Tag Archives: Tomato

Roasted Tomato Bisque

I’m over at Cait and Jeff’s house, stealing their internet to blog while we wait for Jersey Shore to start.  There’s leftover apple crisp warming up in the oven and their adorable Westie puppy is lovin’ all over Fritz.  It’s a good life.

So yesterday, I decided to make soup to celebrate the beginning of fall.

You may have noticed that I’ve celebrated the beginning of fall multiple times despite the fact that the autumnal equinox has yet to actually occur.  I also got super excited tonight when Fritz and I went out to the car and realized how COLD it was outside–I had to run back in to get my absolute favorite Fritz/old man/wool sweater. 

I’ll give you one guess what my favorite season is.

Roasted Tomato Bisque (from the CIA’s Book of Soups)

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 baby leeks (or one normal-sized leek)
  • 1 onion (I used three small shallots)
  • 3-4 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 C long grain white rice
  • salt to taste

I didn’t end up using the can of diced tomatoes, because the tomatoes I had were more than enough.  Before you get started, slice the majority of the tomatoes (you want about a cup of chopped tomatoes left over) 1/2″ thick and lay them on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Roast the tomatoes at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, then set them aside to cool so you can dice ’em.

Take the remaining tomato and dip it in boiling water for a few minutes and then in cold water–that will make the skin peel off so you can chop it and set that aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, and add the diced leeks and shallots.  Cook for a few minutes until soft, then add the tomatoes (both roasted and peeled), thyme, and broth.  Let the soup simmer for about half an hour, then add the rice and simmer until the rice is cooked, about another 15 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.

Pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender, if you were lucky enough to have your mother-in-law give you a fantastic one as a gift and you didn’t break it by trying to blend ice with it).

Serve right away–this soup is really thick and satisfying, not like a can of good ol’ Campbell’s soup.

And in case you were wondering what makes a bisque a bisque, they are soups of French origin usually made from a broth of a crustacean (not this soup) or a creamy soup from roasted and pureed vegetables (yup!).

The addition of rice to this soup makes it so creamy–without the cream.  I’ll take that any day!

We also picked up our CSA box number 16–it’s the first time you’ve seen pictures of the box in a while, because of 12 & 13 passed by while we were on vacation, 14 was cancelled from the hurricane, and 15 was picked up by Fritz when I was in classes.  The box is still looking a little sparse because of the hurricane, but some winter crops should be picking up soon–yay!

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Filed under Soups/Stews

Zucchini and Tomato Tart

Only one more test to go (my last practical for my entire educational career!), then I’m a free woman!  My test isn’t until 8:30 tomorrow night, which gives me quite a bit of time to study (and agonize) until it’s all over.

I was searching for recipes using zucchini (since it appears I will be receiving yet more of it in my CSA box tomorrow), and I found this very yummy-looking tart from The Flour SackSince I haven’t made real food in a while, I thought it’d be a nice change from having Fritz grill everything while I cram for exams.

Zucchini and Tomato Tart Printable Recipe Cards

for the crust:

  • 2 C whole-wheat flour (you should probably use pastry flour, but I used straight whole-wheat)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • scant 1/2 C ice water

for the filling:

  • 1 C fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C feta cheese
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

top:

  • 1 medium to large zucchini, sliced thinly
  • handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • drizzle of olive oil (about a T)

This is a bit of a complex recipe, just in terms of how many bits and pieces there are to prepare, so make sure you have a little counter space and time available to you before starting.

Start with the crust.  Oil a 10-inch tart pan.  Combine the flour and salt in the mixer bowl, then drizzle the olive oil over the top while the mixer is running.  It should form small little balls throughout the flour (some flour will remain dry).  Slowly add the ice water until all the flour is moistened, and stop the mixer.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a ball before rolling out to a large circle.  Lightly place onto the tart pan, press into place, and cut off the excess edges.

I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a slightly smaller pie pan.  It worked fine, but I think the larger size would work better in making a thinner tart that cooks more quickly and evenly.  I used the extra edges to make four small mini-tarts–so cute!

Refrigerate the crusts for at least half an hour, then place them in the oven (preheated at 375 degrees) for 15 minutes, weighted down with pie weights or dried beans over a piece of parchment paper.  After 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper and let it toast for another 5 minutes.

While the crust is chilling and cooking, set up the zucchini.  Because they have such a high water content, toss the thin slices with a pinch of salt and lay them out on paper towels.  This will let them release some water before they drown your tart while cooking.

Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  When the crusts are ready, spoon the filling into an even layer.  Dab the zucchini slices with a paper towel to dry them, then layer in a circular pattern over the top.  Drop the grape tomatoes, halved, on top, and drizzle with olive oil.

Don’t expect yours to look exactly like mine, since I doubled the zucchini–I’ve got a lot to use up!  I absolutely love zucchini, so I was happy with more, but the proportions would probably be better with the original amount.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, when the tart is cooked through–the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are bursting with flavor.

A work of art to look at!

My only complaint with this tart was that the crust was a bit dense–that may be my fault, since I didn’t use pastry flour.  I also would have preferred to put it in a larger pan than what I had lying around, but I didn’t have anything that would be a better fit.

I must say, however, that the bite-sized tarts were absolutely amazing.  Two-bite-sized, really, but super cute and the perfect ratio of crust, cheese, and vegetable.

We ate half of the tart, and were completely stuffed.  Very filling.

Anyhoo, I have to go write a take-home final for my ethics class (best kind of test there is), so have a lovely evening!  To keep up with the late nights, I’ve been drinking vast quantities of English breakfast tea to keep me feeling sane–what’s your comforting drink of choice?  I’ve never really been a coffee kind of person.

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Year of the Vegetable (and Pasta Puttanesca)

I have very exciting news.

News that involves vegetables.  Many vegetables, coming to me once a week in a box from a farm just a little further east on Long Island.  A CSA box.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a system where the consumer (that’s me) buys directly from a farmer (that’s them).  It’s a bit expensive for our budget, but I talked Fritz into letting us try it this year.  It averages out to about $21 a week (our grocery budget is around $50 a week).

From June 1st ’till the end of November we will be picking up a box of CSA veggies from a drop-off point close by our apartment.  I’m really excited because I can’t wait to have fresh-picked local vegetables at my disposal for 26 weeks.  I’m also looking forward to learning how to use some new vegetables that I’ve never had the opportunity to use–the farm grows over 100 varieties of vegetables, and they promise 6-10 different types of vegetables in each box.  Of course, I am a little nervous about getting stuck with a giant pile of kale every week for 26 weeks–but their list of last year’s boxes has a lot of variety, so I remain hopeful.  I also have wanted to really dive into making us eat a lot more fresh and green vegetables this year, so with this system I’m stuck finding a way to use what I’ve been given (plus I hate wasting food and I love a challenge so…).

The farm we are using is called the Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, and here’s their website if you want to learn more about CSA or their farm: thegoldenearthworm.com

In other exciting vegetable news, our baby tomato plants are growing like wildfire.  On some advice from Mom, I knew I needed to thin them out ASAP since a lot more of them were growing than I anticipated.  I bought some peat pots for $1.50 and got to work.

To prepare the pots, poke a hole in the bottom, fill with potting soil, and drench with water until the pots are saturated.  Transplant the babies, and voila!

Obviously I would rather not be transplanting baby plants when they are this small, but the pots got overcrowded really fast and I didn’t have much of a choice.  Hopefully now with more room these 14 plants will prove their worth (’cause I’m dreaming about fresh salsa and canning tomato sauce already).

I think that Henry also considers himself their watchdog/mother/guardian angel.  He’s constantly watching over them, sniffing them, and not yet eating them.

Not yet.

Lastly, here’s a recipe for a fresh  new pasta sauce I tried for the first time ever tonight: pasta puttanesca.  It’s quick and simple (and I left out the anchovies, so it’s not fishy), and I absolutely loved it.  I normally don’t even like olives, but between the brine and the bright bites of parsley that I harvested from our herb garden (already!? I know!!), it was my favorite pasta sauce ever.

Pasta Puttanesca (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 1 box whole-wheat angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (I only had dried garlic so I did my best)
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 C black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 C minced fresh parsley
  • 1 T capers (optional–I didn’t have them)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to directions on box.

Over medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil.  Before it starts to brown, add the olives, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes.  Let the sauce simmer until it begins to thicken, then add the parsley.  Flavor with salt and pepper to taste.

Dinner was conceptualized and on the table in less than 20 minutes, including picture time.  Love when that happens.

Light and fresh is really the best way to describe this meal.  Sprinkle some fresh parsley on top for a springtime finish.  We also added a dash of grated parmesan cheese–serious yum.  Fritz did wish that he had some chicken in there.  Sometimes I forget that there are other people in this household who crave meat in their meals–sorry Fritz.  It’s an easy addition for next time, though.

Fritz and I are watching a movie called Creation about Charles Darwin’s life.  I strongly recommend it, even to those of you out there who aren’t giant nerds.  And especially those of you who are (Mom!).

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Crock Pot It: Spanish Rice and Sausage

Today was just one of those good days.  I slept in ’til 8:00, had one class, then babysat for the night.  Since the weather outside has turned chilly again, I bundled up the little munchkin and we took a two-mile ocean-side walk.  Seriously. The family lives near the shore, and there’s a street that runs parallel to it.  The road is swallowed by trees and it was windy, so there were piles of orange and red leaves drifting around to Charlie’s endless satisfaction.  And this beautiful day was allowed to happen so easily because of our second car.

I love that thing.

So anyway, last night I decided to break out an old friend of Fritz’s: 

We never ate slow-cooker meals when I was a kid (mom only recently discovered that particular joy), so I don’t often think to use it.  But Fritz loves it when I do, because he knows it will result in a rice-and-meat-saucy-one-bowl kind of meal, which is his ultimate favorite…mostly likely due to its portability and convenience for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention it’s really easy to use and there’s only one pot to clean after.  Bingo!

Spanish Rice and Sausage (adapted from this recipe)

  •  1 lb sausage (we used sweet italian)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 C water
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 1/2 C wild rice
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is the best part: spray the pot with canola oil or olive oil, add all the ingredients, and cook on low for four to five hours. 

 

Serve immediately.
 

Yum!  And because I’m just that nice, I’ll give you something else yummy to look at:

Tomorrow we are going to a PT-school Halloween party extravaganza, and I think that I might attempt to make scary cake pops to bring while we figure out our costumes.  I also found a recipe for some healthy ginger bars that I want to bake sometime this weekend.  Have a great night!

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Filed under Entrees