My sweet onions are ready for harvest! Is there a better sign that spring is in the air?
Okay, so spring isn’t in the air everywhere at the moment and I should know–the family and I just flew home from Denver, CO where Old Man Winter is blowing hard and furious. But the cold will make this recipe all the sweeter. It’s sweet and savory and the aroma alone will delight your senses.
If you like French Onion Soup, you’re going to LOVE this dish. While a sure-fire hit in the fall, this delicacy is welcome in my home any time of the year. Taken from the magazine, Cuisine at Home, it’s simple and easy to make, much like homemade French Onion Soup. And worth every minute. Sliced onions cooked until they caramelize are a guaranteed winner in any household and when you add cheese, the whole world turns sweeter. Especially when we’re talking Gruyère cheese. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
Onions au Gratin
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 cups sliced sweet onions
1/2 cup dry sherry or chicken broth (I used sherry)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved (I skipped these)
Preheat oven to 400°F
Melt butter in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onions, stirring until slightly softened to make room in the pan (I don’t know what this means—I just sautéed the correct amount of onions); cover and cook until completely softened, 10 minutes.
Add sherry, thyme, and bay leaves; increase heat to medium-high. Sauté, uncovered, until the liquid evaporates and onions are browning, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes (mine may have been 20 minutes, but caramelizing onions is a fairly forgiving process).
Combine cheeses, then stir 1/2 cup of cheese mixture into onion mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until cheese is bubbly and browned, about 20 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves, then sprinkle with olives. Let stand to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 4 servings. Total time: approx. 50 minutes.
Cuisine at Home is a great publication. Not only does it offer phenomenal recipes, but it includes color photographs of the cooking process. Indispensable for novices like myself!
Posted by kimboykin
Hey y’all, guess this is my introductory blog entry, so here goes. My name is Kim Boykin, and I’ve been writing down stories since I could hold a fat number 2 pencil in my hand. But my own fairytale began almost two years ago in New York City.
At 53, after helping my husband and my kids chase their dreams, I went to a writer’s conference and pitched my novel to four editors. A few months later, one of those editors, Leis Pederson, of Berkley Books/Penguin made my dreams come true and bought my debut novel, THE WISDOM OF HAIR (publication date 3/5/13.)
Including the amazing authors at Women Unplugged, I’ve met so many wonderful people on this writing journey. My agent, Kevan Lyon, is at the top of that list and I am so grateful that she picked me as a client. Leis Pederson, of course. It goes without saying I also owe a lot to my parents, who are normal and wonderful, which really sucks if you’re a writer. For some reason the world thinks if you come from crazy town, you’re much more interesting.
Lastly, I’ve been married to the same sweet man for thirty years. He doesn’t really get this whole women’s fiction thing, but he cheers me on every chance he gets and is happy I’m living my dream.
Am I selfish to want more time for myself, my writing? Does it make me a bad person that I’m happy my kids are attending summer day camp for the next two weeks? I mean, I did sign on as Stay-at-Home Mom. When we married, it was agreed that my husband would assume the work/financial support role while I took on the house and kids. Eventually it was understood I’d transition back into the workforce, once the kids were out of the house…
But I’m writing and publishing NOW, despite the fact it will be half a dozen years before my youngest moves out to college. So technically, I’m breaking the agreement. But I can’t help it. I love to write. I want to write. And something needs to fill my days other than household chores, else I go mad.
So it’s with enthusiasm and joy that I dropped my kids off at the camp this morning. I’m starting a new project, looking forward to a new release…
Life is good. Life is fulfilling. Yet I feel guilty. Okay, I don’t harbor a LOT of guilt, but I do have some. Is it me? Am I alone?
I know mothers who work “outside” the home experience a conflict between duties, families and chores pulling at them as bosses and coworkers do the same. But in my case, I’m bringing this upon myself. Voluntarily. I don’t HAVE to work. I WANT to work. I’m happier when I work, creating, sharing. I need to work. It’s an outlet. It keeps me sane. Yet sometimes, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m “sneaking” it in between the layers of my real life.
Maybe when I earn enough to support myself and the family I won’t feel this way. Maybe not. I’m not sure. I’m conflicted. Anyone else feel the same?
Posted by Christy Hayes
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to wear every emotion you ever felt on your sleeve? To show, without embarrassment or shame your love, distrust, affection, displeasure, and irritation at the very moment you experience those feelings? Our dog Snickers is a living, breathing example of emotional expression and, surprisingly, she has many adoring fans despite her pit-bull like appearance.
When Snickers is happy to see us, she wags her tail, jumps up to greet us, and sometimes squats to perform what we call “Happy Pee.” When she’s tired and asleep on our bed and we want her to get down, she expresses her
displeasure by groaning loudly and often. She gets slowly to her feet and looks back to make sure we weren’t just kidding (even though we never let her sleep on the bed). When she is scared she barks, when she wants us to share our food she gives us her Puss and Boots face, and when she wants to go outside, she scratches us with her paw.
My all time favorite Snickers move is when, on our daily walks, she throws herself on her back and does a happy dance in the grass, soaking every ounce
of joy out of the glorious wonder of being alive. No matter how tired I am or how big a hurry we are in, her happy dance always brings a smile to my face. Dogs are the most wonderful and curious creatures!
A life without dogs would not only be boring, but incredibly lonely. So if you’re having a bad day or feeling lonely or unappreciated or just plain blah, do yourself a favor and spend some time with a dog. Don’t have one? Check out the various dog rescue groups in your area, but be sure you understand what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.
If you’ve got some time today, let me know about your dog and what he/she does that makes you smile.
Friend of mine’s daughter is getting married. Yep, she’s excited, fearful, concerned, panicked—the gamut. While she likes the fellow very much, a mother always reserves the right to judge. After all, it is HER baby we’re talking here and she wants what’s best.
But what is best? And for whom? Now, this all depends on our tastes, doesn’t it? Some like it fruity, some like it tart. Some like it sweet and some like it hot. What it is, doesn’t matter so long as you know what it is that you like. (Otherwise, you’ll be growing all kinds of things only to give them away, because they don’t suit your tastes!)
Now why am I talking produce all of a sudden? Because it’s that time of year in my garden. And mind you, the premise works for both husbands and vegetables. First, when it comes to specimen selection, the fellow (or veggie) must fulfill your needs. Whether you’re seeking the proper balance for your daily diet, or the simple pleasure of beauty to fill your senses, you must decide what’s right for you.
And while it would be nice to combine ALL of our wants into one big, robust plant that served all of our needs, it’s not normal. No. It would be like messing with Mother Nature’s natural order, whereby you could end up with a hybrid of sorts! Remember: those don’t reproduce well.
A specimen with your must-haves is best. Like I must-have meaty, fleshy tomatoes, because my end game is to make sauce. Big, round juicy ones simply won’t do. They just won’t serve me well (despite their delightful description!). So I’ll choose Roma-type tomatoes versus Beefsteak.
Pumpkins sound harmless enough, but they can be a downright nuisance. They spread their vines in every direction and can literally take over the landscape. Try as you may to stop them–even remove them– they continue to return. It’s a plant that doesn’t allow for much else to thrive and should be well-controlled for best results. Think: oppressive mother-in-law.
Yes, well, some of you know exactly what I mean. While marriage is a beautiful thing, it is supposed to last a lifetime. A tough proposition to say the least, because as my husband so aptly put it: the one thing in life you cannot control is your spouse. Was this a hint?
Sure was—and a good one at that! As mothers we can advise, counsel, take under our wing and nurture, but we cannot control our spouse. Or our adult children, for that matter. And like the mother bird who watches her child take that first leap from the nest, we worry whether or not they’ll land on their feet. If they get hurt? We flock to their side. We want nothing to harm our babies!
But sometimes, hurt is part of the process. Not every marriage makes it the first time. Mine didn’t. And while it was sad, it has served to make my second (and current marriage) stronger.
So what’s a poor mother to do? I imagine she’s too busy pondering that question. She has a wedding to plan!