Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Who doesn't love a bowl of tomato soup and new beginnings?

I'm not sure how active the mom half of our little mom and daughter blogging extravaganza will be over the next few months, but I'm definitely back with a vengeance. The primary goal of this blog will stay the same, to share my successes and complete failures in the kitchen with you, hopefully with the end result being that you decide to experiment a little bit, too!

The secondary goal is that I've recently acquired a Pinterest account and I went to start posting some of my favorite food things and realized two things. First is that I much prefer my own photos of the food that I eat to the ones provided by the various websites I sometimes get my recipes from and second, that I often change the recipe's up so much that they aren't even really the same thing so it would be misleading to pin them. So, like the apparent narcissist that I am, I decided to pick up the blog again. This will hopefully save my poor Facebook friends from the now frequent attacks of the munchies.

So, onwards and upwards! I've got quite a few recipes and things to share, so I figured I may as well jump right into it. The weather has been fantastic since the first of October. By fantastic, I mean it's been super, super chilly. The perfect kind of weather for soups and ciders and everything delicious. So, first up is the Roasted Tomato Soup.

Because I've never made a tomato soup before--I'm not a big fan of tomatoes in general--I followed this recipe almost to the letter. I may change it up in the future because I think all recipes are meant to be tweaked until they are perfect for you. For instance, I might cut back to 6 cloves of garlic, for all that the roasting mellowed the flavor a bit. My house and soup reeked of the stuff, though it tasted just fine. The recipe also doesn't address what to do with the liquid in the pan after the roasting is complete. I threw it into the soup with the tomatoes and my soup came out just perfect. So, I'm going to take a firm stand here and suggest you do the same.

We served ours with two-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches and a bit of the mozzarella sprinkled on top. It was a super easy, super fast, and a perfect Fall dinner. This recipe was entered in a freeze-ahead type of contest, but I skipped the freezing step. It's good to know that this will keep in the freezer for up to three months though, for those of you interested in Batch Cooking.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Adapted from Taste Of Home Magazine, October 2011
Kaitlyn Lerdahl, Madison, WI

Preheat oven to 400° F

5 lbs tomatos, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. conala oil, divided
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh basil leaves, optional

1. Place tomatoes in a greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan (I used the lower half of a broiler. I think you could get away with anything fairly large and shallow). Combine 1/4 cup canola oil and garlic; drizzle over tomatoes. Toss to coat. Bake at 400° F for 15-20 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally (I skipped the stirring bit and my soup was none the worse for the wear). Cool slightly. Remove and discard skins.

2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute onion in remaning oil until tender. Add the tomatoes (including the juice and bits of garlic from the pan), water, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until flavors are blended. Cool slightly.

3. In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Stir in cream, heat through. Garnish with basil if desired and serve.

Now, if you're going to make this for freezing ahead, you'd continue with these steps.

Cool; transfer to freezer containers, freeze for up to 3 months.

To Use Frozen Soup: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a large saucepan; heat through. Garnish with Basil if desired.