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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Soupy Week (and a Big Announcement)

MIDWEEK of the previous week, I'd attempted--from my French Cooking in Ten Minutes cookbook--the recipe for aïgo-boulido (garlic soup).

the first two ingredients called for in aïgo-boulido

ONE of the ways I pick recipes in a cookbook is by scrolling down the list of ingredients. If I have most of the ingredients in my kitchen already, I'll give the recipe a try. The only "exotic" ingredient called for in aïgo-boulido was one bay leaf. Acquiring a jar of bay leaves sounded simple enough. At the local supermarket, I scanned the shelves for imported bay leaves--according to Julia, domestic bay leaves often impart a bitter flavor. What I came up with was a (small) jar of Turkish bay leaves--$8.39

HOME, I deftly crushed two garlic cloves (skin on, à la Julia) under the flat side of a knife with two hard hits of my fist and threw them into a soup pot along with the bay leaf. Next I added a tablespoon of olive oil followed by two cups of boiling water. I was to boil the soup for eight to ten minutes. Peering into the pot, the level of the soup (undergoing a rapid boil) seemed quite shallow. I was afraid that nearly all of it would dissipate by the time eight minutes was reached. I (unassuredly) covered the pot. Following the remaining steps of the recipe... the soup was a failure, tasting mainly like water. However, (recalling the $8 jar of bay leaves) I was determined.

egg yolks waiting to be tempered by aïgo-boulido

THE following afternoon I again attempted garlic soup... this time allowing the soup to boil, uncovered, for a full ten minutes.

voila!

This time, my faith in the recipe's instructions paid off handsomely. The soup was absolutely wonderful--a very elegant soup with delicate flavors... And after successful execution of the (very simple) recipe, I had the soup several more times that week. I even made it for David who was in town from Cornell for the weekend and he also enjoyed it thoroughly, calling it "very refined."

Aïgo-boulido (Garlic Soup) 
from French Cooking in Ten Minutes by Edouard de Pomiane 
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups boiling water
Salt and pepper
2 egg yolks
Stale bread, or toast 
Crush the garlic by placing it under the flat side of a knife blade and hitting the blade hard with your fist. Put the crushed garlic into a pot with the bay leaf and the olive oil. Pour the boiling water into the pot, add salt and pepper, and boil the soup for 8 to 10 minutes. Take the pot off the stove. Place the egg yolks in your serving bowl, and stir in half a ladle of hot soup. When the mixture is smooth, add the rest of the soup. Drop 4 small pieces of stale bread, or toast, into the soup and serve.

MY confidence boosted by David's approval, I went on to make onion soup (also from French Cooking in Ten Minutes) for our Sunday night dinner.

my new favorite butter

This recipe does call for some minor adjustments... one of them being lots of butter!

one thick pad... to start!

Doubling the recipe to serve both David and me, I did make one slight error (forgetting to double the amount of boiling water from 2 to 4 cups)... but David helped me to fix it easily enough.

one of the best things about cooking a dish a second time
is knowing which steps can be completed first

David enjoyed the onion soup just as much as the aïgo-boulido... if not more. We enjoyed our dinner with two different kinds of white (one still and one sparkling) and some of the most delicious heirloom tomatoes I'd had in years, sliced and served simply on crispbread with mayonnaise and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. After the main course, while we were enjoying our second flutefuls of Chandon, I sliced several pieces of the remaining parmigiano-reggiano used in the onion soup.

a bit heavy-handed on the portions...
but after all, it was a celebration

While we enjoyed the cheese course (well-paired with the Chandon), David compiled a draft of what will be the guest list for our wedding next July

Nearly ten years later, we're finally getting hitched!

After announcing wedding plans to our parents and immediate families, David and I simultaneously made the official announcement on our Facebook pages...

Let the planning begin!
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