Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

fire roasted tomato soup

Mmmm, perfect tomato soup for a cold night.

fireroastedtomatosoup2

Add a dollop of pesto and some cheeeeeze!

My mom made this soup when I was recently home for a visit. It is perfect with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine. My version omitted the celery tops (because I rarely buy celery), but it is good with the celery and I used dried basil because I forgot to buy fresh basil (whoops!). The addition of sun-dried tomatoes gives the soup a nice depth. Anyway, I got to use my immersion blender which is one of my favorite kitchen tools ever.

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 1TB butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4C finely chopped carrots
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1TB dried basil or 10 large basil leaves, torn
  • 4 sun-dried tomato halves, packed in oil
  • 1 28oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • chopped celery tops
  • 1 14oz can of vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • dollop of pesto (to add on top when served, if desired)

Melt butter in stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, or, until soft. Add the sugar, basil, celery tops and salt and pepper, cook for 5 more minutes. Then add the canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and broth. Stir and let simmer for about an hour. Check on it occasionally and stir. Remove from heat and use an immersion hand blender to puree the soup (or, you can use a blender instead). Pour soup into bowls, dollop with pesto and a little bit of Pecorino or parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Refrigerator Pickles

Yes, I do own a Paul Frank Pickle Pants wallet. It’s one of my favorite Paul Frank designs ever.

Paul Frank pickle wallet

My coveted Paul Frank wallet.

I loved pickled vegetables. Okra? Yes. Green Beans? Check. Carrots? Peppers? Yes! But mostly, I love pickles in their original cucumber form. My grandma used to can pickles and beets and store them in her cellar. That was an all day process and I didn’t really want to do that right now. I wanted something that could be made quickly and easily. So, I decided to make some refrigerator pickles. I started with plain, dill pickles:

first foray into refrigerator pickles!

My very first jar of pickles, ready to go into the fridge.

They turned out really well. So, I decided to make a couple more jars: dill and then a jar of spicy garlic pickles:

Spicy garlic pickles.

Spicy garlic pickles.

You can make as little or as much as you wish. It’s only me here, so, I make one or two jars at a time. These keep in the fridge for a week. This recipe doesn’t require sterilizing jars and lids, but, please make sure you have super clean jars/lids. I used Ball 16oz mason jars.

Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

  • 2-3 Kirby cucumbers, thoroughly washed
  • 1-2 TB salt
  • White distilled vinegar
  • sprig of dill, chopped

Wash the cucumbers and slice into 1/8th inch pieces, pack tightly into the jar until they reach the lip of the jar. Pack those suckers down. Add the dill and salt (you may want to start out with less salt, it’s up to you. You can also add a clove of garlic or teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes if you’re making spicy pickles). Then, pour vinegar over cucumbers, leaving a little room at the top. Screw lid on tightly and shake jar to mix up salt, dill, etc. Put in refrigerator and remember to shake the jar every few hours. You will have pickles in about 4-5 hours, or, leave overnight and enjoy the next day. Really, you can’t go wrong here.

dill & spicy garlic pickles

Sunday pickle making. Yay!

Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Why buy salsa when you can make your own? Well, at least, that’s what I think. I haven’t really found a good enough (IMO) tomatillo salsa at the store, so, I made my own. Bring this to a BBQ and you’ll make some new friends and keep your old ones.

  • 4-5 medium size tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • handful of cilantro
  • dash of salt (optional)

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and thoroughly rinse off the sticky residue. Place tomatillos and jalapeño in medium-sized pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let them simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or, until the skins wrinkle a bit and they are soft. Drain in a colander and let sit for a few minutes so they cool off a bit. Place tomatillos and pepper in a blender or food processor, along with a dash of salt, lime juice and cilantro. Process until blended.(It won’t take long). A word of caution: be careful and don’t stick your face over the bowl/blender after you’ve removed the lid to smell the salsa because one will be hit with the full on power of the jalapeño scent like a brick wall (my eyes were burning, lesson learned!). Put salsa in container and in the fridge to cool off even more. Once chilled, add the mashed avocado & stir. All done. Now, go grab a beer, or a glass of rosé and some chips and enjoy.

tomatillos and peppers

So pretty!

salsa, pre avocado

Raw Brussels Sprouts and Chickpea Salad

brussels sprouts & chickpeas

Raw brussels sprouts and chickpea salad with lemony dressing.

I really like a nice, crisp salad and this brussels sprouts salad hits the spot. I think it would also be good with a few roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

  • 1lb bag of brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2TB mayonaise
  • 2TB olive oil
  • 1tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1tsp agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice brussels in half and then thinly slice so they’re almost shredded in texture. Add to large bowl along with the chickpeas and then drizzle a little bit of olive oil over that. Then, for the dressing, whisk together the oil, mayo, lemon juice, agave nectar and mustard powder. I actually guessed on the amounts, so, you may have to adjust. Use your best judgment. I trust you! The dressing should be on the thin side and quite lemon-y. Add the dressing to the salad and thoroughly mix until beans and veg are coated.

brussels sprouts & chickpea salad

A nice addition to dinner or a quick lunch.

Vegetarian Goulash

veggie goulash!

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make Goulash for dinner on a regular basis and it was always one of my favorite meals. For some reason, I was thinking about it the other day and felt a little homesick (and nostalgic). Maybe it’s because I’ve not seen my parents since Christmas (sad face here:___). I asked my Mom about the recipe and the spices and I tweaked it to make it vegetarian. I think it’s very close to what she used to make. Maybe the next time I’m visiting them I’ll make it for them for dinner.

Vegetarian Goulash

  • 2-3 Tb Olive oil
  • 1 small to medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles
  • 1 1/2C cooked macaroni (al denté)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes plus 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, or an Italian blend of spices (to taste)
  • Hungarian (sweet) paprika, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

A note on the spices: adjust them to your tastebuds. I don’t want to give specific measures because, well, I don’t measure when I cook; I just eyeball it, taste and adjust.

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add oil, and sauté the garlic and onion, when translucent, add the veggie crumbles and turn down the heat (follow the package directions to cook crumbles). Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and then incorporate the cooked macaroni. Add all your spices, stir, cover and turn down the heat to low. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t stick, stir often. This will be ready in 20 minutes.