Isn't dough beautiful? The stretching bubbles, the rises and ridges, the nooks and crannies. Well, when this dough is baked, it is all about those nooks and crannies. Those little craters that butter just melts and pools in, allowing for a sinfully delicious breakfast.
English muffins are also sinfully easy to make. This was the first time I had ever tried to make them, and after only one attempt I can positively say I will be making these again. We ate the last one this morning and only hours later Reid was already telling me that I could make them for him whenever I wanted. Which means that he will actually eat them, which is kind of a big deal in this house.
I used a recipe from my friend Monet's blog, Anecdotes and Apple Cores, so go check it out if you would like to know how to make these for yourself! And while you're over there, give the rest of her blog a looksey too. She is a wonderful photographer, a beautiful mother, and a great chef. And if you live in or near Colorado and have/want kids, be sure to check out her other project, cord.
These muffins were fantastic with both sweet and savory toppings, such as butter and jam, or peanut butter and honey, or even bacon and jalapeño eggs benedict like those that Reid made for me. He paired it with a jalapeño Gin & Tonic, which was amazing. He muddled a bit of jalapeño with a little sugar, then added the gin, strained it, and added the tonic. They were so good I had him make one for me two nights in a row, which surprised us both.
If you are a seasoned dough maker, or someone just starting their foray into the flour and yeast camp, these English Muffins are worth a go. They're easy, satisfying, and on the verge of addicting.
When I was sixteen I worked in a little french cafe in my hometown called La Baguette. They were known for their fondue and french onion soup. It is one of those restaurants where recipes were used but not really followed with any stringency. It was definitely more, 'a little of this' and 'a little of that,' and even some, 'whatever tastes right.' I clearly internalized this cooking style quite a bit over the six months I worked there. And while this infuriates those people who need to know exactly how something is supposed to turn out, it makes it much easier to try and recreate 8 years after the fact. I only made the french onion soup once, although that didn't stop me from coming home smelling to high heaven like onions every single day. But I can say that having not made this soup since then, I have proven once and for all my amazing ability to recall the most random stuff.
Granted, it helps that there are less than ten ingredients, which I will actually list for you this time. I know, I'm actually going to give you a recipe? What trickery is this? Don't worry, I'm still not giving you quantities or specifics. All is right in the kitchen.
I've been wanting to do a post on this soup for a while, but needed to wait until I had finally given in and bought these little Staub coquettes. I've wanted them ever since I first started working at Williams-Sonoma and this Christmas I finally decided to buy them for myself. They are very small, perfect for individual portions. And since I do happen to be one of those girls who finds small things cute, these are a dream come true despite not really being very multi-purpose. They are, however, exactly the right size for this soup. This recipe calls for a lot of butter and cheese and is too rich to serve in gigantic portions.
Alright, onward to the actual recipe. You will need: butter, yellow onions, salt, pepper, stock, baguette, and cheese.
First- in a well-insulated pan, like a dutch oven, sauteuse, or soup pot, melt the butter over low heat. I'm talking like a 4 on the dial. Cut your onions in half then slice them like you were making rainbows (thanks, Lis, for that description) and add to pan. DO NOT DICE THEM. I used about a stick and a half of butter for 6-7 medium onions. Sprinkle some salt over the onions. Keep the stove on low and stir until the onions are coated in butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally. If your onions start to burn, lower the heat. You do want some colouring, however, so don't freak out if they start browning on the bottom of the pan. Depending on the quantity of onions this process could take up to a couple of hours. Mine took about an hour to get to the colouring you see in that terrible picture above. That is what you are going for. When they look dark enough add some pepper and the stock. Turn the heat up so the soup boils, then transfer into oven-proof bowls. Or, in my case, cast iron coquettes.
Place slices of baguette on top of the soup. The more stale the bread, the better. Seriously. At the restaurant we had this bin that was just for old slices of baguettes that we didn't sell. They sat there for days, until they were so dry that when dipped into liquid they almost immediately became a soppy mess.
Sprinkle some shredded cheese liberally over the top of the bread. I used fontina, because I am slightly cheap and that is what we used to use. But if you are feeling adventurous and possibly affluent, gruyere would make a great alternative. Slide under a broiler until the cheese bubbles and forms little brown spots. The longer you broil it, the better it will be. I probably could have left mine in for a little bit longer. But it was still absolutely delicious. It is a faintly sweet, deeply rich, extremely buttery and satisfying comfort food. If I were trying to impress someone (or someones, since there are three coquettes in a set), I would serve it with an arugula salad beforehand and poached pears with ginger-caramel for dessert.