Tonight when I brought the girls their suppertime snack they crowded around me as usual, each wanting to be petted while at the same time getting to the treat first. They started eating and I was tidying up the coop when I began to hear short little barks coming from below. As I looked down I saw Cleo giving a bark-like warning cluck while simultaneously nipping at the head of whoever got near her. There was no way she wanted to share her treat tonight and this grand dame was going to make sure that everyone else stayed away.
I think I understand how she feels. I'm getting a little crabby and feeling cramped having to constantly be inside too. We all need a break from this year's vicious cold. Tomorrow I'll give the girls some special sprouts to eat and something new to play in. I've saved some bags of dry fall leaves and they'll have a fun time digging in those, at least for a day. I don't think dry fall leaves will cure my cabin fever, however; if only it were that easy.
This is my perfect antidote to the winter blues.
Julia Child's French Onion Soup
This recipe is from The French Chef Cookbook and is the best French Onion Soup I've ever tasted. I added a little more wine and a little more sage, but otherwise the recipe is pure Julia.
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lbs.thinly sliced onions (6 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (32 oz.) containers lower-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
shredded Gruyere cheese
Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy pot and toss the onions until coated with the butter mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent.
Uncover the pan, increase the heat to medium and sprinkle the onions with salt and sugar. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are deep golden brown. Sprinkle with flour and stir until coated; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, wine, sage and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a nice simmer and cook 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 425ºF. Brush the baguette slices lightly with olive oil and bake on a baking sheet for 6 minutes, turn and continue baking 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.
Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and top with toasted croutons and Gruyere cheese. Bake at 350ºF. 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Serves 6 to 8