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Thai Chicken Pizza

Boy, has it been a while. Has anyone else been stuck in a time warp this summer? Somehow it’s already mid-August, and I’m still trying to figure out why I’ve been to the beach ONCE this summer.

Oh, now I remember! The past month has been utterly devoured by a huge life change – moving to a new apartment for the first time in three years. It’s pretty amazing how much stuff a person can accumulate in just a few years, and how that stuff can disappear into a rather small two-bedroom NYC apartment. Trying to fit it all into an even smaller one-bedroom apartment is quite the challenge, and hence my summer has rushed by in a swirl of packing, cleaning, un-packing, cleaning some more, painting, learned how to rewire light fixtures, and oh yes, painting.

In the midst of all this, we’ve found a decent amount of time to cook in our new, even tinier kitchen (though apparently little time to share such cooking adventures). With Whole Foods dangerously situated just around the corner, meal planning has become our new best friend in an effort to eat better and spend less. So far, it’s working out pretty well; we’re spending a bit below our weekly grocery budget, while still enjoying dishes like eggplant parm, oven roasted pork chops with smashed potatoes and “Nini’s Barbeque Sauce,” and one of my favorites, Chicken Paprika. These meals have been shamelessly inhaled during DIY breaks, and taking pictures was a low priority. Last night’s dinner, though, was too good to not share.

Thai Chicken Pizza. This inspiration came from the Tasty Kitchen Blog, by way of HowSweetEats. It was penciled into Tuesday’s dinner slot, and we picked up all the essentials on our grocery run Sunday. But because, however, a Culinary Education still can’t teach me the visual differences between a zucchini and a cucumber (I like to think I was too distracted by the nearby pluot samples), some slight modifications occurred. I think the end result may actually be better with raw cucumber than cooked zucchini; it made it more reminiscent of many Thai dishes, like Bahn Mi, that often have a raw cucumber slaw in the mix.

I knew this was going to be a hit the second I smelled it coming out of the oven. When I took my first bite, I called to Adam, “Oh, you’re going to love this! It’s like Bahn Mi on a pizza!” And sure enough, he did. In fact, only two small slices remain from our whole pie – it was that good!

Best enjoyed after lots of hard DIY work, with an ice-cold glass of Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauv Blanc!

Thai Chicken Pizza – Serves 2 – 4

Barely Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of pizza dough (we used Whole Foods pre-made pizza dough)
  • 1/2 cups Sweet Asian Chili Sauce, plus extra for dipping if desired
  • 1 whole shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cups chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cups cucumber, sliced into match sticks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough to about a 1/4 inch thick, or however your like the thickness of your crust. Lay dough down on a pizza stone or baking sheet that has been lightly greased with olive oil.
  3. Spread Asian chili sauce on the surface of the dough to create an even coating. Add the sliced shallots and  red chili flakes. Then add the sliced chicken breast and top with the cheese.
  4. Place the pizza in the oven and cook for about 8 to 10, keeping an eye on your crust and toppings so they do not burn. Once the crust is golden around the edges and the cheese is nice and bubbly, remove pizza from the oven.
  5. Top pizza with the sliced cucumber, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro and basil. Slice and serve with additional chili sauce if desired.

This pizza was perfect! Crunchy crust, slightly spicy but also sweet, which left you coming back, bite after bite, for more. I had a reasonable two slices for dinner, but wound up snacking  on another two over the course of the rest of the night while I read Game of Thrones (book 3, oh my god!).
Also worth mentioning – any left over toppings will make a pretty spectacular thai chicken salad for lunch the next day, if tossed over lettuce. Just mix a bit of the sweet chili sauce with some vinegar for a sweet and spicy dressing!
Enjoy 🙂
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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a full-fledged restaurant review on the blog, namely because cooking and developing recipe is where my head’s been at. But last night I had a meal so insanely great that I literally could not go without mentioning it. In fact, I’ve already bragged about this meal to half the people I know, so it seems pretty appropriate that I document it here.

In a spur of the moment decision, my mom and I decided to grab dinner in the city last night before I head off into the Caribbean for a whole week (yes, I know!!!) on Friday. After each having our own fairly decadent Easter weekend, we wanted to eat out, but on the lighter, healthier side. After a bit of Yelping and Googling, I stumbled upon Candle 79 on the Upper East Side. The neighborhood was right, and I found myself flat-out excited about everything on the menu, something that rarely happens. But with interesting dishes like Avocado-Coconut Tartar, Morel and Ramp Ravioli, and Tofu Vegetable Napoleon, I couldn’t wait to sample a few of the dishes at Candle 79.

Candle 79 is a cozy, two-story restaurant on East 79th street, distinguishable on a mostly apartment-lined street by its deep red facade. Inside the restaurant, the ambiance was very relaxed and calm – almost zen – in the dimly lit main dining room where large framed photographs of fresh produce dotted the walls. A soft-spoken hostess led us to the back of the restaurant, where a frosted  glass wall encasing the kitchen sat at the foot of a winding staircase. Up the stairs we went into a second dining room, right to a table at the front of the room next to a row of windows. Dinner over natural sunlight? Finally, a perk to going out to eat at 6 pm.

Another soft-spoken waitress approached, filled our drinking glasses with filtered water, and delivered our menus. We quickly decided on sharing a few dishes and ordered. Another server brought over an amuse-bouche, which was a crispy, garlicky crostini smeared with a creamy spinach puree. Though I couldn’t identify the other ingredients, I noted that it must be dairy-free given the jurisdiction of the restaurant, and was impressed at the ability to achieve such a rich creamy texture without cheese or cream. But Candle 79’s ability to impress me would only continue.

Our first course was a heap of creamy smokey hummus, drizzled with red pepper oil and served alongside an assortment of fresh olives, a full bulb of roasted garlic, thick slices of carrot and cucumber, and a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth grilled Paratha bread that reminded me of Na’an more than anything else. The dish was an awesome assortment of finger foods and dippable items, all light, fresh, and just enough to inspire a greater appetite. My mom particularly loved this dish and plans to recreate it as an hor d’oeuvre for some upcoming spring parties!

Next up we had the Arugula salad, a fresh bed of greens laden with perfectly grilled spring asparagus, artichoke hearts, baby chickpeas, caramelized shallots, and avocado. The salad was tossed in a highly addictive Ramp Vinaigrette, and as one who loves ramps, and even more so, incorporating seasonal produce into dishes, I loved this touch. The salad was absolutely perfect and I would eat this every day if I could. Note to self: make ramp vinaigrette!

Our third and final course was the Morrocan Spiced Chickpea Cake, and man, did this dish blow us out of the water. The burger itself was a thick, soft patty made of chickpeas and what tasted like sweet potato, with a nice crispy crunch to the outside. It was topped with a thick smear of fig-apricot-ginger jam, and rested on a bed of perfectly poached cauliflower and broccoli florets. All these stacked components rested on in a bath of insane green coconut curry sauce, and the plate was sprinkled with slivered almonds. We almost couldn’t decide if this was more of an entrée or a dessert, so pronounced was the natural sweetness of many of the ingredients. It was all we could do to stop ourselves from licking the plate!

In the end, over matching pots of Vanilla-Cinnamon Rooibus Tea for “dessert,” we both decided that we would gladly go vegan if someone would cook us food like this every day. At Candle 79, not only do you not miss the meat (or dairy), but the flavors are so intoxicating and the food so well prepared, that you feel like you’re being given a treat, instead of being deprived. Best of all, you leave feeling energized and healthy, rather than stomach-achy and weighed down. Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian (god knows I’m not!), I highly suggest checking out this restaurant – you might be surprised how great you feel after a delicious meal of organic, farm-to-table vegetarian goodness!

Candle 79 is located at 154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10021.

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Roasted chicken is one recipe that should be in everyone’s repitoire. It’s simple, it’s classic, and most of all, it’s nourishing.  Few meals feel as comforting, homey and right as a well-roasted whole chicken on a bed of rustic seasonable vegetables. You can dress this up, or down, but the method stays pretty much the same.

In culinary school, we spent one class just learning how to perfectly roast different types of meats. In addition to pork loins and racks of lamb, this instruction included roasting some fifteen Cornish hens, loaded with aromatics and garlic, similar to the recipe below. Before this class, I’d always assumed roasting was as simple as cooking some meat in a preheated oven at one constant temperature – and sure, it can be. But, there is a trick of the trade that applies particularly to roasting birds, and that is to cook it for the first fifteen minutes at a slightly higher temperature. This achieves the equivalent of searing meat before roasting it (while allowing you to avoid the unwieldy task of searing a five-pound chicken in a skillet) – it gives ensures the exterior skin is crispy and well-browned, while locking moisture into the meat. The result? A perfectly cooked, brown and crispy bird.

Here, quite simply, is how to roast a perfect chicken.

Roasted Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables – Serves 4

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 medium (5 to 6 pound) chicken
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cubed
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, tops and bottoms removed, cut into wedges
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 40 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. Start by cleaning the chicken – remove any giblets, rinse it well inside and out, and pat very dry. Trim any excess fat around the neck or bottom cavity. Salt the cavity of the chicken very well; then, put the lemon, garlic, and half of the thyme inside the cavity. Tie the chicken legs together. If you don’t have kitchen twine, cross the legs, cut a small hole in the excess skin at the bottom of each chicken, and slip the leg bones through the holes to  hold in place.

3. In a large roasting pan or pot, add the cubed vegetables, olive oil and remaining thyme. Season liberally with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, and brush the chicken skin with the melted butter. Seasons skin well with salt and pepper.

4. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 450 degrees – this will dry out the skin and create greater crispness. Lower the temperature to 425 and continue roasting for another hour and 15 minutes. You can check for doneness by twisting the bone in the chicken leg; if it turns easily, the chicken is done. Alternately, you can cut between the leg and thigh; juices should run clear.

5. Remove from oven and allow chicken to rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Slice the chicken and arrange on a platter or plates with the roasted vegetables. Top with excess juices from roasting pan, if desired.

Enjoy!

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Anyone ever have Hamburger Helper when they were a kid?

I may be part of a minority of Americans whose childhood was not, at the very least, punctuated by the presence of this warm, hearty genre of meals. Along with a myriad of other pre-packaged foods, Hamburger Helper was on my parents mental black list of food that would rarely, if ever, see the inside of our cabinets, and in exchange my brother and I were treated to a variety of delicious home-cooked meals each night, made usually from scratch (although Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was, thankfully, an exception).

Despite the fact that, growing up, I rarely wanted for anything more delicious than what my parents put in front of me nightly (except for on Fish Fry nights, I truly hated that flounder), I wonder if I was perhaps missing out on a quintessential childhood experience of a small box of Hamburger Helper transforming ground meat into a delightful family experience and delicious meal. Every time I saw those commercials, a little part of me would wonder…

Until now! On Friday, one of my favorite food bloggers, Kristen at IowaGirlEats, posted her traditional list of Friday Favorites, and among it was this recipe for Homemade Chili Mac from Babble. Although it was well before lunch time when I perused her post, I immediately began drooling over the picture for this recipe, and filed it away in my inbox while making a mental note to prepare this over the weekend.

During a stroll around town on Saturday afternoon, my craving and curiosity still hadn’t waned, so I hopped into the local grocery store and picked up the onions, peppers, ground meat and cheese necessary to create this self-proclaimed Hamburger Helper remake. But as I walked around Gristedes, grabbing items from the shelves, I had a clear sense of satisfaction in that not a single ingredient I picked up came in a colorful box labeled with indecipherable ingredients. This would be Hamburger Helper 2.0 – a cleaner, fresher, though not quite healthier version.

I’m starting to sound like a broken record in saying that “I can’t believe how easy this was to make,” but it’s true! Honestly, it’s fool proof – the trickiest part of this recipe, perhaps, is over cooking the meat, but since it’s simmered in beef stock while the elbow macaroni cooks, it’s nearly impossible to achieve anything but juicy, tender hamburger meat. And while the meaty base may taste a bit flat, even with the savory meat and added spices, that mild cheddar cheese provides just the right amount of tang and thickness to bring the whole dish together.

Needless to say myself, my roommate, and my boyfriend all went back for more of this. As in seconds. And thirds. We even compared it to these, which is probably one of the more delicious creations to come out of my kitchen. Moral of the story? If you’re a home cook who prefers to cook “au natural” and avoid pre-packaged meals, you can capture the rich, home-style flavors of a hamburger classic all on your own. And, if you are a lover of Hamburger Helper, why not give this homegrown version a whirl? You might be pleasantly surprised with what you whip up on your own 🙂

Homemade Chili Macaroni and Cheese

(Adapted from Babble.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ tablespoon of hot sauce, like Chili-Garlic sauce (or less, to taste)
  • chili powder to taste (optional)
  • 4 ounces of tomato paste
  • 1 – 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups mild cheddar shredded cheese
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • Canola oil 

Method

 Preheat a large skillet or pot. Drizzle with canola oil. Add ground beef, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables are tender.

 Add cumin, paprika, and oregano to ground beef. Add hot sauce (or chili powder) at this step if you want a spicier dish. Add tomato paste, kidney beans, diced or canned tomatoes and beef stock. Bring to a boil and add macaroni.

 Turn to a simmer and cover. Cook until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and mix until blended. Serve immediately.

Want to lighten this up? Substitute lean ground turkey or chicken for the ground hamburger meat, whole wheat elbows for the pasta, and use low fat cheddar cheese instead of the full fat version.

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I’ve been on an Asian food kick lately.

Okay, fine, I’m always on an Asian food kick. But can you blame me? One castaway thought of thick, chewy Chow Fun noodles, or a memory of the sweet tangy sauce of Pad Thai, and the cravings for a warm, comforting bowl of something foreign set in, relentless until they are relieved. Luckily, there’s a dumpling shop downstairs from my boyfriend’s apartment that sells Pork and Chive potstickers (the only flavor worth having) four for a dollar, so this craving is usually quashed easily.

But then there was last night. I opened my fridge, and staring me back in the face were rows of bottles left over from this adventure in Thai Cooking this summer. These bottles were filled with every variety of thick, dark, aromatic fermented seasonings; umami that goes by the name of extra dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, chili oil, sesame oil. Though I’m sure it will take me many months to work my way through all of these flavorants, last night seemed as good a time as any to make a dent.

This was certainly a meal thrown together with things I had on hand, but it wound up being so good that a) I felt compelled to blog about it and share the recipe, and b) I’m confident saying this recipe is so good, it’s worth going out and getting the ingredients for it. Yep, it’s a recipe worth going out of your way for. That’s really saying something!

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but one of my biggest frustrations with cooking Asian food at home is that it just never turns out quite like the stuff you get in a big plastic container from your neighborhood take-out joint, and since Chinese food is generally pretty cheap, what’s the point? I’ll be honest, usually I cave and just order in. But after seeing how quickly and easily this Chicken with String Beans in Brown Sauce came together last night, and how fresh and vibrant the flavors were, unweighed down by the greasy aftertaste of a well-used wok, it might be time to turn over a new leaf. Come with me, won’t you?

Chinese Chicken and String Beans in Brown Sauce – Serves 3-4

Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen green beans, defrosted (you could also sub in snap peas or broccoli)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
If you don’t, like me, have cornstarch*  (a standard ingredient in Chinese cooking) on hand, you can make a quick roux to thicken up your brown sauce. In a small pan or pot, melt the butter. Then, add the flour and stir into the flour until a smooth paste forms. The roux is ready once it is the color and consistency of wet sand. Reserve in a small bowl.
 
Heat a large skillet and add the vegetable oil. Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken and brown on both sides. Though the chicken won’t be cooked through, remove it and reserve.
 
To the same skillet, add the garlic, dark and regular soy sauce, brown sugar and chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Add the chicken back in and cook at a gentle simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for another minute  or until the chicken is cooked through.
 
At this point, remove the chicken and green beans from the sauce and place on serving dish. Bring sauce
to a boil and boil for about five minutes, or until sauce has reduced. Depending on how thick you want the sauce, you can add some or all of the roux and whisk it into the sauce, over low heat, to thicken it. Once sauce has reached desired consistency, add chicken and green beans back in and toss to coat.
 
Serve immediately on a bed of fluffy Jasmine rice.
 

*Note – 1 Tbsp of cornstarch can be substituted for the roux – just reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken broth initially, and mix that with the cornstarch. Add this mixture to sauce after chicken and string beans have been removed, and cook until thickened.

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Last night’s dinner was a total win, if I do say so myself. Better yet, it was an unexpected win, since expectations were pretty minimal and didn’t have very long to get inflated.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hey, what do you have to eat in your apartment?”

Adam: “Um, Italian sausage, chicken thighs, ground meat, onions, quinoa, pasta, pasta, and more pasta”

Okay, maybe I added that “pasta” part.

But I latched on to the healthiest ingredient available – quinoa – and the one I knew would be most likely to make him happy – Italian sausage – and fed them to my favorite time waster – Google.

I got this little gem of a recipe for Sausage and Peppers Quinoa back in return, so I immediately proposed it. Adam was pretty skeptical that it would be good with quinoa, but as per the usual, cooking executive powers were relegated to me, so we decided to move forward with the plan.

One quick trip to Whole Foods later (thank god peppers are back down to normal, i.e. not $499 for ONE, prices), and we were ready to rock and roll. I set the quinoa to steam, manned Adam’s shockingly great quality IKEA saute pan, and got to chopping while he poured the wine. Drinking wine while cooking is sort of mandatory, if you ask me. Note to Culinary Schools: look into this!

Between the wine drinking, the chit-chatting, and the subconscious decision to cook this all super-slowly, I wasn’t paying the closest attention to what we were doing, so it truly took me by surprise when this dish turned out off the charts delicious! Seriously, I almost dropped my fork after the first bite, because deep down (I’ll admit it), I sort of doubted that an Italian classic like Sausage and Peppers could really taste that good mixed with quinoa. But, it did. You live and you learn, folks! The sausages were super crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside, and lent an incredible amount of flavor, smoothness, and a bit of heat to the quinoa. The peppers and onions were cooked to tender-crisp perfection, and the quinoa provided the perfect fluffy base for soaking up all those juices and a little carby resistance, sort of the way bread does in a Sausage-and-Peppers sandwich, but without all that weight.

And the best part? We didn’t even lapse into food coma afterwards! In fact, we both felt pretty great – full and satisfied, but not on the road to an early bedtime since the quinoa packed more protein than carb overload. Such a pleasant surprise 🙂

Italian Sausage and Pepper Quinoa – Serves 2

Adapted from WAHM.com 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 large green peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth, divided
  • 4 medium Italian sausages, uncooked
Method
 
In a medium saucepan, add quinoa, chicken broth (or water), cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Uncovered, bring to a boil and then reduce to a very low simmer, cover, and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender with a slight crunch. Turn off the heat and leave quinoa covered.
 
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium  heat. Add onion and sweat for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add peppers and saute for a minute or two, then cover the pan and lower the heat slightly. Allow peppers and onions to cook covered for about five minutes. Then, remove the cover, add 1/4 cup of beef broth, and simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Add cooked peppers and onions to the saucepan full of quinoa, and add salt and pepper if needed.
 
Add the remaining olive oil to the saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Add sausages and brown on each side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Once sausages are brown, lower the heat, add the remaining beef broth, and cover the pan. Cook covered for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. Then, add the quinoa-peppers mixture to the saute pan with the sausages, and cook until all the beef broth has been absorbed by the quinoa, which should be moist and fluffy. Serve hot in large bowls, with two sausages per serving.
 

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Have you been outside lately?

In case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s fall. Hard to believe, because when I woke up yesterday morning, it was still warm, humid, and the usual sweltering descent into the 63rd street F train was still kickin’. But at some point, a cool, light breeze must have blown in, because by the time I left work in the evening, it had become Autumn – just like that. The air was crisp and clean-smelling, the beginnings of dried leaves were blowing in swirls off the curbs, and the sky seemed to be hanging a little lower, a little closer than usual.

As I walked home from the train, I couldn’t help but relish the change in weather. Suddenly I felt revitalized, and  I just couldn’t stop thinking about everything great that would come with the fall weather: a weekend spent outside in the cool fresh air, shopping for sweaters and scarves and boots, and hot, thick homemade soup to warm you from the inside out.

It’s pretty obvious that I love soup making. What could be better than throwing whatever vegetables and random ingredients you have hanging out in your fridge into a pot, cooking it until all the wonderful flavors ooze out, and then pureeing it all into a smooth, creamy bowl of paradise? Soups provide the ultimate combination of healthy nutritional value, since everything stays in the pot and nothing is “lost” in the cooking process, while still being hearty and filling, not to mention insanely comforting. Yes, as I walked home last night I couldn’t stop thinking about how a bowl of homemade soup would be just the ticket for dinner.

Then I remembered the bag of assorted tomatoes from my mom’s garden that was still hiding out in the bottom of my fridge, and it was on.

As a non-discriminating soup lover, it’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. I love everything from carrot-ginger, to acorn squash, to French Onion and even Amy’s organic split pea (it’s green, and I like it). But there is perhaps no soup as classic or lovely as the Tomato soup. There’s a reason it’s an age-old favorite.

This soup is pure tomato – there’s no cream, which is classic and you could certainly add, but frankly I didn’t have any and the idea of simple roasted tomatoes sounded pretty divine  me. The rosemary and thyme add an extra layer of earthiness to the dish, and are quintessentially fall, though you could swap them out for basil in the summer, or tarragon basically any time of year. This soup would be fantastic topped with a large, crunchy, buttery slice of baguette topped with melty Gruyère or a crisp layer of Parmesan. I personally served mine with a handful of salty pita chips, which I alternated between crumbling over the top, or dunking right in salsa-style (who doesn’t love foods that you DIP?). One big old bowl of this left me feeling full, warmed through and through, and one-hundred-percent satisfied for the rest of the night. If that’s not soup success, I don’t know what is.

Roasted Tomato-Rosemary Soup

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients 

  • 10 medium or 4 very large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds), cored and cut into equal sizes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus extra
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the extra olive oil and roast them until they look wrinkly, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

While the tomatoes cool, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the shallots, chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and sauté over medium-low heat until they turn golden brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, then reduce the wine by half at a simmer.

Add the fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about ten minutes until the flavors start to develop. Add the roasted tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning one final time. Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs, and puree the soup in a blender or using an immersion blender in the pot. Serve hot with a crostini, scoop of fresh ricotta, or sprinkling of herbs.

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