Friday, May 8, 2015

Six Degrees of Onions, No Bacon, Part II - Creamy Six Onion Soup

Still having sleepless nights, except when I pass out on the couch.  I'm taking hydroxyzine and Benadryl, which are barely affording me any relief. I am spraying myself with anti-itch sprays as lavishly as from a bottle of Cachet from Prince Matchabelli (I know, I am dating myself here.)  The itching is so brutal, I haven't really noticed that my back also hurts.  Last time the itching was this bad, I was dealing with chicken pox.  Yeah, I'm a mess.


Yesterday was a rough day.  Panic attacks -1, Cindy - 0.  For me, anxiety is worse than depression.  Oh yeah, I had that too.  Anxiety destroys my ability to function.  I'm not sure I can even describe how it feels.  During one of my earliest, and most severe, episodes with anxiety, I sat in a chair in the corner of my dorm room, for most of the semester.  Sat and wrote and suffered.  I was simultaneously frozen and hysterical, a condition that caused my organic chemistry professor to have his teaching assistant walk me over to the on-campus psych services, while he called over there and told them to see me NOW. (I wonder sometimes where I would be had it not been for the kindness of teachers. Let me thank them here and now - Ron Friedman, Marvin Waks, and Steve Erlich from Lawrence High School, and Professor Larry Altman from SUNY Stony Brook.  And maybe a shout-out to Professor P.D.G. Brown from the German Department at New Paltz, who took me to his office and gave me a sudafed to help with a really rotten cold I could not get rid of.  This was 1972 and nobody had ever heard of meth and other misuses.)

All of this has led me to make the decision I had to make.  Which is official, at least in my mind, since I told Rob and my therapist.  Now I just have to do my research, get my ducks in a row (no Muscovy ducks, those guys don't play well with others) and make it happen.  Not easy when the very symptoms underlying the decision are preventing me from doing research and organizing ducks.  I can do this, just very slowly.

By the way, today is May 7th - Happy Birthday to my sister Nora, and my friend Chris A.

Yesterday was not without its high spots.  I had a productive therapy session (they usually are). I went to Toojay's and picked up tongue, pastrami, chopped liver, whitefish salad, fresh rye bread and a dozen miniature black and white cookies.  I went home and ate some of the tongue.  Yes, tongue.  It was heavenly.  I also made a completely impulsive stop at the new site of Chabad of South Orlando, and spoke for a good while with the Rebbetzin (Rabbi's wife).  I have been looking for someplace to go to services, and for some reason, trying this out seems a good idea. If nothing else, it will be an interesting experience.  Although being Jewish in Central Florida has always been an interesting experience.

Don't knock it till you try it, you sushi-scarfing sissies!

This is the onion soup recipe I made using Martha Stewart's recipe as the starting point.  It is delicious, incredibly rich, and does remind me of the soup we had at the Brown Derby at Disney-MGM Studios many years ago. I tried it with one of the cheese toasts, from yesterday's post, and it was complete overkill.  I wouldn't even use the extra caramelized onions that Martha recommends, although tossing in some griebenes couldn't hurt. Save the cheese toasts for a traditional onion soup that doesn't included a stick of butter and a cup of heavy cream. (Unless, like my son Cory, you think the cheese toasts are perfect with the soup.)

Math isn't my strong point, but even I can count and yes, I know there are actually seven types of onions in this recipe.  Let me say this about that:

Creamy Six Onion Soup

3 large green onions, sliced  (if the onions are skinny, use the whole bunch, which is usually 5-6 onions)

3 oz. shallots (about 3 shallots), halved and sliced

1 large leek, halved, rinsed to remove all of the grit, then sliced, white and pale green parts only

1 large red onion, halved and sliced
1 large white onion, halved and sliced
2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced
1 medium Vidalia, or other sweet onion, halved and sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and sliced
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons roasted garlic extra-virgin olive oil
salt and ground white pepper
sugar (optional)
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup vermouth (I only had red, so that's what I used and it was good)
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large pot, over medium-high heat.  Add all of the onions and the garlic.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low, add the salt, pepper, and a tiny pinch of sugar, and continue cooking for 25 to 35 minutes more, until the onions are golden brown. Add the chicken stock and the vermouth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat, and with an immersion blender, puree the onions.  Put the pot back on low heat, and add the heavy cream.  Stir well and bring up to temperature so that the soup is hot.  Do not boil it - if you boil it, you spoil it.  Serve it as is, or topped with griebenes.

My favorite photo from our tour of Carambola Gardens

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