French Onion Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

On my list of ultimate comfort foods French onion soup is preeeeetty high up. Every time I see it on a menu I have to get it. If it were possible to be a French onion soup sommelier you could expect to see a blue checkmark next to my name.

While time consuming, making a good broth is simple enough, so to step my game up I went to the most often overlooked part of the preparation, the bread. While a baguette does a marvelous job of soaking up the soup I thought homemade garlic bread croutons would be the perfect opportunity to inject a little more flavor into the soup. And between the gruyere on top, the sweet and savory onion soup, and buttery garlic bread the soup almost has a, and bear with me here, juicy mouthfeel. Yes I’m aware soup is liquid and so is juice, and yes I used the term mouthfeel. It’s just so many things bursting at once you can’t help but want more.

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Cheesy Baked Bacon and Cauliflower

Anyone who has attempted to be halfway healthy has learned that cauliflower is a miracle vegetable. Floating around the internet you can find recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower bread, and other types of witchcraft. But did you know that you can use cauliflower as a thickening agent in sauces and gravys instead of a roux? Because you totally can!

That’s the magic to this recipe. You get all the warmth and gooiness of a bacon mac and cheese (cooking the cauliflower in bacon grease doesn’t hurt), but you’re also doubling down on the veggie goodness. Is it the healthiest thing on the planet? Not quite. But can you feel relatively guilt free about this? Of course! It makes an awesome side or main dish.

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage Brown Butter

The month of October, like the Walmart seasonal aisle, has two sides. First you have the spooky Halloween side with all the fake blood and skeleton decor your heart could desire. Then you have the warm, autumnal items. Think burlap wreathes and pillows with stitching that reads “thankful” or “blessed.” I made it a goal this month on fancy redneck to capture the duality of October with my recipes. After all, it is Libra season and balance is critical.

First up to capture warmth and fall flavors I have pumpkin gnocchi. Usually when I make gnocchi at home I use sweet potato, but really wanted to stretch myself with an ingredient I never use, pumpkin. The combination of the fried sage, pancetta, brown butter, and pumpkin together really create a symphony on the tongue with the only component missing being the crunch of leaves on the ground.

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Togarashi Fried Chicken, Ginger Scallion Waffles, and Miso Butter

I feel like anyone who’s followed me for a while had to have known that a chicken and waffles recipe was coming eventually. How could it not? I consider chicken and waffles to be the ultimate not only brunch, but possibly southern dish as well. You have your salty, sweet, crispy, soft, and juicy all in one plate.

For my recipe I took inspiration from Michelin starred Dusek’s in Chicago

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Slow Cooker Tomato Confit Soup

When flipping through chef crush of mine, Hugh Acheson’s, The Chef and the Slow Cooker one page made me stop in my tracks. The recipe for confit tomatoes. The term confit as it applies to meat means to slowly cook an item in its own fat. For vegetables the term has come to mean very slowly poaching in massive amounts of olive oil with aromatics. Either way the end result is delicious.

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Firepower Salmon Poké

My last nomadic-esque stint in Chicago ignited a massive fire in my heart for poké. There happened to be a poké joint near where I was staying and after one bowl I was hopelessly devoted. Why wouldn’t I be? Poké is essentially a sushi/salad hybrid. You can get marinated fish of your choice served over either greens or rice with all the accoutrements your heart could desire.

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