Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Tennessee love affair

Every winter for the past five years, my dearest friends and I have escaped our jobs, our responsibilities, or whatever we've needed to escape in that moment, and traded them all in for a few days in the mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We rent a big, cozy cabin, pack up our cars, and drive up into the Smoky Mountains to do...absolutely nothing.

For the few days we spend in the shelter of our cabin, we feel secure, comfortable, safe. We are accepted by each other just as we are, and there is no need to put on a face, but rather, we can simply let go of any previous hindrances. In the mornings we sleep late, then enjoy stacks of pancakes and thick syrup. We curl up in the cracked wooden rocking chairs on the porch with mugs of steaming coffee, letting the hot liquid warm our icy throats. We spend most of the day lost in conversation, strengthening friendships, confiding in each other our dreams and aspirations. At night we are back on the porch, the men smoke cigars and drink whiskey while I'm in the kitchen, doing what I enjoy most- cooking for the people I love.

At a moonshine tasting. Only in Tennessee!

This year, I decided to cook one of my favorite recipes ever for our last night in the cabin- boeuf (beef) bourguigon. I even lugged my beautiful turquoise Le Creuset dutch oven up to Tennessee just for the occasion (I was not going to cook such a beautiful meal in any old pot!) Sure enough, the stew was a success. I ladled big spoonfuls of the stew into deep bowls, we passed around pieces of Country bread and dipped large hunks into the stew. And of course, we enjoyed it with a bottle of Burgundy (there is an entire bottle of this red wine in the dish, so a glass of it while eating compliments it perfectly.) Even after the bowls were empty, we spent hours telling stories, laughing at silly (and at times a bit off-colored) jokes, living fully and completely in the moment.

My prized Le Creuset dutch oven.
 This recipe is not complicated in the least; don't let any prior misconceptions of the difficulty of this dish fool you into not trying it. It certainly deserves to be enjoyed with friends, preferably in a log cabin in Tennessee, in my opinion. It is a dish to make memories with, share conversations with, a "my God we sat down to dinner three hours ago" kind of meal. So savor it. :)

My dear friends and me in Gatlinburg at a local German restaurant. Adam being goofy as always.

Beef Bourguignon
Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
8 ounces bacon, diced
2 pounds beef chuck cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 bottle good dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
Fresh thyme
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
3 tbsp flour
1 carton mushrooms, stems discarded and sliced

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (I use a Le Creuset). Add bacon and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In single layers, sear the beef in the same oil for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer cubes to the plate with the bacon and set aside.

Toss the carrots, onions with a little salt and pepper into the fat of the pan and cook over medium heat about 10-12 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Put the beef and bacon back into the pot along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add the wine, beef broth, tomato paste, and a couple sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, and cook in the oven about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat and veggies are very tender. Remove from oven and place on the stove.

Combine 2 tbsp of butter and flour and stir into the stew. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat, add mushrooms, and saute for about 10 minutes. Add to the stew. Bring stew back to a boil, then simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Enjoy with a fresh loaf of country bread or a French baguette, along with a glass of Burgundy and the company of loved ones.

Monday, February 11, 2013

joyeuse Saint-Valentin!

My Valentine's Day macarons

My last entry about my favorite eats on my engagement night truly flows perfectly into this week's,'s almost Valentine's Day! I am thrilled to be spending my first Valentine's with my loving husband, as we approach our one-year anniversary in March. I never knew I could care about someone so much, so deeply and affectionately. It's my heart's desire to serve him as much as I possibly can.

On our wedding day.

You know that old saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach?" In this first year of marriage, I have certainly found this to be true. And so, what better way to say "I love you" than through a unique, melt-in-your-mouth treat like a French macaron?
I have been experimenting with macarons for almost 2 years now, and began a small business, La Petite Patisserie, about 8 months ago. Although macarons are divinely mouth-watering, they can be tricky to make, and because of this, they can be difficult to find (especially in the American South.) I refer to them as the "cupcake of France," because they are literally in every patisserie window, gleaming with their vibrant colors, begging to be consumed by the hungry passer-bys.
Macarons are made with ground almonds (almond flour) instead of traditional white flour that we use so much in the US. This makes them perfect for people with gluten allergies, as they are naturally gluten-free. Egg whites are whipped with sugar to make a frothy meringue, then mixed quickly with almond flour and powdered sugar, and piped into small rounds onto parchment paper. They are left to dry for up to 1 hour, then baked at a low temperature. The final result resembles little delicate cookie sandwiches, filled with a buttercream, ganache, or jam.
My chocolate macarons

There are about a million possibilities for macaron flavors. This recipe is the most basic, an almond macaron with a good-quality jam as the filling. Macaron flavors are all meant to be delicate, to compliment the flavor of the almond, and these simple ones allow that flavor to shine.
Please visit my Facebook business page to read more about my macarons: ;)

My macaron disclaimer: Macarons can be very temperamental! If yours don't come out perfectly the first time, don't be discouraged- mine didn't look great the first time, either! Once you get the hang of them, they are very fun to make, and you can begin to experiment with fun flavors, colors, and decorations. Enjoy!

Basic Macarons

I have included the gram measurement because I weigh my ingredients, as this will give you a more accurate measurement.

200 g (1 1/2 c) confectioner's sugar
100 g (2/3 c) ground almonds
3 egg whites, room temperature
a pinch of salt
40 g (3 tbsp) granulated sugar
A piping bag (I use Wilton 16-inch disposable), fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (Wilton #12)
2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or a Silpat (Williams-Sonoma)

Measuring my ingredients

Combine the confectioner's sugar and the almond flour into a food processor, and blend until well incorporated. Set aside.
Place your egg whites in a Kitchen-Aid bowl if you have one, or a large mixing bowl if you don't. Add the pinch of salt. Beat on medium speed until they hold a stiff peak, about 3-4 minutes.
Continue to whisk on medium speed, and slowly add the granulated sugar, one teaspoon at a time. Continue until all the gran. sugar has been added and your mixture is thick and white, about 5-6 minutes.
(At this time, you would add your food coloring to the meringue. This is optional; if you decide to add some color, make sure the food coloring is mixed thoroughly and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.)
Using a large spoon or spatula, fold the almond mixture into the egg whites. Mix for about 1 minute, until fully incorporated and spoon, but do not overmix. The mixture should drop from your spoon in a smooth, molten mass.
Fill your piping bag with the mixture. I place the piping bag in a large cup and fold the top edge of the bag over the rim of the glass.
Holding your piping back straight up and down, pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds onto your parchment paper or silpat. Let the macarons sit for about 30-45 minutes, until they no longer feel wet or tacky when you touch them. 
Bake macarons at 320 degrees F for about 12 minutes. You may need to adjust baking times according to your oven. 
Let cool completely. When cool, fill with the best quality jam. I use Bonne Maman.

Here are a few tips I have learned in my trial-and-error macaron baking:
 If your macarons do not come easily off of the parchment paper, they are probably under-cooked  Try baking 1-2 minutes longer next time.

If your macarons crack, there is probably too much moisture/humidity. (This is very common in the South). Try reducing your oven temperature 5-10 degrees and baking 1-2 minutes more.
If your macarons are too liquidy when you pipe them out, either you did not whip the egg whites long enough, or there is not enough dry ingredients.
If they are too stiff/difficult to pipe out, you probably whipped your egg whites too long.
Macarons should have little crinkly edges when finished, called "feet." If yours do not form feet, or only form feet on one side, try leaving them to dry a bit longer. This may also be due to uneven oven temperatures.

Most of all, have fun with them!! I have seen every flavor, from the most traditional (pistachio, lemon, chocolate) to the most wildly bizarre (basil cream, cognac, french toast!) Experiment with your own. It is often much easier to flavor the filling than the macaron shell itself, because the texture is too easily compromised by adding additional liquid. Get creative with decorations too- I use nonpareils, cocoa powder, ground nuts, coca nibs. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013



  Of all the US cities I've visited in my 25 years on this earth, Charleston is without a doubt the most charming. The oldest city in South Carolina, the town welcomes you with its wise and stoic buildings, its beautifully preserved history, and its lively abundance of artists, designers, and foodies. My husband and I spent our honeymoon here, in an elegant, old-world inn in the French Quarter. It felt as if we had stepped back in time- we would bicycle to a local bakery for breakfast, stroll the sun-baked shoreline in the afternoon, and go hand in hand to dinner each night, traveling down carriage-worn streets to candlelit mansions, reflections of an enchanting past.
     This town was just that- enchanting. My favorite walks were the ones in which we would find ourselves happily lost down some ancient street, a few stars piercing through the blackness of night, mimicked by the faint lights inside the archaic buildings, as the families inside were getting ready to turn in for the night. We were perfectly content in taking our time to find our way back, having just eaten at one of Charleston's fantastic restaurants (and there are so many, too many to mention), content with simply being together, being tremendously and hopelessly in love.
     Charleston food is literally in a category of its own. Known as "lowcountry," its cuisine originates from a vast number of cultures, including African, French, Native American, and Spanish. Many people compare the importance of lowcountry cuisine of Charleston and the Georgia coast to what Cajun cuisine means to New Orleans. Out of this melange of nations was birthed something remarkable- a portfolio of some of the most satisfying and exceptional dishes, such as shrimp and grits, she crab soup, and seafood pirlau.
     Shrimp and grits have become a classic, for Charlestonians and Southerners alike. The grits are normally served in a shallow bowl with the shrimp scattered over the top, but my recipe is a new take on this old favorite. Grits are combined with whipped egg whites and spooned into ramekins to make mini souffles, and the dish comes together with a creamy (and incredibly tasty) roasted corn sabayon, a French sauce made with cream and eggs. The individual elements take a bit of effort, but together they create something your taste buds are going to love.

Shrimp and Sausage with Grits Souffle and Yellow Pepper Sabayon

3 ears corn, unhusked
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and black pepper

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 of a yellow bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk

Grits Souffle:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
2 eggs, separated

Shrimp and Sausage:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch slices on the diagonal

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 6-8 souffle dishes (or a muffin tin) and refrigerate.

For the corn: Remove the husks and silks, and rub each cob with butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake on a baking sheet until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees for the souffles. When cooled, slice the kernels off the cobs and set aside for later.

For the sabayon, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the cream and 1 cup of the corn and cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree, set aside.

To prepare the grits souffles, bring milk to a slight boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the grits and cook until they have reached a porridge consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, pepper, butter, Cheddar, and egg yolks.

With an electric mixer, beat the remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the grits mixture, and spoon into the cold souffle dishes. Place on a baking sheet and bake until souffles are just set, about 20 minutes.

While they are baking, finish the sabayon: use a sieve to strain the pureed sabayon mixture through it and into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the salt. Whisk in the egg yolk and continue to whisk until mixture thickens, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

To prepare the shrimp and sausage: toss the shrimp with salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until they are pink and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cook the sausage in the same skillet until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

To assemble the plates, spoon the sabayon sauce in the middle of each plate. Unmold a souffle onto the sauce. Top with the shrimp and sausage, and sprinkle on some of the remaining corn. Garnish with parsley or scallions if desired.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Best Bread Pudding I Ever Ate

The night my husband asked to marry me, I wore a bright yellow dress with cream lace trim. It was a warm August night, heavy with anticipation on my part, hopeful that this would be "the night," that just maybe, Benji had a diamond ring tucked away in his coat pocket.
It was no surprise to me when we pulled up in front of Chez Lulu, my most treasured place to eat in Birmingham. Under the restaurant's crimson and gold awning hangs strings of charming multicolored lights, its interior is scattered with mismatched throw pillows, crowded round tables, and eclectic artwork in gold rococo frames. My first time here I couldn't help but smile at cheerful decor, the smell of fresh bread and warms soups, the clinking of wine glasses, the chatter of friends and loved ones. I quickly knew I would become a frequent visitor of this place.

To be honest, I can't remember what Benji and I talked about that night. I was absorbed in the atmosphere, saturated in the moment. There are a few things I do remember: holding Benji's hand. Him slipping my inexpensive, costume jewelry ring off my left ring finger (not too subtle of a hint, but really cute.) And, dessert. My usual- chocolate croissant bread pudding with creme anglaise. Even though I take time to flip through the desserts on every visit, I always come back to this old favorite- made from butter croissants from next door's bakery, dark chocolate, and cream, it is, simply put, heavenly.

Today I have two pretty rings on my left ring finger, and a loving husband- a husband that is well aware of his wife's devotion to all things chocolate. And Chez Lulu's bread pudding- let's just say it's quite high on my list of favorite desserts. This recipe is my attempt to recreate the warm scrumptiousness of my beloved little restaurant. Mismatched pillows not included. :)

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
10 small croissants
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine butter and sugar and pulse until well blended. Add cinnamon and vanilla; pulse to combine.
Add the eggs to the mixture a little at a time, until well blended. Scrape down the sides, add the heavy cream and milk, and pulse to combine.
Tear the croissants into one inch pieces and layer into a buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish, then scatter the chocolate pieces over the top. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let soak about 10 minutes, pushing down croissant pieces to ensure even coverage.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown the top. Cool before serving with creme anglaise.

Creme Anglaise:

1 cup cream
1 3-inch piece vanilla bean pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks

Mix egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until well blended; set aside. Heat cream and vanilla bean pod in a saucepan over medium heat about 5-6 minutes, until edges start to bubble. Slowly pour hot cream over egg mixture, mixing to incorporate. (Do not combine all at once or you will cook your eggs.) Once combined, pour mixture back into saucepan and cook another 5-6 minutes, until it coats the back of the spoon. Cover and refrigerate (mixture will thicken as it cools.)

To serve, scoop bread pudding into small dessert bowls and spoon creme anglaise over the top. I enjoy mine with fruit and a coffee.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fast and French (I mean, er, Italian)

Mondays for me are always a challenge, in every sense of the word. It's the only day out of the week that I travel to my second job- teaching three dance classes, back to back. As much as I enjoy passing the "dance torch" to a younger generation, I never realized how exhausting the job would be until I began this past August. I should warn anyone that is pondering a profession in dance instruction that you will also become a disciplinarian, mediator, seamstress, event planner, and occasionally a therapist.
Once I toss my dance bag and notebooks into the car, I'm usually starving, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is stand over the hot stove for an hour (or two.)  Despite how much I love to cook; all I'm thinking about is a shower, some fuzzy socks, and curling up with my husband on the sofa. This is also why Monday nights quickly became "Chick-fil-a night" as the dance classes crept into September.
This year, I vow to triumph over fast food- there are so many meals out there that are quick, easy, and much healthier than the greasy paper bag.
After hours of dancing I desperately crave carbs, which is why I pulled out my shrimp scampi recipe- one of my favorite recipes to make when you're in a hurry. No, it's not French- scampi comes from the name of an Italian shrimp, and after WWII became known as the pasta dish, when Italian food went "mainstream" in the US. Scampi is very quick to make (if you only have 15-20 minutes, you can make this!) The recipe below contains very little fat, and yet is extremely satisfying. Bon appetit, or, I should say buon appetito! ;)

Shrimp Scampi
Serves 2

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot or 1/2 large onion (whatever you have on hand), finely chopped
1 lemon
1/3 pound cooked baby/salad shrimp
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/3 pound angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
Salt and pepper
Fresh chives

Start heating up your pasta water. Begin the scampi sauce after you drop the pasta into the water to cook. For the scampi sauce: heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil. After oil is hot, add the shallots or onion and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the shrimp and heat them through, about another 2-3 minutes. Add white wine and tomatoes, and toss another minute. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat evenly with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh chives. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Profiteroles, Je Vous Aime

 Amelie Poulain and her menu board.

 When I think of profiteroles, I think of of the mirrored glass in French cafes and brasseries on which the menu du jour is scribbled with a white marker. The dessert is quite consistently, in my experience, "les profiteroles" or another type of pastry. Pastry fanatics can generally order a plateful for dessert from a variety of French establishments- they are sometimes brought out as a snack while you mull over dessert options! Nevertheless, profiteroles are far from "common." Made from a pastry dough called "pate a choux," they are piped out onto parchment paper in small peaks or doled out with 2 teaspoons. Profiteroles are quintessentially French, and, like so many other French pastries, are made from very simple, good quality ingredients, such as butter, flour, eggs, and vanilla.

     In the States, profiteroles have evolved into what  we call "cream puffs," and are typically filled with vanilla pudding or whipped cream. Take the time to try these profiteroles with the classic French filling- creme patissiere (pastry cream), and top them with this thick and delicious chocolate sauce. Pick up a couple vanilla bean pods in the spice aisle instead of using vanilla extract- trust me, you will taste the difference, and your friends and family will unashamedly lick their plates clean! If you are short on time, these may also be filled with good-quality vanilla ice cream.

Note: The recipe below is for creme Anglaise (a vanilla bean sauce) which is much thinner than the typical filling for profiteroles, creme patissiere (pastry cream). I suggest serving these in bowls if you make with the creme Anglaise- it's very delicious, but not traditionally served this way. Thank you for this correction, Helene. :)

Serves 6

1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cream, divided
1 (3-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 espresso shot, or 3-4 tbsp coffee

For the pastry:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add eggs, and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is thick. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe out mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (You can also use two spoons to scoop out the mixture.) Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the creme Anglaise:
Pour 1 cup of cream into a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add the seeds and pod to the cream. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Combine sugar and yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Gradually add cream mixture to bowl, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat about 6 minutes, until the mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon. (Don't overcook, or mixture will curdle!) Pour mixture back into bowl, cover, and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

For the chocolate sauce:
Heat remaining 1/2 cup of cream on the stove top or microwave until boiling. Place chocolate chips in a bowl, then pour the hot cream over the top and stir until the chocolate melts. Add the espresso or coffee and stir until smooth.

To serve, cut each profiterole in half crosswise, fill with a couple spoonfuls of creme Anglaise, and replace the top. Generously drizzle with the warm chocolate sauce.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris"

Monday, January 14, 2013

Soup Days

Most Southerners that I know are not great fans of cold weather. Even when the thermometers flirt with the freezing point, people tend to rush home in their oversized coats and pile blankets on the bed as if they have just landed in the Arctic.
I must admit, I am not much different from this common scenario. While I love the chilly air in early autumn, freezing days in January like today do not feel quite as welcoming. The leaves have all dropped off the ancient trees, their colors that at one time had created a vibrant tapestry of orange and persimmon, have now become a matted rug of brown, soaked with cold, drizzling rain.
Instead of rushing home from my daily errands and changing into a thick sweater, I started to hunger for warm soup; specifically, French onion soup. I made a detour to V Richards downtown- a great little market with fresh and local produce, cheeses, a bakery, and an impressive wine selection. Best of all, they bake some of the most authentic French baguettes I have tasted outside of France, and set them upright in old wooden wine crates for their customers to oodle over. I almost felt as if I was back in Grenoble, picking out some fresh Gruyere from behind the glass case, casually carrying the baguette under my arm as I swung the door open to leave. Sigh. Back out into the dreary, leaf-carpeted parking lot. My daydream of France had escaped me momentarily, but soon came rushing back in as my kitchen filled with the scent of the homemade soup simmering on the stove.

Baguettes at V Richards.

I truly believe this soup tastes best on soggy cold days like today. The herbs and red wine in the soup make the entire kitchen smell amazing, and the sliced baguette with bubbling Gruyere add a completely new level of warmth. This recipe makes a large pot-full, and the soup tastes even better the next day (if you can make it last that long!)

Classic French Onion Soup

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 red onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 stick unsalted butter
4 heaping tbsp flour
6 cups good beef stock
1/2 bottle Bordeaux
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
1 baguette
Gruyere cheese, grated

Over medium-low heat, cook the onions and garlic in butter until they are soft and start to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir in the flour and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
Add the stock, wine, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil and then cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.
A few minutes before serving, turn your broiler on low. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet, and grate Gruyere cheese over the tops. Broil until cheese is bubbling, 5-10 minutes.
Ladle big spoonfuls of soup into shallow bowls. Place a slice of baguette on top with a small sprig of thyme. Enjoy with a glass of Bordeaux and snuggle up.