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!

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.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

vegetarian chili

Yum! Spicy vegetarian chili with three beans

I have several different versions of vegetarian chili and I can’t believe I never posted any of those recipes on this site! Vegetarian chili is a staple during the Fall/Winter for me. I like to switch up the recipe and use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes I use a grain like farro or bulgar, and vegetables like red/orange/yellow peppers, corn and green beans or edamame. It’s starting to get slightly cooler here in Brooklyn…it’s also rainy and grey and I wanted something warm, spicy and comforting for dinner. Plus, now that college football season has begun, I really enjoy “College Football Saturdays” (Go Blue!!) in my house where I’ll have a beer and a bowl of veg chili, so, it’s a win-win. More importantly, the chili freezes well and I can enjoy it later on.

In this version of chili, I use black, white and garbanzo beans. I like using Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes, regular and with green chilies. These tomatoes add an extra kick and level of flavor to the chili that I really like. I also used Penzey’s crushed jalapeños and for a smokier flavor, I use a little bit of smoked Spanish paprika. A little paprika goes a long way, so, you can just add it and the other spices by dashes (and not teaspoons/tablespoons) and adjust accordingly.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced/minced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can each: black, cannelini, garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 28oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1TB chili powder
  • 1-2tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1-2tsp dried jalapeños
  • 1-2TB olive oil

In a Dutch Oven or large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and let it heat up, add onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until soft. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, stir, then add beans and spices. Let chili simmer for 30-45 minutes. Spoon into bowls, add shredded cheese, raw onions or even small cooked pasta (this might be a Wisconsin thing because I used to have really good veg chili at the Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee back when I was in grad school, and they topped it with all three. It was delicious). Enjoy!

Another take on raw kale salad

I entered a local online bake sale via Instagram yesterday. I baked my mom’s Toffee Bars recipe. Fingers crossed! In order to counter the amount of sugar I consumed yesterday, I needed something savory and, a bit more nutritious (hey, I had to sample the bars!). Enter, my go-to lunch when working from home: raw kale salad with random raw vegetables and toasted spicy hazelnuts (these are the DuChilly variety which don’t have that bitter taste and are quite addictive. I got them in Seattle at Pike Place Market last Fall when I was there with Mary). The key is after chopping the dino kale, massage the olive oil into the mix so you can evenly coat the kale and not use so much oil.

A Few Notes

In this instance, I used a orange pepper. Previously, I used red and yellow, just because I’ve been hooked on the sweetness of peppers lately and, for color. (Yea, I’m weird like that). I’ve also used the florets of the broccoli before, but tend to like using the stalks instead because I like their crispness. Lately, I’ve used roasted, spicy hazelnuts in this salad, but, raw ones or almonds work too. Overall, I want a crisp, light, and colorful salad to remind me of warmer days. As for the olive oil and red wine vinegar, use your best judgment. I tend to like a lighter, not heavy dressing on the salad.

Raw Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of Lactino Kale, washed, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 broccoli stalk, trimmed, sliced
  • 4-5 radishes, chopped
  • 1/2 of a orange pepper (or red or yellow for color), diced
  • 1 Half of an avocado, diced
  • 1/4 C. toasted hazelnuts (or almonds), chopped
  • 1/3 C garbanzo beans
  • 1 TB, plus a splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • A few dashes of red wine vinegar

Rinse the kale and then finely chop it, add to your bowl. At this point I add a few dashes of olive oil and then massage it into the kale leaves so they are coated. Add remaining ingredients, toss with more olive oil if needed and another dash or so of red wine vinegar.

Asparagus, Basil, Almond Pesto

I just threw this together and I have to pat myself on the back for this one, it’s deliciously spring-like. The toasted almonds give it a nice, light crunch. It’s very fresh tasting with the addition of a squeeze of lemon juice too. I’m thinking it would also be good as a dip or on pizza and in calzones. I didn’t add any cheese because I like to keep it vegan and let people add their own cheese if they wish.

  • 1/2 C. toasted almonds
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, blanched
  • 1 small to medium size bunch of basil, washed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 small clove garlic
  • Up to 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon

Toast the almonds over medium heat but don’t let them get too brown. (You don’t want burnt almonds, you want to toast them until the oils are released from the nuts. You can tell by the smell). Blanch the asparagus (place trimmed asparagus in boiling water for 2.5 minutes, then remove and submerge asparagus in ice cold water in a bowl). Add the asparagus, basil, toasted almonds, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic to a food processor and puree until smooth. You may have to add more olive oil to make pesto smoother. Also, the amount of garlic is up to you. I barely used 1/4 of a clove because I think it overpowers the other flavors. If you’re putting the pesto on pasta, set aside a 1/2 cup of the past water and add it to the pasta/pesto to thin out the dish. The addition of hot pasta water makes for a creamier consistency.

asparaguspesto