Sunday, 3:21 AM - There is no pain, only itching. There is no sleep ...
This is so freaking maddening! It has gone on for hours, despite the hydroxyzine. I am about to give in and take two Benadryl, but that is sure to knock me out cold and leave me feeling stupid.
Sunday, 10:38 AM - As predicted. Got some sleep even though I woke up at least once. Feeling stupid. Still having brutal itching, but I can't take Benadryl all day. Not if I want onion soup and freshly baked bread. I have been over-thinking the whole onion soup idea for three days, resulting in something called analysis paralysis. In the end, the winning recipe will be decided by the contents of my kitchen. I am too tired to food-shop today, and besides, there are two NBA play-offs today, starting at 1:00 this afternoon. I'm happy to see I can still set priorities.
I don't feel good, folks. This itching has been so bad, I cannot stand to have a light blanket on my legs. This is new for me, as the itching has always been an arms and hand thing, sometimes scalp and trunk. I guess that goes along with my sensitivity to any kind of touch or even the lightest pressure on my skin. I keep chasing the dogs away; Romeo is not longer smiling, while Indiana is in his own bed, glaring at me with one eye. The only good news is that scratching my legs has not caused welts to rise.whereas my forearms still look like they spent some time passing through a meat grinder.
Anakin keeps trying to stand on my chest and stomach while I am sitting in bed, Ouch, damn it.
Okay, about the onion soup - I was in the mood for a soup that would go down easy and stay down. A straightforward broth, like chicken or French onion, or an uncomplicated cream soup like carrot or potato. I kept leaning towards French onion soup, for which I have a classic recipe everybody loves, and then I remembered a four- or five-cheese onion soup we had a few times at (I think) the Brown Derby Restaurant at Disney-MGM Studios. We're talking way back when that park first opened. Unfortunately, I could not find the recipe, either online or in one of the four (yes, four) Disney cookbooks I have in my collection. With all of my cookbooks, I probably have more soup recipes than Campbell's, but I was having no luck until Martha Stewart came through for me. Her recipe for Creamy Caramelized-Onion Soup looked like it would produce a soup that would taste like the one from the Brown Derby, even though she only used three onions.
Monday - I'm getting tired of reading myself kvetching all the time. So let's move right on to the recipes. This is my variation on the French Onion Soup recipe I've preparing for 40 years. Both are very easy; this is the one I made last night, along with a bread that I think works well as the cheese covered crouton. First, the soup:
Reddish Onion Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, halved, sliced thin (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 tablespoon finely minced garlic or chunky garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground mixed peppercorns (about 10 grinds)
1/2 teaspoon Cento Double Concentrated Tomato Paste (from 4.56 oz. tube)
1/4 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 cans Campbell's beef broth
1 tablespoon sherry
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the onion and garlic. On low heat, cook together slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and continue to cook on low for another 15 minutes. Now add the tomato paste, stir thoroughly, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the white wine and stir so that the tomato paste is completely dissolved. Add the beef broth and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the sherry, and adjust the seasoning. If you can, refrigerate the soup overnight. Reheat in the microwave, and serve with the cheese toasts.
Float 'Em If You Got 'Em Cheese Toasts
1 loaf Cheese Wine Bread, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (8 or 9 slices, save the remaining bread for breakfast), recipe below
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
grated Pecorino Romano cheese
6-8 ounces shredded cheese (Italian blend, cheddar or jack cheese blends, Swiss, Gruyere)
With a cookie cutter, cut rounds (or hearts, or stars) out of each slice of bread. Toast lightly under the broiler on one side, first brushing the tops with some of the melted butter. Turn the bread, brush with the remaining butter first. Top each toast with the Pecorino Romano cheese first, and then whatever shredded cheese you choose. Place back under the broiler just until the cheese melts. Set aside until ready to serve the soup. Float one cheese toast in each bowl of this soup, or on the side.
Cheese Wine Bread (Bread Machine) - from The Bread Machine Cookbook V by Donna Rathmell German
I prepared the 1 1/2 lb. loaf:
1/2 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded cheese (I used half each Italian blend and Mexican four cheese blend)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Bake on the Sweet or Basic setting. I also recommend using the Light crust setting.