We finally had fall-like weather this weekend, and cooler weather calls for soup. With a bowl of tomatoes from both the farmers’ market and our own garden, a batch of tomato soup was a simple choice.
I generally followed a Tyler Florence recipe for roasted tomato soup, which was good, but I’d like to give some other recipes a shot before making it again.
The tomatoes are first roasted with onion and garlic.
Then they’re simmered with stock, bay leaves and butter.
It all reduces a bit before being pureed and/or passed through a food mill.
Pureed and strained soup + fresh basil + cream. I picked up some berbere seasoning recently, and a sprinkling of that to each bowl gave it a deeper flavor and a nice kick of spice. A garnish of grated queso fresco added a little texture, but croutons or toasted seeds would do the trick, too.
I’ve had the first issue of Cherry Bombe on my nightstand for the better part of the summer, which means that I’ve caught a glimpse of the Perfect 10 cookie dough on the cover, on average, twice a day for three months. While I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to make vegan, gluten-free cookies, my paleo-eating friend’s homemade desserts have made me realize that they’re not all bad, and sometimes they’re chocolatey, coconutty and delicious. I bit the bullet and bought a bag of xanthan gum (Bob’s Red Mill at SuperTarget was the cheapest source that I’ve found in my very casual comparison shopping), and shortly thereafter baked a pan of delicious cookies. The texture is soft and cakey, and they taste like toasted almonds and chocolate. I like toasted almonds and chocolate, and I like eating cookies with minimal guilt. I’ll be making these again, and not just because xanthan gum is only sold in absurd quantities (I can make 551 more batches of these cookies without buying another bag!).
I neglected my bread starter earlier in the summer when we hit a patch of weather that made it too hot to turn on the oven. The first chilly weekend seemed like the perfect time to start a new one.
An unrelated ball of dough, destined for pizza.
Pizza is always a good way to use up things in the fridge, and after some brainstorming I came up with some solid ideas for pizzas we could make without buying a single ingredient.
The first one had a cream sauce, sautéed leeks, thinly sliced fingerling potatoes, blue cheese, bacon, parmesan and a last-minute addition of eggs cracked on top. I used this recipe for the cream sauce, and the flavor was good, but it showed no signs of thickening until I added a little flour. We had two lonely strips of bacon, so I crisped those in a pan and then sautéed two sliced leeks in the bacon fat. I’d guess that I used about a half pound of potatoes, and after an incident with my thumb and a grater, I realized that using a knife to thinly slice fingerling potatoes is probably the safest route. I crumbled a small knob of blue cheese over the pizza and then finished it with a light dusting of grated parmesan.
After it had been cooking in a 500-degree oven for five (ten?) minutes, I cracked three eggs into three small bowls and carefully (but not carefully enough, as you can see) transferred them to the pizza. They’re all on one side of the pizza because all of the low points in the dough were concentrated on one side, and I didn’t want to risk having egg spill over and bake onto the oven floor. I’m still trying to figure out the right balance of temperature and time for adding eggs to pizza, but even though they cracked and were slightly overcooked, they were still totally delicious. A pizza topped with what’s essentially homemade potato chips is also delicious.
The second pizza was the “healthy” one and put a good dent in our vegetable drawer. I started with a tomato sauce that had been simmering for a good three hours and was probably the best tomato sauce I’ve ever made. On top of that went a handful of roughly chopped fresh spinach, a heaping pile of sliced peppers (bell peppers, sweet peppers and jalapeños), fresh mushrooms and a mixture of provolone and parmesan.
I thought I might be overdoing it with the peppers, but this post made me think that it would be ok, and ok it was. It was actually way better than one might expect a piled-high-with-pepper pizza to be, and that’s coming from someone who considers green bell peppers to be one of the lamest of vegetables. This was actually the pizza that I went back for seconds of and the one that I opted for leftovers of, which is a pretty good sign of how much I enjoyed it.
I skipped my usual Saturday morning activity of a run and a bagel sandwich for a trip to the farmers’ market and brunch with girlfriends. How pretty are those tomatoes?
We’re all suckers for $6 flower bouquets.
I look half-asleep, but yay for fresh flowers!
Aren’t they incredible? Does anyone know what any of them are? I love those fuzzy, squiggly ones, and I’ve never seen them as big as they are in this bouquet.
Also from the market: rhubarb, long beans, eggplant, two kinds of peppers, Paula Red apples and eggs.
My first Negroni. I think bitter is an acquired taste, and it’s one that I’m trying to work on. To me this drink smelled exactly like a grocery store on Kauai (the one next to Da Crack, mom and anyone else who is reading this), which is more or less a combination of sunscreen, damp air conditioning and fresh fish – much better experienced while in Hawaii and making a quick run inside for a bottle of passion fruit juice than wafting from a glass in Minnesota.
After dialing it back from running for a couple of weeks with some shin issues, I’m finally back at it. I did a longish run on Sunday morning, and then I ate this massive bagel sandwich. On the inside: egg, avocado, tomato, cheddar and harissa.
My bagel fueled me through three hours of sorority pow-wowing, and towards the end I started daydreaming about tacos. Sometimes, especially after a long day, you can’t beat the simple tacos of your youth. I try to avoid most processed food (Cheetos being the biggest exception), but I occasionally buy Rick Bayless taco seasoning packets. I like that they’re a sauce instead of a dry, salty mix, and as long as you use your own judgment and drain off excess grease before adding the sauce (a step that’s neglected in the instructions), they’re not half bad.
(Thank you, Armando, for the adorable mini tortillas!)