to simmer.

   NOTE: Onion Soup Gratineed with Cheese
         1 slice Swiss cheese (per bowl)
         1 to 2 slices French bread (toasted w/garlic)

  When ready to serve put heated soup in small soup pots, float toast on top and put cheese on top and put into oven at 325 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, then set for 1 minute under broiler if needed, to brown lightly.

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