Begorrah, it was way cold on the beach at Sea Bright for the fifth annual Polar Plunge scholarship event Jan. 9 — the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
How cold, you might ask?
Well, cold enough that the sand felt like glass to some plungers who rushed out of the cold Atlantic waters to shiver in the timbers of Ichabod’s Bar & Grill which hosted the event. Mark Sudziarski and Ryan Mulholland, a senior and junior respectively in Mater Dei Prep, New Monmouth, joked about how the water was so frigid they couldn’t feel their feet but pronounced it a lifetime experience anyway.
They were only two of the 400 fearless plungers shepherded into the water Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. to raise scholarship money for Catholic schools while 2,000 less hardy souls looked on.
We got very cold just looking at the folks who cast caution to the wind and jumped in for a good cause.
When we got home, we were still chilled to the bone and so, I felt the need to whip up a quick batch of onion soup which is ultimately warming.
This one, adapted from several recipes on the Internet with inspiration from brother Pete, is named, in honor of the bishop:
Good Shepherd Onion Soup
Ingredients: 2 tbsp butter; 4 large sweet onions sliced; 2 garlic cloves, sliced; 3 to 4 cups water or beef stock; salt and pepper to taste; 12 slices of thin seedless rye or pumpernickel bread, toasted; two cups of hard, grated Irish cheese such as Kerrygold Cheddar
Directions: In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then add the onions and garlic, stir well and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the water or beef stock (I use beef stock). Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Meanwhile, place a slice of toast in each of six soup bowls and cover with grated cheese. Pour the onion soup on top of the bread and then top with another slice of toast covered with cheese. Pop the bowl into the microwave on high for 1 minute or into a toaster oven set on broil til the cheese gets a bit brown and puffy on top.