“Cooking” with the Tax Guy – The 3rd Edition
By Mark Batchek
Greetings my friends. If any of you did not have a chance to read the 1st and 2nd editions of my banter, or just want to take a glance at a few good recipes, feel free to google “Cooking with the Tax Guy” , as the articles are available to read on the BRC website. My team at BRC and myself made it through another fun and adventure-filled tax season since my last write, and our friends at the IRS made it another interesting and challenging one to boot! The passing of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, introduction of Form 1099-K’s and the addition of Schedule K-2/K-3’s were just a few of the new items that we had to master in our ever-changing tax world.
When the number crunching slows down a little bit for us, the firm encourages and supports us to take a break and try to keep a healthy work-life balance. It is extremely important to me and my family as well. When I am done interpreting and researching tax code and reviewing tax form after tax form, you can usually find me at the high school tennis courts watching my daughter, at the football field or wrestling match watching her twin brother or running to Chapel Hill to visit my oldest son. If I am not at any of these places, you can usually find me in the kitchen or at the grill, flattop or smoker cooking something up. I made a living in the restaurant business before entering into the “tax world” and now cooking is something I enjoy doing to relax and destress. Enough about me, how about a recipe that is one of my daughter’s favorites… French onion soup. Yes, at home, and I promise its flavor is just as good, if not better, than what you can get at a restaurant. This dish is great as an appetizer, or just add a salad and you have a meal. My daughter takes it warm to school in her thermos.
• ½ dozen large, sweet onions (about 3 pounds or so)
• 2-3 cloves of minced garlic (teaspoons if pre-minced)
• 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Salt (to taste)
• ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 quarts beef stock
• ¾ cup white wine (chardonnay works well)
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
• 3 tablespoons brandy (optional but recommend)
• 8 slices French baguette, about an inch thick. Note: I butter and cover in Parmesan cheese, and toast to golden brown
• 8 slices of Gruyere, Gouda, Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, etc.… cheese. Use your favorite. You can use grated as well.
1. Slice onions from root to stem. Onions should yield 10-11 cups.
2. In a large pot heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes. After increasing the heat to about medium-high, add the rest of the olive oil and butter. Continue to cook another 30 minutes or so (stirring frequently) until the onions start to brown. Add the sugar and about a teaspoon of salt and continue to cook about 15 more minutes (this is caramelizing). Note, if the onions just soften and do not get really brown, no worries, that is ok, it will still taste the same.
Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.
3. Add the wine and deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the beef stock, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer and lower heat to maintain. Cook for about 45 minutes.
5. Add the brandy and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Toast the bread as noted in the ingredients: place on sheet and brush with olive oil or butter. Then, shake or place on parmesan cheese. Toast in oven at 450 degrees until golden brown. Toaster oven is fine as well.
7. Note you can add cheese to the top of the toast at that point as well then ladle soup into bowl and add a piece of the cheese toast. I prefer to ladle soup into a bowl or crock, add toast, then cover with slice of cheese and broil in toaster oven. Remove bowl carefully as it will be hot.
I hope everyone has a chance to try this dish! I must get back to my world of tax. Until we cook again! Bon a petite!