Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Soup That Made This Place a Winter Wonderland
The winter break is in full swing. Kids are out of school and enjoying the time they have off to play with their Christmas presents. Adults get some playtime too, as offices just don’t run at the usual clip this time of year. Some of us won’t clock back in until it’s 2013. Folks are going to the movies, having big elaborate family dinners, and some of us are even playing outdoors. That would be us this year!

You can see us gathered right here, in the photo with the morning winter sunlight coming through the windows.
We’re all getting ready to go sledding—and we get back from all that fun, but nevertheless intense exercise in fairly deep powder for the mountains of North Carolina, we’re going to be hungry!
So I pulled out a favorite from Fresh Traditions and dusted it off for a special Sunday lunch with the family: Red Onion Soup with Sun Dried Tomato andGruyere Crouton. Since hours of sledding can feel a lot like the first day of a New Year’s resolution to beat yourself up at the gym, I can guarantee you that we earned the grilled cheese sammies we dipped into the cheese laden soup. I made our soup in the morning and placed it under the broiler, just as soon as I took off my boots. On the side, I served a fresh tossed salad and the whole presentation made for an easy-tummy filling meal.

Just a note on the ingredients: I like to use the robust red onion in this soup for both the taste and the color, but you can use Vidalia if you want. You can alter the slab-of-bread topping; what I call “croutons” in my Sunday Best frame of mind—by substituting chopped olives or marinated artichokes for sun dried tomatoes.  You can also substitute with your favorite combination of cheeses, providing you choose a soft cheese - one that will melt in just a few seconds. Don’t you just love this kind of talk? What’s best about this dish is that it’s a lot of food that comes together for you in just one hour, and it’s the perfect thing to take with you into the room with the big fireplace—like the one pictured (thank you, Chris!) here.
I can’t wait to hear what you’re eating over the winter break. I’m sure your breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners are, in and of themselves, satisfying dishes that are every bit as special as the time you’ve had together this holiday season. This is the last weekend of 2012 and boy was it delicious. Happy New Year everyone!

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