Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shiny Red Recipe and why I am going to hell Part 2...

It's nearly winter here in Boston. The car has been covered in frost the last few mornings and the dogs have been very quick to do their business.

You know that I love this weather and I especially love cooking some of my favorite comfort foods.

I needed some comfort food today because Lily has a cold that will not go away. It started Monday with a little cough. Each day the cough has gotten a little deeper and the nose a little drippier. She's still had plenty of energy until this morning when Lily's whining had reached a tenor that told me that she really wasn't feeling well.

Like most children, when Lily is sick she attaches herself to her mother and whines. Healing can only be achieved if a mother is driven to the brink of insanity.

If Lily follows her usual course of illness she will continue to malinger until Saturday morning when she will suddenly spike a fever and develop an ear infection which will require a special trip to the pediatrician on a weekend. Over the last ten years we have seen the pediatrician on countless Saturday's and Sunday's and at least three Christmas's.

Anyway, in an effort to provide some rich savory sustenance to my sick baby I made French Onion Soup.

It's very easy except for the part where you spend an hour caramelizing the onions.

Ingredients -

½ cup butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 loaf French bread
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
½ cup melted butter
½ lb gruyere cheese, sliced
6 yellow onions, finely sliced

2 quarts beef broth

1/2 cup sherry


Sauté the onions in the butter until they are soft in a 6 quart soup pot over a medium high heat.

When all the steam is gone, the onions will begin to caramelize, so turn the heat down to low and keep stirring them often, until they are dark brown.

Add the parsley, bay leaf, thyme, sherry and broth. Simmer the soup for 45 minutes.

Slice the bread into rounds, which just fit inside your soup bowls, then toast them.

Divide the French onion soup between 6 soup bowls and put a slice of toasted bread and some cheese on top of each one.

Broil until the cheese is golden brown.

It was splendidly delicious. Except that Lily didn't like it and Rebecca would barely taste it.

Since my children refused to properly praise my efforts I decided to prepare some for David and Dan who were working late out in the office.

Remember Dan?

He is such a sweet boy. He's also Jewish and keeps kosher. When I brought out the soup he asked what was in the soup and I assured him that it was kosher.

Since there is no pork or shellfish in the soup I figured, no problem.

I am an idiot.

It was only after I took the bowls back in the house that the fact that the broth was beef and that the cheese was dairy crossed my mind.

I led that sweet boy into the land of unclean traife. The rule of not mixing meat and dairy had been broken and there was no going back.

I apologized and apologized and then apologized again.

Dan was gracious and understanding. He's probably used to shiksa's breaking the rules of the tribe.

So for those keeping track, in addition to swearing at a nun, I have fed traife to a sweet boy who keeps kosher.

I am so getting coal in my stocking this Christmas.


Anonymous said...

You are so funny. Thanks I needed that. =) Mari PS you are not going to hell.

Lisa said...

Sorry about the coal! Hope Lily gets better not worse!
Hugs, Lisa

Cheryl said...

Sending some healing energy to little Miss Sunshine.

Joshua W. Burton said...

In case you're ever in the same situation again, please note: there are quite a few other things in this story that should have kept you from asserting that the soup was "kosher." In roughly ascending order of severity....

(1) You don't keep kosher yourself, so the evidentiary value of anything you say about the subject is halakhically nil. Please don't be offended if your kashrut-observing guest stops right here. It's not personal, it's Talmudic.

(2) Your spoon has probably been used for both milk and meat, and hasn't been boiled in a kosher pot to clean it.

(3) Your bowl has probably been used for both milk and meat, at temperatures above yad soledet bo (a young child will pull back his hand), and, unless it's glass, cannot be kashered. Your wooden cooking spoon definitely cannot be kashered.

(4) Your pot has certainly been used for both milk and meat, at frying temperatures above boiling, and hasn't been heated red hot to clean it.

(5) Your ingredients generally are not under kosher supervision, and in particular you don't know whether the wheat in your bread is the new crop, or was owned by someone over Passover. The raw vegetable ingredients are all fine, assuming your knives only touched them cold.

(6) Your cheese is made with animal rennet, unless you bought kosher cheese.

(7) Your sherry is wine that has been handled by non-Jews, and the Talmud presumptively assumes you have been using it to offer libations to your pagan gods.

(8) Your beef broth is made from an animal that was not inspected as kosher, not slaughtered as kosher, not drained and salted as kosher, and not separated out to exclude all the treyf parts (the whole back half unless an expert removed the sciatic nerve, the blood organs unless they were roasted with fire, the marrow...).

(9) Finally, you mixed milk and meat.

If you'd served a ham & cheese sandwich with a cup of clam chowder, you'd be somewhere between (7) and (8) from a standpoint of strict kashrut: your beef is actually worse than your pork in Jewish dietary law, because it can be mixed with milk products (pork doesn't even rise to the level of counting as meat). There is nothing you can do about (1) through (5), and someone who is willing to eat, eat prepared food, and eat prepared hot food at your house will know this. But if you entertain a kashrut-observant guest who can get past that, it would be polite to bring cheese and grape products to his/her attention. As soon as you add meat or chicken into the equation, you are across a bright line, and any assurance that it's "kosher" is an (unintentional, I'm sure!) flat falsehood.

Your understanding with your friend is between you and him, but the word "kosher" as generally understood by those who keep it will necessarily involve most of the points I've outlined. Forewarned is forearmed.

TJIC said...

Welcome to the Joshua Burton experience!

I usually enjoy it, but YMMV.

Julie said...

I would of said I liked your soup. And that Dan guy is smart to stay in your favor.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call you an idiot. Kosher is a lifestyle you would need to be rasided in. Even if you dropped the chesse and bread, the butter and beef broth would have gotten you even if kosher.

Joshua has a good view. If you aren't kosher, your guests can't expect you to provide kosher food, but your effort should be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

How did I miss that you swore at a nun??? This was hysterical. :) love, Ms. TT

Joshua W. Burton said...

More kashrut nonsense posted over at, if you're interested. Follow the link at my name.