For the most part, I’m feeling more on top of things lately. Sure, there are some extended evenings and a bit of the old sleep deprivation. But such things come with the territory and no one said it was going to be easy. I mean that. No one said anything close to that. In fact, most people were downright apocalyptic when when told them we were expecting a baby.
Needless to say, I have a rhythm to my days with Maeve that seems to work well for us. Every now and then, however, I admit I do feel a bit harried. Just the other day, I was feeling sort of rushed. I was in my car stopped at a red light furrowing my brow and fiddling with the radio dial. My mind was most certainly awash with the complexities of navigating multiple errands in multiple locations in between naps. Just then, I noticed something peculiar. There was undeniably frantic movement in the car ahead of me. Something wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t make out what was happening because the driver was hunched over rummaging through something. Just then, she whipped her head up and I got a good look. Middle-aged. Late forties, possibly? Her hair was frizzy and nearly electric with wild waves. Her eyes frenzied and her body contorted awkwardly as she craned herself around in her seatbelt to reach into the back seat of the car. It appeared she was snatching at a tall pile of soft fabric things. She grabbed several of these things and flung them onto the front passenger seat.
I studied her movements closely until I finally realized what was taking place.
She was sorting laundry.
I watched her pair several socks.
It was mesmerizing, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was the public display of a seemingly intimate household task. Or, possibly, I was marveling at the universe. How is it possible to witness such an odd thing the day after I saw a man brushing his teeth at the bus stop.
Slim chances, right?
I guess I could ponder that all day long. But, truthfully, I am not up to the task of debating statistics. I mention these instances only to suggest, or possibly convince you I am on the right track. I can’t be that out of sorts. Clearly, I haven’t yet crossed threshold of public grooming. It’s a relief, really, to find myself functioning at a respectable level. I am writing more. I am cooking more and working more at the studio. I leave the house fully clothed and have yet to give into the mom-driven urge to wear pants with an elastic waistband and flip flops. I even managed to remember my second wedding anniversary, which was last week. Oh sure, I didn’t get it together to cook a decent meal on the actual evening of our anniversary, but we did share a sentimental meal the following evening.
I made French Onion soup. Yes, it’s autumnal and hearty, but it’s also special because I ordered it on my very first date with K. That was several years ago. It’s hard to believe. I still marvel at the the labels of husband and wife. Now, mama too? It’s still strange and new in an exciting way. I hope it stays that way forever.
And, I hope you enjoy this soup. It’s so easy to make. Who knew? If I had known, I might have whipped up several batches of French Onion soup to keep the magic of that first night alive. I found it now, though, and it might just become our everyday soup and not just an anniversary one. That would mean I really have my act together.
French Onion Soup
1 pound yellow onions, halved and thinly cut lengthwise
3 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika (more for dusting)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1 1/2-inch-thick slice of ciabatta bread cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss Gruyère cheese
In a heavy 5-quart pot melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, paprika, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the onions are deep amber and exceedingly soft, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine, increase the heat, and let the wine bubble away for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef stock and water, and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the ciabatta on the middle rack of the oven and toast until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup and discard. Pour the soup into two ovenproof bowls, float the toasted ciabatta on top, and cover it with a thick layer of the Gruyère. Put the soup bowls under the broiler on the middle rack and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and golden. Sprinkle the tops with a touch of paprika.
Adapted from Cooking for Two.
(This recipe actually made 4 hearty servings!)