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Nov 23, 2014

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

French onion soup is my all time favorite. I love the caramelized onion flavor, the toasted baguette croutons, and the gooey gruyere cheese on top. The beef broth is sweetly flavored with fresh thyme.

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This soup is really tasty, looks elegant, and the base can can be made in advance, making it really easy to prepare for company. Why haven't I made this before (she says, smacking herself in the forehead)?

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Thank goodness for Secret Recipe Club led by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, who works really hard to keep things going. It's a group of bloggers who are assigned another member's blog from which to choose a recipe to make once a month. We all reveal whom we had on the same day and at the same time. This was the impetus I needed to make my all time favorite soup.

My assigned blogger is Susan of Food, Baby, Life. She is raising three boys, all under 5 years old, and lives in Australia. She's actually been blogging for almost six years! Now that she is a mom, she likes to cook healthy, but I'll forgive her for that (just kidding Susan!). She also has been an avid Tuesdays with Dorie baker. Just check out her Recipe Index.

I immediately chose Susan's French Onion Soup, and I'm so glad I did. Delicious!

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

French Onion Soup Recipe

Adapted from Food, Baby, Life, who adapted it from 
Serves 6 to 8 as a starter, and 4 to 6 as a main course. 


6 T unsalted butter
4 very large brown onions, peeled and sliced crossways into rings
3 garlic cloves, sliced and crushed
1 tsp sugar
3 T all purpose flour
1/2 C dry red wine
6 C beef stock
1 bouquet garni (a few sprigs of thyme, parsley, and bay leaves tied together or wrapped in cheesecloth)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 good baguette, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices
1 to 2 cups of freshly grated gruyere cheese (depending on how gooey you want your cheese to be. Next time, I'm adding more =)


  1. Melt the butter in a large (6 to 8 quart) saucepan or saute pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions and garlic and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and a medium golden color, about 30 minutes (I veered a bit from the original recipe here, and cooked the onions quite a bit longer)
  3. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is cooked through, about a minute or two. 
  4. Add the wine, and cook for another minute or two. 
  5. Add the broth and bouquet garni and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Remove the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  7. Toast the baguette slices in a toaster, toaster oven, or under the broiler. If using the broiler, toast both sides. 
  8. Place an oven rack about 6 to 8 inches below the broiler and turn it on. 
  9. Fill broiler safe soup bowls or ramekins with the soup and top with two slices of the toasted baguette. Place a good handful of cheese in each bowl over the toast and soup. Place the bowls on a baking sheet, and broil for about a minute or two, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you don't have broiler safe bowls, you can sprinkle the toasts with the cheese, broil it, and place it on top of the soup. 

Nov 22, 2014

20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

I'm making my shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner. While I'll probably try a new recipe or two, most of the meal will be from my "tried and true" favorites, especially the turkey and the stuffing. Who needs the extra stress, right?

If you are in the mood to serve one or two new dishes, here are some of my favorites that you might want to try. They are all pretty tasty.

pumpkin martini and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This pumpkin martini is a delicious way to use up any leftover canned pumpkin. While I'm usually not a big fan of sweet or creamy cocktails, this one is very good.

caramelized onion tart and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

For an elegant appetizer, give this caramelized onion, goat cheese, and balsamic tartlet recipe a try.

caramelized onion jam and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

You can also assemble a platter of toasts, Boursin, and caramelized onion jam. The jam can be made in advance, making this hassle free to serve.

cabbage and apple salad and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This cabbage salad with Braeburn apples and spiced pecans is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, and all of the components can be made in advance.

carrot soup and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

If you like to serve soup, this carrot soup garnished with bacon is satisfying without being too filling. The bacon doesn't hurt either.

roast turkey and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This is the easiest turkey ever. No brining, no flipping the bird over during roasting. The turkey is covered in salt pork and a wet cheesecloth, which makes the turkey super moist.

stuffed turkey breast and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This post contains my favorite stuffing recipe (it's pretty old fashioned, but that's the way I like it), as well as a recipe for stuffed turkey breast, in case you don't want to cook a whole bird.

buttery dinner rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Of course, what would Thanksgiving be without a bread basket? Here are a few suggestions:
Pull-apart buttery dinner rolls. These are incredibly soft and fluffy.

cranberry pumpkin rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Or you could make these fluffy Cranberry pumpkin rolls

sourdough corn rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or Sourdough cornbread rolls with fresh sage

spaccatini and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or Spaccatini, little Italian rolls. I'm going to have a hard time choosing.

sauteed carrots and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

These sauteed carrots are so easy, and are full of flavor.

garlic mashed potatoes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

I have two mashed potato recipes. These garlic mashed potatoes are the bomb,

make ahead mashed potatoes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or if you'd like potatoes that you can make days in advance, these make-ahead mashed potatoes are amazing. You won't have any leftovers.

cranberry sauce and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Once you've tried making your own cranberry sauce, you'll never buy the canned stuff again. This ruby port cranberry sauce is so good, and makes a great jam and cookie filling too.

apple cider pie and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Desserts you ask! How about apple cider pie,

pumpkin cheesecake brownies and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or pumpkin cheesecake brownies,

pear almond tart and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or a pear and almond tart,

mini pumpkin cheesecakes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or mini pumpkin cheesecakes,

cranberry and white chocolate shortbread cookies and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or cranberry and white chocolate shortbread cookies using the fresh cranberry sauce you just made?

turkey soup and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Bonus recipe: Here is a wonderful recipe for turkey soup to make the next day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 16, 2014

Hearth Sourdough Bread

Hearth Sourdough | #BreadBakers Celebrate National Homemade Bread Day

This is a special month. Not only is November a month for thanks and giving, November 17th is National Homemade Bread Day. Since we're #BreadBakers, we just had to celebrate! Our usual posts are themed, but for this one we we let our individuality shine through.

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread Cookies

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

These shortbread cookies are a magical combination of flour, butter, sugar, vanilla paste, and Kosher salt. They are so simple, yet they can be so elegant, and they are perfect for a holiday table or a gift of Christmas cookies. You can make the dough in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, making holiday baking that much easier. The baked cookies can also be frozen.

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

This Short Bread recipe comes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. The book is big, nearly 400 big pages of heavy stock paper, and includes positively stunning photographs. It's also full of beautifully written stories about the bakery, the bakers, and the various recipes.

I bought the book about two years ago, but it has been languishing on a shelf since then. Silly me. Since I picked it up again, I can't seem to put it down.

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread Cookie Recipe


180 grams (6.3 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
90 grams (1/2 C) granulated sugar
2 grams (5/8 tsp) Kosher salt
5.9 grams (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
270 grams (1 3/4 C plus 3 T) all purpose flour
2 to 3 T sanding sugar for sprinkling


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the paddle attachment on medium low speed until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and salt and mix on medium low for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add half of the flour, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the second half of the flour.
  5. Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and mound the dough on top of it. Form the dough into a 5 inch by 5 inch block. Wrap it with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 
  6. When ready to bake, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  7. Roll the dough out to a 9 inch by 9 inch square between two pieces of wax or parchment paper. You may have to pound it a bit with your rolling pin to get it to roll out. If it gets too soft, you can put it back into the refrigerator to firm up. 
  8. With a sharp knife, and using a ruler, score the dough into four 2 1/4 inch wide horizontal strips. Next, score the dough into six 1 1/2 inch vertical strips. Sprinkle the dough with sanding sugar or granulated sugar. 
  9. Cut the dough along the scoring into 24 individual rectangles. Place the rectangles about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. 
  10. Place the sheet in the oven, and bake, using convection, for 13 to 15 minutes, or if not using convection, for 17 to 19 minutes. 
  11. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, and then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. 
Slightly adapted from Bouchon Bakery.
Nov 11, 2014

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

Palets de Dames, Lille Style, are small, cake-like vanilla cookies, lightly glazed with a sweet icing.

They are the first recipe the Tuesdays with Dorie group is making from Dorie Greenspan's new book, Baking Chez Moi, Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere. When I first found out about this book, I preordered it, sight unseen. I am such a fangirl. In this book, Dorie Greenspan has compiled a collection of simple dessert recipes that represent the various regions of France, where she has lived for almost 20 years.

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

As always, Dorie makes what might seem complicated completely accessible.

Palets de Dames are a favorite cookie in the patisseries in Lille, a city in northern France, according to the book. They also have various iterations across the country, but the ones in Lille have this lovely pale icing.

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

These little two-bite cookies are so easy to make and so worth it. Perfect for afternoon tea.

The recipe can be found here.  To check out how other Tuesdays with Dorie participants liked the recipe, visit here. You can buy the book here.
Nov 10, 2014

Sourdough Cornbread Rolls with Sage

Sourdough cornbread rolls with sage

I thought these Sourdough Cornbread Rolls with Sage would be wonderful for Thanksgiving dinner. They are flavored by the faint sweetness of the corn meal, a mild sourdough preferment, and the aromatic fresh sage. They are amazing spread with lots of butter.

Sourdough cornbread rolls with sage

The ratio of wheat flour to corn flour in the dough is 75% to 25%. The dough is fairly slack, with a (bread geek talk alert) 65% ratio of water to flour.

The best way to describe the the texture of this bread is that it has the crusty outside as well as the chew of artisan bread with a tight interior crumb reminiscent of cornbread.

Sourdough cornbread rolls with sage

These rolls are about the size if hamburger buns, but you can make them any size you like.

Sourdough cornbread rolls with sage

Need more ideas for dinner rolls at Thanksgiving?

Corn and Jalapeño Rolls
Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls
No Knead Dinner Rolls
Pocketbook Rolls
Pull-apart Buttery Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

For another sourdough cornbread that is a loaf, try Yeasted Corn Bread

Want even more ideas? Check out all of the links after the recipe from the amazing #BreadBakers group.

Sourdough Cornbread Rolls with Sage


Sourdough Starter

2 ounces active starter
7 ounces bread flour
7 ounces water

Final Dough

8 ounces fine cornmeal
12.2 ounces water
1 pound bread flour
1 T salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 T extra virgin olive oil
All of the starter
1 1/2 T finely chopped fresh sage


  1. Mix the starter ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let it set overnight, until very bubbly. 
  2. Add the cornmeal to the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the water. Let soak for about 15 minutes. 
  3. Add the rest of the dough ingredients except the sage and mix with the dough hook for about 3 minutes on low. Check the dough for the right texture and water absorption. You may need to add either water or flour, depending on the cornmeal you are using. I added another tablespoon of flour. 
  4. Mix the dough for another 3 to 4 minutes on medium low. Add the sage during the last minute of kneading. 
  5. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and let rise, covered, for about 90 minutes, folding halfway through.
  6. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape into rolls. Place the rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. It's okay if the rolls touch each other. Let rise for 60 to 90 minutes. 
  7. Place a baking stone in the middle of the oven and place a steam pan on the rack below it. Bring one cup of water to a boil.
  8. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F. Place the baking sheet with the rolls onto the baking stone and place the boiling water into the steam pan (protect your oven window with a dish towel). 
  9. Close the oven door, lower the temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven door to let the steam out, and close the door. 
  10. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 
I adapted this recipe from the first edition of Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread (2004). If you'd like to make the bread without using a sourdough/levain, check out page 139-140 in the book.

I'm really intrigued by the idea of using this bread to make Thanksgiving stuffing. What do you think?

Here is a list of 20 (!!) fabulous ideas for bread for your Thanksgiving table from #BreadBakers:

Nov 5, 2014

Fried Sweet Rice with Sausages and Mushrooms | Wok Wednesdays

Fried Sweet Rice with Sausages and Mushrooms

This fried sweet rice with sausages and mushrooms was so easy to make and totally tasty. The ingredient list isn't that complicated, with the Chinese sausage being the most difficult to find item.

I actually had Chinese sausages in the freezer leftover from making these beans from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young, the book that inspired Wok Wednesdays. These sausages look like skinny salamis and are sold in Asian markets. Unlike salami, they must be cooked through before eating them.

In the Asian market, they are usually in packages in the refrigerator section. They are sometimes called Chinese style sausage, lap cheong, or lap chong. Read the label and look for pork in the ingredients. If you can't find any, you could substitute a dry salami for a somewhat similar flavor.

Speaking of substitutions... full disclosure time. The recipe calls for sushi rice, so without reading the recipe all the way through, I bought some fully cooked takeout to save time. I later realized I needed to cook the rice in chicken broth... a day in advance. Alrighty then. I really need to read recipe instructions. I ended up using white basmati rice, which I had on hand. Basmati rice has a somewhat nutty flavor. It absorbs a lot of liquid while cooking, so I added another 1/2 C of chicken stock to compensate. Here is a description of the difference between the two.

The recipe also calls for dried shiitake mushrooms, however I used fresh ones instead. Other than those two substitutions, I followed the recipe as written. Besides the rice, chicken broth, Chinese sausage, and shiitake mushrooms, the recipe also calls for minced ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and salt and pepper. This is all stir-fried in just two tablespoons of oil. That's it. Just remember to make the rice a day in advance and read the recipe all of the way through. Sheepish grin.

We loved this dish. I can't wait to try it with the correct rice =)

This recipe is from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young, the essential source for all things stir-fry. It is such an excellent reference regarding Asian ingredients. I have been guilty of carrying the book into my Asian market to compare the photos in the book with the items on the shelves.

To see what the dish looks like made with sweet rice, and to get the recipe, visit Grace Young's post here.
Nov 4, 2014

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These cranberry pumpkin rolls are so soft and tender. I think they would be perfect for your Thanksgiving bread basket. I also think they would be even more perfect with Thanksgiving leftover dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and sliced turkey sandwiched in the middle. Seriously.

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The dough is incredibly easy to make. Just toss all of the ingredients into a stand mixer and mix until blended. Add the fruit and candied ginger, form the dough into 24 balls, and bake them in a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan.

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The pumpkin puree adds such an amazing softness to the dinner rolls, without any added fat. These will definitely be on my Thanksgiving menu.

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls


4/3/4 C (20 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 C (1 3/4 ounces brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T instant yeast
3/4 C (6 ounces) canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
3/4 C (6 ounces) water
1/4 C (2 ounces) softened unsalted butter
3/4 C (4 1/2 ounces) dried cranberries
1/4 C (1 1/2 ounces) diced crystalized ginger
1/4 C butter, melted


  1. Add all of the ingredients, with the exception of the cranberries and crystalized ginger, into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on medium low for about seven minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft. Adjust the the flour and water as necessary. 
  2. Add the cranberries and ginger and knead for another minute, until fully incorporated.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
  4. Oil a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces, about 54 grams each. Form each piece into a ball and place each into the cake pan, seam side down. Cover the cake pan with oiled plastic wrap. Let the pan rest for about an hour, until the rolls are puffy.
  6. Bake the rolls for about 25 to 30 minutes. 
  7. Remove the rolls from the oven, and brush them with the melted butter.
  8. Turn the rolls out onto a cooling rack to cool. 
  9. These rolls can be served warm or at room temperature. 
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

More pumpkin themed breads! 

Nov 3, 2014

Alsatian Onion Tart | Tuesdays with Dorie

Alsatian Onion Tart from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Alsation Onion Tart is, according to Dorie Greenspan in the book, Baking with Julia, a "flat, pizzalike galette covered to its very edge with meltingly tender..... mix of onions and bacon." It was a traditional Sunday supper dish in Alsace, to be served after church.

Alsatian Onion Tart from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This tart is comprised of a puff pastry crust topped with a "soubise," a mixture of onions and bacon. The onions are simmered in chicken broth until softened, and then combined with cream. The bacon is boiled and then barely fried before being added to the tart. The original recipe calls for slab bacon. I used uncured sliced bacon instead, and was pretty happy with the results.

Alsatian Onion Tart from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The original recipe also calls for four "very large" onions. I ended up with a lot of extra onion mixture after piling the onions onto the puff pastry. Two very large onions would probably be enough.

Alsatian Onion Tarts are typically round. I rolled mine into a rectangle. Why? It fit perfectly into my quarter sheet pan, which fit perfectly into my refrigerator overnight.

I totally loved the flavors of this tart. I had prepared all of the components (pastry, onions, and bacon) the day before, and baked the tart in the morning. It made an amazing late morning breakfast. Tasty!!

For this tart, you can either use store bought puff pastry, or make your own. Check out this post for how I actually made my own puff pastry!

Alsatian Onion Tart


8 ounces of chilled puff pastry scraps
4 very large onions, peeled and diced (or less, as mentioned above)
1 C chicken broth
3 T heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 ounces sliced bacon


  1. Roll out the pastry scraps to a very thin 10 to 12 inch circle or equivalent rectangle. 
  2. Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick the pastry with a fork all over. Don't scrimp on this as you want the dough to remain flat while baking. 
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Place the onions into a large sauce pan with the chicken broth, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The onions should be very soft. 
  5. Let the onions cool. Drain the onions in a strainer to remove any extra liquid. Put them back into the sauce pan. Mix in the cream and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cut the bacon slices into half inch pieces and place them in boiling water for one minute. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Fry the bacon slices for 2 minutes in a hot pan. Drain on paper towels. 
  8. Note: The pastry, onions, and bacon can be kept in the refrigerator overnight until you are ready to bake the tart.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Spread the onions over the dough, push the bacon pieces into the onion mixture. 
  11. Bake the tart on the lower third of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. 
  12. Serve immediately.