ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

This post is a bit nostalgic, as this was the last recipe I made in the nano-kitchen, but we left L.A. before I had a chance to write it up. A very simple recipe designed with the idea of using ingredients hanging around before our departure from California. It turned out so delicious! Plus, it was a nice match for the weather we were having then. Now that the thermometers are wonderfully stuck in the high 90’s, the thought of soup is not particularly appealing, but this one would work equally well chilled.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8-12 ounces of grape and/or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 shallots, cut in half
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
kalamata olive oil (or another olive oil of your choice)
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
vegetable stock (or water)
2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
chives for garnish

Place the tomatoes, shallot pieces and garlic in a bowl and add enough olive oil to just coat them lightly. Transfer them to a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper, set the tomatoes with the cut size down. Sprinkle some salt and pepper all over, and a splash with balsamic vinegar.

Roast in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tomato skins and the edges of the shallots start to get brown. Remove from the oven, let it all cool slightly, and using gloves peel off the skin of the tomatoes (you can leave them on if you don’t mind their texture in the soup). Squeeze the garlic out of its peel, and transfer it together with the tomatoes, shallots and any liquid accumulated in the pan to a food processor. Process it until smooth, pour into a sauce pan over medium heat, and add enough vegetable stock to give a consistency you like. Let it come to a gentle boil, add the orange juice, orange zest, taste for seasoning, and serve with chives sprinkled for garnish.

ENJOY!

                             to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I had a mixture of grape and cherry tomatoes that needed to be used, and a couple of yellow grape tomatoes went into the mix too. Feel free to improvise, nothing can go wrong with this soup: add different types of herbs, or go for a cumin or cayenne blast. I had planned to make some parmiggiano crisps to serve with the soup, but the electric burners in the nano-kitchen failed, and I was left with a big lump of cheesy mess. Once the weather cools, I’ll revisit this soup – cheese crisps included – and add some mushrooms to the roasting pan. I bet a roasted tomato & mushroom soup will be very flavorful.

ONE YEAR AGO: Turkey Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Focaccia

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POPEYE-PLEASIN’ SALAD

Watching Popeye wolf down can after can of spinach wasn’t enough to tickle my taste buds for it.  Picky eater that I was when I first tried it, only in my early twenties,  it required a few encounters to  appreciate it.   I suppose that one might say that spinach is an acquired taste:  we now consume a couple of bags of baby spinach per week, and maybe more.   In this salad it’s the leading man, with just two supporting actors: slivered almonds and shaved parmiggiano cheese. I adapted the recipe from one I found in Everyday Food, that lovely Martha Stewart publication that’s always peeking at me in grocery stores, next to the cashier.    😉

SPINACH SALAD WITH ALMONDS AND PARMIGGIANO
(adapted from Everyday Food,  June 2010)
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1/3 cup slivered almonds
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch baby spinach
1/3 cup shaved parmiggiano-reggiano cheese

Toast the almonds in a 350 F oven or on a dry, non-stick skillet, until fragrant and light brown. Do not let them burn.  In a large bowl, combine almonds, oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

Add the spinach  and half the cheese, toss well to coat them with the dressing. Add the remaining of the cheese on top, and serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Spinach is the basis of this salad, but the almonds take the flavor to another level, from good to great.  It’s all about how you toast them:   if they’re just dark enough  you’ll get an intense, popcorny flavor, without  bitterness.   This time I hit the jackpot, and I hope that you do too!

We enjoyed it with salmon but it will complement many other dishes:  roasted chicken, grilled pork, a juicy T-bone steak, or even a panini.  The original recipe used arugula instead of spinach, so keep that in mind as an alternative.

ONE YEAR AGO: Watermelon Granita

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