Smokey Tomato and Charred Corn Soup

The day started out chilly and damp yesterday. The perfect kind of day to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Because I was cold all morning, a big bowl of warm soup sounded like the perfect lunch. Happily I had some frozen homemade marinara sauce in the freezer, the quickest and easiest way to throw together a delicious tomato soup. I thawed some of it out, added some water and let it bubble away on the stove until nice and hot. For some additional flavor I added in a scoop of basil pesto for freshness and a couple of dashes of smoked paprika for a little smokey flavor. I topped it all off with some grilled and charred sweet corn, thinly sliced green onion, and some nice, sharp aged cheddar cheese. It was the perfect lunch to warm up to on this chilly June Saturday. 

I love using leftover marinara as a base for a quick tomato soup. All of the work has really already been done, all you need to do is heat it up and add some add whatever additional flavors you want, if any. Basil is always a good option, but really any herb will work. If you are wanting something a little creamier, you can always add a little bit of cream, sour cream or yogurt and if you need something a little heartier you can also add in some white beans or quinoa, or even rice or noodles. 

Then toppings, I always like a flavorful cheese like sharp cheddar, parmesan, smoked provolone, but you can use whatever you have on hand. This was the first time I have tried adding corn to a tomato soup and I highly recommend it. The crunchy and sweet corn kernels just burst in your mouth, full of flavor. Thin sliced onions, crispy croutons or chopped sweet pepper would also be wonderful additions. 

Smokey Tomato and Charred Corn Soup 

From Jana

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pre-made marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
  • Approximately 1 cup water or stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup grilled corn kernels
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

Combine the marinara, water or stock and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 5-10 minutes to let it all heat up and help the flavors to really meld. You may want to add more or less water depending on how thick your marinara is and how thick or thin you like your tomato soup. 

Once the soup is nice and hot, transfer to a bowl and taste for seasoning. Top soup with grilled corn, green onion and cheddar cheese. 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I don't know where summer went, but this weekend is definitely feeling like fall. It's so funny though, the leaves have not even started changing colors yet which is super late. So even though it feels like fall, it has yet to look like fall, a very strange combination. I'm not quite ready for the cool weather to start moving in, I want to eek out every last drop of summer that I can. Pining for summer, but dressing for fall, this soup is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds. A creamy and comforting tomato soup using fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes from the farmers market and basil straight from the garden. It's pure summer in a bowl, yet warming enough to fight off the beginning of autumn chill that has decided to drop by, a winning combination. 

Before making this soup, I looked at a few different tomato soup recipes and then I put together my favorite parts of all of them, using what I had on hand. Tomato soup is so easy to make, and it is so delicious. If you've never had homemade tomato soup, and have only ever suffered through a bowl from a can, you don't know what you're missing. I used to think I didn't like tomato soup. Then I discovered that I just don't like canned tomato soup. Homemade is infinitesimally better, it isn't even comparable to the stuff out of a can. And while I used fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes make a pretty good soup too, so in the middle of winter you can still whip up a batch. So if you've never tried making your own tomato soup, I urge to to give it a try, it is so easy and so worth it. 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

From Delectably Mine

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoon sour cream to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch sugar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil, plus more to garnish

Directions

Cut tomatoes in half or in quarters and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Add the onion and garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees. 

Once vegetables are roasted, transfer to a small sauce pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return pot to heat and add the salt, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes and basil. Let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve, garnishing with more basil and parmesan cheese, or more sour cream. 

Heirloom Tomato BLT

Fall has officially arrived. Summer has disappeared. It's a sad time for me every year. It's not as though I have anything against fall, I actually like the season quite a bit, cold nights, cool crisp days, colorful leaves dropping all around, and the best baking of the year. I do love me some fall baking! No, it's not fall that I dislike, it's just the knowledge that it's going to keep getting colder and colder, darker and darker, for months on end. Winter has its charm, but in my book it just can't compete with the beauty and warmth of summer. So as one last tribute to this past summer, I give you one of the best late summer meals of all time; a BLT on homemade bread with heirloom tomatoes, freshly picked corn on the cob, slathered in butter and covered in salt, and a bowl of juicy, sweet watermelon. I dare you to name me a better summer meal!

It was so much fun to go to the farmer’s market and pick out some beautiful heirloom tomatoes for my sandwich. There are so many options that all look and sound delicious; it’s a very difficult decision! I decided on one brandywine, since my brandywine plant didn’t make it this year. I don’t know what happened, but it died in July, it was a very sad day. I also went with the beautiful green tomato that you see. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was one of the favorites of the girl at the farmer’s market, and I can see why!

I grabbed some fresh lettuce at the farmer’s market as well, and stopped by the meat market and picked up just a few pieces of freshly sliced, thick cut bacon. A little mayo, some

homemade bread

and voila! Dinner is served!

Grilled Chicken with Romescu

I love trying new things when cooking, new flavors and textures, new foods and new cuisines. This past week I experimented with a new sauce, romescu sauce. This sauce is one of the many delicious looking sauces in a great cookbook I have, The Sauce Book by Paul Gaylor. Just flipping through this book is so interesting. It is set up by region/country and I love seeing what people eat all around the world. I've been eyeing this romescu for a while now, it has pretty simple ingredients, and they're all ingredients that I love; roasted red peppers, tomatoes, paprika, almonds, garlic, what's not to love! Boy was I right, this sauce was absolutely delicious, the perfect accompaniment some summer grilled chicken.

This cookbook has a little blurb about each sauce before the ingredient list. I love this because it gives you a little idea what you can do with each sauce. Before the romescu the author writes:

One of the great Spanish sauces, dating back hundreds of years to Tarragona in the Catalonia region. Whether made with hazelnuts or almonds, it never fails to impress. I think I've served it with just about every type of grilled fish, vegetable, meat, even fried eggs - utterly versatile. 

I agree, it is utterly versatile, and super simple to make. I had it with chicken one night, on a sandwich as a great spread the next night, and a few days later as sauce on a grilled Spanish inspired pizza. And there are so many other ways it could be used. This is definitely one sauce I will be making again. It's so easy, and you don't even have to cook anything (except the pepper if you don't have any roasted red peppers on hand)

Just making this one recipe got me thinking about Spanish cuisine, and I realized how little I know about Spanish food. I can only name a few Spanish dishes off the top of my head (paella anyone?). This recipe has therefore inspired me to try out some other Spanish foods. This is my goal for the summer, learn about and how to cook Spanish food, wish me luck!

Romescu

From

The Sauce Book

 by Paul Gayler

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice white bread, cut into cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or 1 dried red chile)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 12 ounces roasted red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 ounces tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan, add the bread cubes and fry until golden. Add the garlic, almonds or hazelnuts, red pepper flakes, and paprika, and cook for another 30 seconds.

Transfer to a blender and add the roasted red peppers and vinegar. Blitz to a pulp. Using the feeder tube and with the motor running, gradually trickles in the remaining olive oil.

Add the tomatoes, blitz again, and season to taste.

Tomato Tart

While it's not tomato season yet in Michigan, the farmers market is starting to have some very nice greenhouse tomatoes that are actually pretty good. I've picked up a few over the last couple weeks and have been quite happy with them, on sandwiches or salads. Over the winter I've forgotten how much I love having fresh tomatoes around, they are so useful and so delicious. They may not be fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun tomatoes, but I am happy with them for now, and they worked perfectly in this tomato tart.

This tart is basically just a pizza in a different form, and it was delicious. Spreading an entire head of roasted garlic on the crust is a brilliant start. Since I had mozzarella in the freezer, I used that instead of the Fontina which was called for. I would have loved to use Fontina, but the mozzarella was still very good. Fresh basil on top was the perfect finishing touch. I thought this tart was just wonderful, and I can't wait to make it again with my very own tomatoes, fresh from the garden.

Tomato Tart

From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • All purpose flour for dusting
  • 1/2 recipe Pate Brissee (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 cup grated Fontina or mozzarella (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • course salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the garlic on a piece of foil; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Fold the foil up around the garlic, sealing the edges, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until golden brown and the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the clovees out of their skins and into a small bowl, mash with fork and set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 13 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 10 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into the edges. Using a rolling pin or a sharp paring knife, trim dough flush with the top edge of the tart pan; chill tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Spread roasted garlic evenly on the bottom of the chilled shell. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Arrange the tomato slices in an overlapping circular pattern on top of the cheese, working from the out edge toward the center. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake tart until crust is golden and tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Thinly slice basil leaves lengthwise. Sprinkle tart with basil, and serve warm.

Pate Brisee

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender or two fork.)

With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together with out being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still to crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic  wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.