Roasted Tomato, Carrot & Red Pepper Soup

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A New York blogger’s frigid, polar vortex-y February food posts are either:  a) hardy (Tundra mountain man inspired) fare, b) gluttonous (F-it  and your scale) debauchery or  c) belly-warming wholesomeness that hints of restraint in knowing that you’ll soon retire the spandex leggings in a few weeks.  C, Si, I choose C! I choose hope of an early spring, hope of sexy sleeve-less sheer blouses, ridiculously thin denim fitted jeans and a sweet pair of totally un-sensible shoes–void of any and all ice traction.  While absolutely rich and filling with roasted/caramelized veggies and a whole milk, this delicious soup is light enough to help inch you back into your layer-less wardrobing.  Yummy, good for you and aspirational…what more could you ask for in a soup?

Serves 6

Ingredients: 

  • olive oil 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2  cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

How To: 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously grease cookie sheet with olive oil.   Top with red pepper, onion, tomatoes, carrots and garlic cloves and drizzle with more olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, as desired.   Roast until vegetables are tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.  Put vegetable aside and then add 1 cup of water to baking sheet, scraping up browned veggie bits.  Add half the vegetables to blender and puree with the baking sheet water bits until smooth. Transfer to soup pot.   Add remaining vegetables and 1 1/2 cups water to blender and puree. Again adding to soup pot.   Pour in 2 1/2 cups of milk to soup to thin to desired consistency (can add  bit more, if you like a thinner soup).  Mix in 1/4 cup of basil. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.

 

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Summer Gazpacho

summer gazpacho

Easy Summer Gazpacho

Hawt, hawt and humid…for–at least–the next 2 months.  Pretty much the only good thing that comes out of this oppressive weather is that it puts the wet and sticky kibosh on my face stuffing.  My belly begs, “Hold up, Chubster! Step away from anything hot, carb-ladden and heavy on the ‘ol digestion!”  I always listen to a protesting belly…so here you have it.  The easiest summer gazpacho.  Simple, quick, cool and light…and so very tasty and refreshing.

just rough chop and blend...easy easy!

just rough chop and blend…easy easy!

SUMMER GAZPACHO

Serves 6-8

1 cucumber (deseeded), rough chopped

6 tomatoes, rough chopped

1 red bell pepper, rough chopped

1 serrano chile (deseeded), rough chopped

2 teeth of garlic

1/3 cup of sherry vinegar

1/3 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Rough chop all ingredients above and place in blender.  Add olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Blend well until smooth.  Pour in large bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  Serve thoroughly chilled and top with tomato and avocado garnish.

 

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Mamala Chicken Noodle Soup

So I’m half Jewish…apparently, the nurturing half.   Unspoken rule growing up amongst my Jewish family: when someone’s sick, you make ‘em soup.  Period.  It’s just what you do.  It’s an expression of love, appreciation and constructive worry.  You take your anxious ass to the kitchen and you make yourself useful.  Jewish penicillin, chicken soup for the soul, adoration in broth form…whatever you want to call it.  I call mine Mamala Chicken Noodle. I don’t have a high gag threshold for bones and fat brewing endless froth in need of constant skimming, so I forgo an entire bird in favor of lean breast.

This has been the week from hell…and it’s only Tuesday.  Both my darlings are down with nasty ear and upper respiratory infections…my husband is traveling.  I’ve been alone these past few nights, up to my ears in snot, screams and sleeplessness.  Humiliating confession: 4AM this morning, after playing Florence Nightingale most of the night…and all of yesterday…I muffled my face in my living room sofa pillow and cried.  Arm chair therapists relax and recline, no one actually heard me…but the cat (who naturally disdains me anyway)…and maybe my husband…telepathically (if your brain picks up on this: bring home See’s candy…and diamonds).  I–at least–have this wonderful soup…to comfort them and console me.    Come home soon, Daddy…my life depends on it.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 carrots chopped

3 celery stalks chopped

1 small/medium yellow or white onion chopped

3 teeth of garlic minced

1/2 of a leek chopped

1/4 cup of parsley

1lb. of skinless boneless thin cut chicken diced in squares

8 cups of water

4  full teaspoons of Better than Bouillon Chicken Base

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups of wide egg noodles

Directions

In a large pot, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, onion, leeks, celery and carrots to saute for a few minutes. Add chopped chicken and brown slightly.  Pour in 8 cups of cold water. Mix in bouillon base.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.  Add parsley to top.

In a separate pot, prepare egg noodles as directed on package.  I like to prepare my egg noodles separately from overall broth, which yields a less starchy consistency to chicken soup, especially when reheating additional batches.

 

 

 

 

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Soup

Crap.  I did it again.  Waited until the 11th hour to try and drop the last 10 pounds of baby heft.  Okay…its not literally the 11th hour but 4 weeks-ish.  30 odd days until my gorgeous fashion designing/It Girl niece’s wedding spectacular in Mexico City.  A year in the planning and with the family build up, it’s like our own personal Academy Awards…and now I’m down to the wire…and I can’t fit a dress…alright, that’s dramatic…I can’t fit a cute dress.  I refuse to go as the matronly aunt with all the fabulous-ness around me. Perpetual yo-yo-er…my accepted fate as I love and live food.  But time’s a wasting, Spanx can only spread thin so much and Mama needs a rock’n new floor length.  So the next few weeks of recipes will be dedicated to dropping the LBs with filling, calorie light and water shedding foods and beverages.  Below is healthy vegetable soup with everything from the crisper thrown in.  Heavy on the zucchini and leeks (which are natural diuretics–this soup will make you pee…bah-bye, water weight), it is tasty and filling as a light lunch or dinner.  With the exception of potato, you can throw in whatever veggie you like.  I use a chicken stock based broth, but strict vegetarians can always substitute for a veg base.

INGREDIENTS

2 zucchini, diced

1 yellow squash, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

large handful of broccoli florets, chopped

1 leek chopped

1 medium to small onion chopped

2 teeth of garlic minced

3 tablespoons of light olive oil

2 tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Stock Base

8 cups of water

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat large soup pot with olive oil.  Add minced garlic, onion and leek and saute until translucent.  Mix in remaining vegetables and saute until slightly soft (a few minutes).  Add 8 cups of water and chicken stock base.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer 40 minutes.  Salt and pepper to season to your preference.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mea Culpa and/or Chin Up Lentil Soup

Nothing says, “I give an honest genuine crap” like someone making you a comforting bowl of warm soup.  Conveniently, soup offering also doubles as the ultimate act of contrition.  I F-ed up, I’ve been–or even life’s been–an ass…now let’s wash down the hard feelings and deep troubles with some spoonfuls of brothy good stuff.   More from the Food=Family Therapy file, growing up with a hardened ice Pop for a Dad, he was about as sentimental and effusive as a steel door.  Hugs and kisses were not doled out on the regular…or well, to be more specific, ever.  Though every now and so often, when one of us little gals fell ill or was sullenly swimming in a sea of adolescent blues, he’d take to the kitchen and whip up some soup.  With a terse knock at the bedroom door, he’d find a crestfallen teen, with her head most likely hidden under a blanket, and he’d quietly place the steamy, aromatic bowl table side. Few words (well, actually, none) were ever exchanged, but the gesture itself spoke volumes: “I love you with all of my tough-as-dried-grizzled-meat heart…now feel better, dammit”.  In keeping with tradition, this delicious lentil soup recipe goes out to a dear friend who I’ve recently had a series of misunderstandings.   Our communication has unfortunately devolved into the uncomfortable glance and cool shrug of chin acknowledgment as we hurry pass each other on the street following school pickup.  But I’ve matured enough (despite being 1/2 raised by a metal entryway) to recognize that our seemingly ambivalent body language really laments mutually hurt feelings.  So here you have it: my mea culpa lentil soup.  Think of it as an olive branch…only it’s spoons and legumes.  Now let’s get to feeling better, dammit (-:

Ingredients

1 cup of chopped carrots (roughly 3 sticks)

1 cup of chopped celery  (roughly 3 stalks)

1/2 cup of leeks (chopped)

1/2 cup of yellow onion (chopped)

2 teeth of garlic (pressed or finely chopped)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of white wine (I generally have leftover table wine in the fridge that I use for cooking…you could also substitute with regular water, if no white wine is on hand)

4 teaspoons of chicken boullion paste (I love the Better Than Bouillon brand.  It is available at Wholefoods.  I prefer this paste to dry cubes because you have more control re: the amount going in recipe and that it does not contain MSG. Most dry cube brands contain MSG.)

1 cup of dried lentils  (rinsed)

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

7 cups (or 2 quarts) of cool water

salt and pepper

shredded parmesan (optional topping)

Directions

Chop first 5 ingredients.  Heat olive oil, on regular heat, in soup pot.  Add garlic and onions and sautee until tranluscent.  Add additional chopped vegetables and cook for 4 minutes.  Add tablespoons of wine or water for additional moisture.  Stir in 1 cup of dry, rinsed lentils. Mix in tablespoons of tomato paste.  Add 7 cups of cool water.  Mix in teaspoons of chicken bouillion paste.  Bring to a quick boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Cover soup with lid and low simmer for 45 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

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