Tuesday, 7 December 2010

French Onion Soup au Gratin, Carrot and Raisin Muffins, and what the heck do they mean by Bridge?

Is there anything more inviting than a steaming hot bowl of French onion soup? My husband loves it packed with French bread and cheese, so it's almost a really wet sandwich. This is warming comfort food by a group of gals that Canadians will recognize - the force behind the Best of Bridge cookbooks.

Why Bridge? Because they used to get together for weekend getaways and play... bridge! Their friendship and enthusiasm produced a series of cookbooks featuring their favourite part of getting together - the food. The books are being re-introduced to a new generation of readers and home cooks, classic and comforting fare for your family. For those of you familiar with the Bridge series, this book - The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks, Volume 2, contains all of the recipe from Winners (the green book) and Grand Slam (the black book). Bound in a casual, lay-flat and easy to read format with a few full size colour photos in the middle.

 The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks 
Volume Two
Hardcover, Spiral-bound
384 pages

The book is divided into three categories: Brunch Buffets, Lunch and Dinner Parties, and Goodies. In our KitchenPuppies test kitchen we made this delicious French Onion Soup and the Carrot Raisin Muffins. Delicious and classic, family fare.

French Onion Soup au Gratin
This is the best! Serve with a salad and garlic bread.

4 large onions
¼ cup butter  60 mL
4 cans (each 10 oz/284 mL) beef broth
½ cup dry sherry  125 mL
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce  10 mL
Pinch black pepper
6 slices French bread, each ½ inch (1 cm) thick, toasted
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese  175 mL
1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese  250 to 500 mL

In a large saucepan, cook onions in butter until tender but not brown. Add beef broth, sherry, Worcestershire sauce and pepper and bring to a boil. Pour into individual ovenproof bowls. Float a slice of toasted French bread in each. Sprinkle with Parmesan and top with mozzarella. Place under broiler and heat until cheese bubbles. Scrumptious!
Serves 6.

Carrot and Raisin Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour  250 mL
½ cup whole wheat flour  125 mL
2 tsp baking powder  10 mL
½ tsp salt  2 mL
½ tsp ground cinnamon  2 mL
¼ tsp ground nutmeg  1 mL
½ cup brown sugar  125 mL
1 egg
½ cup milk 125 mL
1/3 cup vegetable oil  75 mL
1 cup grated carrots  250 mL
½ cup raisins  125 mL

Grease muffin tins, Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat together egg, milk and oil. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir just until ingredients are moist. Fold in carrots and raisins. Fill tins two-thirds full. bake at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes. Serve with orange butter.
Makes 12 muffins.

Orange Butter

½ cup soft butter  125 mL
¼ cup sifted icing sugar  60 mL
1½ tbsp grated orange zest  22 ml

Cream butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and orange zest. Serve with muffins.
Makes about ¾ cup (175 mL).