Friday, May 7, 2010

French Onion Soup and the Empty Belly

Getting dinner on the table is especially challenging for me mid week.

A good day progresses as follows:
5:30am Wake up, make coffee, take a shower, take vitamins, fix hair
6am Drink coffee and make lunch and breakfast to take to work
6:30am Nurse the baby
7am Thing 1 wakes up
7:30am Walk out the door, Daddy drives me to work (what a luxury in Manhattan!!! I love you!) 8am-5pm Work
6pm Get home, make dinner, nurse the baby
6:30pm Dinner with both kids (I like to sit down and eat with them)
7pm Bath
7:30 Thing 2 in bed
8pm Thing 1 in bed
8pm-10pm Some combination of time to myself, or time to do laundry, watch TV, make bottles, clean up the kitchen, catch up with friends and family, read, put things away.

And every day progresses this way, except the bad days where Thing 2 wakes up at 5am or when Thing 1 won't eat his dinner or hits his brother and goes to bed early.

The hardest part of my day is from 6-7pm. I walk in the door to hungry, grumpy kids and I have to turn out a meal in 15 minutes or less AND it has to be healthy. Now I'll eat a wide variety of things. But Thing 1 won't and Thing 2 has the choking hazard problem, so his list is relatively short too. I am not the kind of Mommy who gives into her kid's every whim, but I do like it when Thing 1 eats. And every now and then he does.

Well last night was a tough night. I had to catch up with the babysitter, there was no meat defrosted. And Thing 1 although he'll eat a short list of healthy foods, he really doesn't do well with leftovers. But I had no choice. I reheated a previous dinner, a slice of a delicious turkey breast I got from the CSA, farmer's market roasted potatoes and asparagus. He licked every food and pronounced that he'd tried it, so he should be able to have desert. This kid is not even three, what am I in for????

I, on the other hand had not eaten and I usually eat with the kids. I had to wait until after the kids went to bed. Thing 1 committed one transgression or another and went to bed early, so I got to start cooking around 8pm. Yesterday I started to feel guilty. My first blog posting about organic food and I write about how I am happy with the state of frozen pizza in my house!! Meanwhile I am trying to wean off processed food. So foolish. So last night I was more ambitious and I was motivated by a rumbling belly. I had the intention earlier in the week to make french onion soup. The recipe will follow. The ingredients have come from everywhere, 3 week old organic onions from the supermarket, leeks I bought on Monday at the union square green market and wine that was a gift from a friend. It came out pretty good. And I am pleased to say I ate by 9pm. This meal was worth the extra time and effort, and made more enjoyable by a ubiquitous Irish beer and toast with peppercorn chevre.

Life is good when children are sleeping.

French Onion Soup
One tbsp butter
One tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into bite sized pieces.
2 large leeks
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 cup of red wine
4 cups of water
Enough beef bouillon to make 4 cups of stock. (I will never be the superwoman that makes her own broth, but if you are, then more power to you!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and oil together. Saute the onions and leeks for about 20 minutes or until browned and slightly caramelized. Add the salt and pepper and thyme. Add the wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the water and bouillon. Let simmer for twenty minutes. Float a slice of toasted bread and if you really want to go over the top, lay a slice of Gruyere on that and let it melt. Holy mackerel.


  1. Sorry I missed it! Sounds delish. I'm hungry...

  2. I've started making my own broth, and it's easier than you think. Honestly! The hardest part of it is finding the time to be home long enough for it to be on the stove top (that's why I start it either right when we wake up or in the early evening.) I save all our chicken and/or beef bones from the week in a bag to use for the stock. I make a nice big pot and then add it to everything for the week, instead of water. It's great to cook rice in, for soups, sauces, etc... I find it's another great way to sneak in some extra nutrition.

    I've attached a link for you to see about the value of your own broth. I know it may seem overwhelming, but it's not. I promise you!

  3. Wow - I always thought French Onion soup would be difficult, but that sounds really reasonable AND delicious! I'll have to try it, and SOON!