No seriously, I did. My French onion soup recipe is a labor of love and swearing and praying to the onion gods. When I was done, I tasted it and went “ummmm NOPE.” It completely lacked the depth of flavor that I’m used to and was a tad bitter. Bitter is no problem, add some honey and call it a day. Depth? Now that’s a bigger issue.
Before we get into how I fixed it, let’s talk about the last 5 or 6 years… since I started this blog in 2013, and started neglecting this blog a few months later. (I mean let’s be real, it’s a lot of work to make regular entries and be organized ‘n shit like that).
2013 – one bedroom apartment in Waltham, working 40 hrs a week, no real responsibilities other than paying rent and bills. Short temper, lack of patience, super emotional, immature. TONS of time to fart around cooking elaborate things and taking pictures. Favorite word starts with F, has four letters and ends in K.
2014 – House, pregnant, working 40 hours a week, slightly less temperamental, less time to make elaborate things, and even less energy to do so. Go-to became a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a milk shake from 5 guys… Favorite word still starts with F, has four letters and ends in K.
2015 – Baby born in August, working 40hrs, no idea what else happened. #momhaze. Favorite word has evolved into Mother F-ER.
2016 – Kid turns 1. Staring at her pretending I have no time to do anything turns into actually following her around the non-baby proofed house making sure she doesn’t stick a knife into the toaster (not really but you know). I have no idea what we ate. Favorite word is M-F-er
2017 – I don’t even know you guys
2018 – Wait, did 2018 just end? are we in 2019 already?
2019 – MOTHER F… (you get the idea)
But, so far in 2019, I’ve turned a food corner. I gave the husband a smoker and an air fryer for Christmas and to date we have had:
- Smoked prime rib
- beef, barley and mushroom soup with stock made from roasted beef bones from the smoked PR.
- Smoked glazed ham
- bones are in the freezer to make split pea soup in the near future
- Smoked chicken
- no leftovers, bones got discarded
- Buffalo wings
- I used my maple buffalo sauce recipe and they were BOMB. No more shall we suffer from soggy takeout wings.
- Fried chicken drumsticks
- YAS kween
- French onion soup (tonight)
- Guys I really thought I fucked this one up BUT instead of losing my shit and probably throwing it away (out the second story window) like I would have in 2013, I said mmkay let’s do this.
Problem solving kicked into high-gear. One thing I can say about the past 5 years is that I have really increased my problem-solving abilities and level-headedness. Professionally, personally, I’ve really come a long way and I’m very proud of myself. Anyway, back to fixing my bland-ass soup. One thing I pride myself on is making soups that are robust and have may levels of flavors and a lot of depth. When I taste one of my soups and it is off I get annoyed, but it’s usually easily fixed. Too salty or burnt tasting? Add something sweet. Bland? Add salt. Not thick enough? Make a slurry and whisk it in. Tonight, I tasted the soup and went “what the F where is the depth?” Then to make sure I wasn’t being overly critical of myself I had Rob taste it and he said “yeah, I see what you mean.” Boring soup: confirmed.
Depth. That’s not something I’ve fixed before. When you’re taking 5 hours to make a soup those flavor levels are built up each step of the way. How do you implement them in the 12th hour? You use what you know and do one step at a time.
- First, I added another teaspoon of beef base.
- Then, I boiled it down a little to concentrate the flavor.
- Tasted – still not right.
- Added – tablespoon (I think? I just dumped…) of buckwheat honey
- Tasted – hmm, nope.
- Drank some wine. Thought for a minute.
- Added – splash of dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
- Tasted – ok that’s a little better.
- Drank some balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle, got caught in the process by Rob who just shook his head and walked out of the room.
- Got a bright idea – REDUCE THE BALSAMIC
- Realized all burners on my stove were occupied and the air fryer was going…
- BRIGHT IDEA PART TWO
- Put balsamic in a ramekin and in the oven at 400º for 15 minutes. Essentially made balsamic candy. Whisked that in to the soup.
- Tasted – YES!!!! NAILED IT.
I called my mom to brag about how awesome I am and how genius I was to fix the soup but she wasn’t home, so you all get to read about it. You’re welcome. My kid and my husband are currently using her pretend food to make waffle cheese sammiches so I’m gonna go get involved in that and call it a night. Thanks for stopping by, y’all. Hopefully I’ll be updating this more regularly, but chances are it’ll be another 8 months… Or until the next time my mom isn’t home to hear about it. BYEEEEEEEE.
Moral of the story: Balsamic vinegar fixes everything. Especially when you drink it from the bottle.