Lee MathisINSANELEE DECADENTGrand Junction Free Press Food Columnist

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February 14, 2013
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FOOD: Holding out for warm weather

For those of you who know me, I am on the road a lot, especially now with my company's expansion into Virginia. But it never fails to raise my spirits, when I finally make it through the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass, especially in the winter!(Oh... to the many of you I see on the mountain passes, just because you have a Suburban four-wheel drive vehicle, that does not mean that you know how to drive in the snow! If I had a dollar for every vehicle I see driving unsafe, I would not have to work anymore!)But when I come out of Garfield County and can see the west horizon and the Grand Mesa on my left, I really do feel my karma balancing out, a grin coming on my face... I'm Home!One of the nice things about road trips is the food I find. Out in Richmond, Va., my sister and her friends took me to a new place in the Oregon Hill section, called EAT! We also went back to a place that we found before - Thai Diner on West Broad. I do love Thai food! I also found a great little BBQ place, Two Dudes Bar-B-Que, right off I-70 in Warrenton, Mo. All three places, though wildly different, were great and we will be going into more detail on our Facebook page.After blasting through the passes and getting home, and even after waking up Monday to a little dusting of snow, I could not help but think that in a month or so, we should start seeing the early signs of spring and that means the Grand Valley will start to unleash its bounty! Fairs, festivals and farmers markets, oh my! Fresh fruit and produce - oh yeah!So friends and fans, keep hunkering down for a few more weeks and we will make it.But to help you gut it out over the next month or so, let's come up with some warm and comforting winter foods.=============Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at decadencecheesecakes@mindspring.com, on the web at www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the web by searching Pinterest, Facebook or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

This one is from our friends at Food52.com and they have a collection of their top 10 winter comfort foods. The "Recipe of The Week" is from that site; a great French Onion Soup recipe.http://food52.com/blog/5595-10-winter-comfort-foods-------------------Got a cool food website you always go back to? Share it with us. Drop me an email so I can share it with the rest of the Grand Valley.

Courtesy | Food52.com3 pounds onions 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 4-6 cloves of garlic 1 generous pinch of salt a few good grinds of black peppercorns 4 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 4-6 cups beef, veal, and/or vegetable stock, preferably homemade 2 cups red wine, preferably a burgundy, OR 2 cups beer, preferably a brown ale or stout (not chocolate) 1 baguette or other crusty bread 4-6 deli slices of cheese, OR 1/2 cup EACH of gouda, gruyere, parmesan & pecorino Slice and segment 3 pounds of onions. Melt together the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot. Crush and peel the garlic. You don't have to mince it; it will caramelize and turn soft and sweet as it cooks. Caramelize the garlic in the olive oil and butter. Pour in the onions, season with salt and pepper, and stir around just until the onions are all coated in the olive oil/butter. Add in the fresh thyme and the bay leaf and let the onions caramelize, about 20 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized and have cooked down, pour in the stock, about 4-6 cups depending on whether you prefer your soup more onion-y or more soup-y. Then, pour in the wine or beer and simmer, uncovered, for at least an hour and as much as three hours, tasting occasionally to adjust the flavors. Meanwhile, slice down your bread. Stale bread is perfectly OK for this, just heat it up a bit in a warm (250ЉF) oven first to soften it. Toast the bread; you can rub both sides with a cut clove of garlic first, if you like. You'll want 2 pieces of bread per person - one for the bottom of the bowl, and one for on top.If you're going for the mix of cheeses, grate together about 1/2 cup each of parmesan, pecorino, gouda, and gruyere. Alternatively, you can drape a deli-cut slice of cheese (emmentaler, gruyere) over the top of the bowls, but I like to do a grated mix. Get that ready, and set it aside. Preheat your broiler. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the soup. Arrange your oven-safe individual serving bowls or coffee mugs on a baking tray with a thin lip. TO SERVE: Drop a toast slice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle in the soup and cover with a second slice of toast. Then cover the toast with cheese. Be generous! You want the cheese to seal in the soup and drape over the edge of the bowl. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling on top. Garnish with a little fresh thyme, and serve. Serves 4-6.


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 14, 2013 01:35PM Published Feb 14, 2013 01:33PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.