July 10, 2012
When you are “Entertaining Elegantly” – it does not need to be stuffy or stuck-up or difficult! Throwing your food “on a stick” is a great way to have beautiful presentation, easy to grab goodies, that everyone will love!
Make skewered antipastos for your next picnic, they are perfect for a grab and go hearty bite between whatever activity you have going on with your picnic. No need to grab junk food or stop your fun to sit and eat – grab a stick & have fun. You could also enjoy these as tasty appetizers, a great way to start off your next party and impress your friends. These skewered antipastos are even perfect for a formal gathering (maybe in a tall vase).
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January 27, 2012
Growing Up, I [thought that I] was not a fan of Tomato Soup. Actually, I am sure there was a time that I might have kind of liked it – but overall I avoided it. I guess my ‘hatred’ for Tomato Soup came from Campbells – now, don’t get me wrong, I love my most Campbell’s Soups but I have never been a fan of Tomato Soup because that it was I thought Tomato Soup tasted like!
Recently, Rich had wanted Grilled Cheese with our tasty Smoked Cheddar we had in the fridge. I figured it was time to make a version of Tomato Soup that I liked! I have kept altering it every time I made it recently. And then today I was told “If you made tomato soup like this every time that you made tomato soup from now on, I would be happy”. And there you have it, an awesome tomato soup recipe!
This soup was perfect to go with Roasted Garlic Bread (I’m in love with the breads by LaBrea that the markets around here sell) with Smoked Cheddar Panini (I always seem to burn my grilled cheese sandwiches, so most “grilled cheese sandwiches” around here are really “paninis” made in the “George Forman”). While I am admitting things that I often screw up way more than someone who knows how to cook should, I will admit that I struggle with: Grilled Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cookies, fluffy Rice, & grilling
Easy Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
- 2 28 oz cans tomatoes (1 can crushed and 1 can petite diced)
- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- 1 stalk celery, chopped small
- 1 medium carrot, chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 T butter
- 1/2 cup warmed chicken stock
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan heat the butter at medium heat and gently sweat the onion, carrot, and celery for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sautee for another minute or so. Add the flour and mix in thoroughly to the butter/onions in the pan. Mix it in fully and make sure there is no extra flour just hanging around the pan.
Take your heated chicken stock and slowly mix it in to your onion mix, making sure to fully integrate it before adding more.. Continue until fully mixed (it will be thick).
Add your cans of tomatoes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until everybody seems soft and bubbly and happy together. If you like a smoother soup you could have used any kinds of tomatoes and blended (immersion blender) at this point – but we like out tomato soup more chunky (it is more rustic and 100% homemade that way).
Lower the heat on your soup as low as possible and slowly add the milk as it simmers. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed as well as any other spices you may want in your soup. Then allow to heat through for a few minutes for flavors to blend. Serve and enjoy, especially with your favorite Grilled Cheese!
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what food have you changed your opinion on as you have aged?
September 12, 2011
When Life gives you Lemons – You make Lemonade… SO when Life give you Tomatoes, you make Tomato Juice! We have been enjoying our garden fresh tomatoes for more than a month. I am getting to a point that I am sick and tired of chopping to make bruschetta and tomato salad and salsa though. It is time to give my blender a work-out to help ‘deal with’ my tomatoes! We loved Habanero Tomato Soup last week and since my Bloody Mary loving Grandma was home from her trip & coming to visit I had no other option but tomato juice!
The flavor of this juice was wholesome & pretty good (mom was not a fan of it). I’m not sure what I would & should change but I know that I want to experiment some more [next year probably]… any suggestions!?
“Raw” Bloody Mary Mix
roughly based on Our Share of the Harvest
(make about 1 quart)
- 2 pounds tomatoes, washed, cored and halved
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 1- 2 celery stalks
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1-2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Throw all ingredients in the blender – blend until smooth. Taste, adjust as needed. Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight +) to let all of the flavors meld.
Serve with some Habanero Infused Vodka and a stalk of celery. Enjoy responsibly!
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… Tomatoes are a Fruit, Lemons are a Fruit… what is your favorite “Fruit Juice”?
September 11, 2011
These stuffed tomatoes are everything you could want in a late summer meal…. fresh, filling, healthy. They are easily adaptable too! Think of Stuffed Tomatoes as you would Stuffed Peppers… they work basically the same way! I wanted to go full-out Italian so I stuffed these with the same type things I would use if I were making a nice bowl of summer pasta!
Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
- 4 – 6 large vine ripened tomatoes
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup frozen (defrosted/drained) spinach
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup pesto (garlic pesto if you have it)
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic (if you are using a basil pesto – with garlic pesto: omit)
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Basil (or about a dozen fresh leaves)
- 1 Tablespoon Oregeno
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
Prepare rice according to package directions. Cool rice a little bit, then mix in all of the rest of your ingredients (except tomatoes). Cut the tops off of your tomatoes & scoop out the insides (put them aside – they are perfect for making soup/salsa/juice/sauce). Stuff your mixture into the tomatoes, top with some mozzarella or fresh grated parmesan & place them in a lbaking/casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what foods do you like stuffed (chicken, mushrooms, pepper, etc) and what do you like to stuff them with!?
September 8, 2011
Do no get scared off by this title – I ‘only’ used 1 habanero in the pot of soup and it was just spicy enough for me to feel it in my nose a little but without being too killer.
We had a whole bunch of tomatoes in the fridge that would have gone bad on the counter. They had spots that needed to be cut off of them and I wasn’t sure what to make for dinner. We also had some leftover Enchilada Pulled/Shredded Chicken (I just shredded all of the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and heated it with a can of store-bought enchilada sauce which I doctored up with some extra cumin and such). I decided to make a Mexican Tomato Soup & of course our over-abundance of habaneros seemed like a logical choice to fit in with this!
This is an easy “after-work” meal. The first few days of school (and a long Labor Day Weekend) have thrown me off my normal schedule – but this soup has me back to my normal kitchen adventures, I have missed it! To create this meal I litterally just threw tomatoes in the blender & thought about flavors. Then pureeded batches of tomato & friends went into the pot to be heated/reduced/tasted/enjoyed. Perfect with a quick quesadilla on the side to finish off the “Mexican Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Dinner” theme.
Habanero Mexican Tomato Soup
- 8 cups pureed tomatoes (I just threw tomatoes in the blender and the amount of tomatoes I had which were ready to go ended up being about 8 cups – feel free to be flexible here
- 1 habanero (or jalapeno, whatever your tastes enjoy)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 roasted red pepper (from the jar or fresh – whatever)
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes (I have a jar in olive oil in the fridge)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 – 2 cups shredded chicken (if you don’t have leftovers: approx. 1 large breast – just boil and shred it)
- 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste) & 1/2 t pepper (to taste)
Working in batches, place all of your ingredients (except chicken – if using)) in the blender. I started with whatever fit in the blender & then dumped and went back to the blender for more. Place pot over medium heat and allow to come to a boil. Skim off the bubbly parts that rise to the top. I allowed this to simmer for about 30 minutes and thicken up quite a bit – allow it to just become as thick as you enjoy your soup!
Serve in bowls with some shredded cheese and sour cream. The ideal sour cream was mine that I mixed with some of my tasty Salsa Verde. Serve with a quick pan-sauteed quesadilla & enjoy the Mexican flavors of Tomato Soup
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… When do you know when something is too spicy – how do you walk that line?