Good thoughts for bad times | French Onion Soup

Once, a pelican bit me on the butt. Then there was a time, being a clueless kindergartner, I stepped on a cat’s paw, fulfilling the one prophecy: getting bitten. Technically, I was the victim, and the animals, the antagonist. But truth be told, I love animals and don’t really have issues with them.

Then last March, I had an encounter. It was just another breezy Sunday night, and you can almost see the stars glistening in the skies, which is pretty rare here in Singapore. I was walking my dog, Princess, and ran into a couple of cats. This cat, automatically compassed it’s highly arched body in Princess’s direction, ready for an attack. I thought it was just another lame territorial mechanism.

I was half right. It wasn’t lame. Because I carried Princess in defense, the cat jumped at my shin quicker than I could react. Literally. Its upper fangs lunged deep into my shin, and my ankle was encompassed with long scratches. Who would have thought that I’d have a tattoo done personally by a cat, free of charge? Seriously, anyone of you considering one? I could introduce you…

Absolutely not.

And as if a feline souvenir isn’t enough. Recently, I came down with a sore throat, in-congestion, and now, a persistent cough and a heat rash. On and off, I have deadly thoughts about strangling the rash, if only it had a neck. But of course, there’s my conscience that tells me otherwise.

Earlier this year, I read Tested by Fire, a book by Merrill Womach. This man, a true man of God, with a wife and children on tow, suffered massive burns from a plane crash. His face, as written, was like a “burnt marshmallow”. But in spite of the brutality he had to face, he was positive throughout his journey to recovery. It’s amazing, and I really respect him as a wonderful husband, father, and testimony for God. Doesn’t he remind you of Job from the Bible?

When I look at the rashes on myself, I wince a lot. It’s a painful sight, but when I remember what I had read, it can never parallel what Merrill went through. Similarly, it’s nothing compared to losing your parents, homes, or even your life to earthquakes. No amount of itches can balance that kind of pain.

So be it evil cats, or an onset of illnesses, life is given to you. Take it and make the best out of it.

And ‘cat’, no need for apologies, you’re forgiven.

Perhaps in a year or two.

French Onion Soup

from Jennie’s Kitchen

makes 4 servings

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In the past, every time I went to a French restaurant, I made sure I order this soup. It may not be as cleansing as chicken soup, nor is it as thick as an American mushroom soup. Granted, it hits the perfect note and balance on the soup scale. I love how cheesy it smells, how hearty it is, and how it warms you up better than a hot water bottle sneaked under your comforter. I’ve made both the vegetarian version and the traditional, which requires beef stock. Verdict? Go vegetarian, of course. Not only because it’s healthier, but it tastes just as good, or maybe better! Using beef stock tends to create a thirst that uncomfortably sticks with you for the longest time. A little like msg, if I say so myself.

ps: those of you coming from tastespotting/livejournal, sorry if I got vegan mixed up with vegetarian! It’s not because English is my 2nd language (no it’s not), nor am I lost in translation. I just goofed up, thinking they were synonymous. Sorry, once again!

4 tablespoons butter

4 large onions, sliced

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 1/2 cups water

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (feel free to add more, or to taste!)

1 tablespoon molasses

Four 1-inch thick slices of baguette, toasted

4 ounces shredded Provolone, Swiss, Gruyere, or any melting cheese of your choice

1. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper; stir to coat well. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 15 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are softened and caramelized, about 20 more minutes.

2. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir, scraping up browned bits at bottom of pot. Raise heat back to medium-high and slowly pour in the water. Add garlic clove, sherry vinegar and molasses. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

3. Preheat broiler. Evenly ladle soup into 4 oven-safe bowls. Place one slice of toasted baguette on top of each. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top and place on a rimmed baked sheet. Cook under broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

NB: picture tutorial found on Jennie’s website

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8 thoughts on “Good thoughts for bad times | French Onion Soup

  1. This looks delicious! And I found it through Tastespotting. But don’t worry about the “vegan” label. I’m vegan, but I can just substitute non-dairy margarine and imitation cheese (or omit the cheese) and voila! it’s vegan. Great blog; thanks!

  2. Whoa, animals seem to have it in for you a little. Hope you’re feeling better. I sure could use some of this soup right about now, the weather is cooling down drastically.

    Thanks for visiting my blog :) You take gorgeous photos!

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