EZ Comfort Food for Tired Wenches

This recipe is by Allison Rivers Samson and printed in her award-winning VeganizeIt! column in VegNews magazine. Because this recipe is still currently in print—in fact, it’s from the Sept/Oct issue—I can’t reprint the recipe here. The recipe is now posted at her new blog.

I will outline the critical parts of the recipe below and also the parts where I feel you can save time if you’re a tired old wench like me.

I’ll also tell you how I made my little cheezy ghost toasts!

Allison’s Vegan French Onion Soup, Made Spooky!

Well, you know me…Halloween is my favorite holiday. So I took the opportunity to make cheezy ghost toppers for Allison’s already yummy French Onion Soup recipe.

There used to be this little French bistro in one of my several home towns and I loved their onion soup. It was the best. I should also mention I’ve never made French Onion Soup, either before going vegan or now. So I had no idea what was in store for me.

Before we get into the details, remember, there’s plenty of time to nap, drink or shave your legs while cooking the onions. Just be sure to set a timer.

Making like a French Zen Master

I think perhaps the French could’ve been a little more creative in naming this soup. I would have considered something like French Zen Soup because you have to slooooow down and take the time to do the onions right. Seriously. There are no short cuts with cooking the onions as it takes 90 minutes to simmer them to a browned caramel perfection. There’s no way to speed up this part of the recipe. Sorry.

Saving time like I save coupons.

I did find another area of the recipe where I could save substantial time for other Tired Wenches: making the vegetable stock. There are a lot of great store-bought stocks. But if you choose NOT to make your own, be sure to go easy on the salt as many store-bought stocks are already salted. Of course, nothing beats a home made vegetable stock but in a pinch, store-bought will do.

Just look at that dark caramel brown onion soup! Allison has a lot of unique and special ingredients that go into the soup base. Some I never would have thought of.

Getting creative for Halloween.

Allison’s recipe calls for rounds of French bread that you top with mozzarella cheese and pop under the broiler to melt. Then you use these cheese gooey rounds to top your bowl and garnish it all with a sprig of parsley.

I made my ghosts with a ghastly cookie cutter, topped them with shredded vegan cheese, broiled to melt then cut tiny eyes from itty bitty bits of black olives. Prolly shoulda used more cheese but I didn’t want to lose sight of my ghosts!

TIP: Remember the diameter of your cookie cutter before buying your French bread. If they don’t match, your ghosts will have no heads ;-P

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did get over my fear of the broiler. I peeked inside—remember, it’s a bottom drawer type broiler—saw that there was nothing living down there and successfully broiled ghost toasties. All without startling the smoke detector!

One more thing.

Remember that sherry vinegar I was bitching and moaning about not being able to find? Well, I finally remembered that my favorite source for balsamic vinegar (The Olive Mill in Geneva, Illinois) also has a bazillion other products and sure enough, they have a very nice sherry vinegar.