Creamy Tomato Soup

At the end of the summer, there was an influx of farmshare tomatoes. I am not the biggest raw tomato fan (unless they are JUST picked from the garden, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and chopped basil, and layered with fresh mozzarella), so I knew I wanted to cook something with these guys. Usually when I am craving tomato soup, I use this Martha Stewart recipe that uses canned tomatoes. This time with enough tomatoes for a fresh soup, I consulted the goddess Barefoot Contessa. Here, I use her very simple and incredibly delicious recipe for cream of fresh tomato soup. Perfect for those chilly early autumn nights!
Lots of fresh chopped tomato

Cream adds richness and depth

Everything simmering with my homemade veggie stock

                3 tbs good olive oil
                2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped and1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
                1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
                4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
                1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
                1 tablespoon tomato paste
                1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
                3 cups vegetable stock
                1 tablespoon kosher salt
                2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
                3/4 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Blend the soup in a blender or food processor until thoroughly combined. Return  the soup to the pot and put low heat. Slowly whisk in cream. Serve with grated cheese if desired.

Served with buttery, crispy toast. Yum!


Eggplant and Tomato Pizzas

Martha Stewart really is one of my favorite food personalities. I think she always focuses on the ingredients and doesn't usually make a recipe so fussy that the star ingredient doesn't shine through. This recipe is one such example.

A good friend of mine was stopping in unexpectedly for dinner, and I didn't have much time to prepare. I had a couple of eggplants and tomatoes from the end of the summer share to use up, and I decided to adapt Martha's Grilled Portobello Pizza recipe for the eggplants and tomatoes. For Valentine's Day this year, Devin got me a stovetop double grill pan, and I am always looking for a chance to use it. Grilling veggies in place of pizza crust is a great way to health-ify pizza without sacrificing flavor!

Veggies grilling away

                12 cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1/2 pound)
                4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
                2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic
                Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
                1 eggplant and 2 tomatoes, sliced into ½ slices
                About ½ of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I’ve found that vegetable peelers work great for this)
                4 very thin slices prosciutto (about 1 ounce)
                4 tablespoons Rough-Cut Basil Pesto

1.             Prepare a stove-top griddle or outdoor grill.
2.            Combine the tomatoes, thyme, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, the roasted garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl and toss. Set aside.
3.            Brush the top and bottom of each eggplant and tomato slice with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until the veggies are tender, about 4 minutes per side for the eggplant and 2 per side for the tomatoes.
4.            After grilling, arrange an equal amount of the tomato mixture each veggie slice. Top each with a shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
5.            Arrange 1/2 slice of prosciutto on each “pizza” and spread 1 tablespoon of the pesto on top of each prosciutto slice.
6.            Enjoy!
Super quick and healthy dinner


French courtesy of Devin

Devin surprised me the other day by planning a menu, going grocery shopping and making dinner for me--all by himself! People who know me well know that while I do enjoy some assistance in the kitchen from time to time, for the most part I prefer to do thing by myself. I find cooking to be a sort of therapy--it is methodical and relaxing. You can put on some soothing music, sip a glass of wine, and generally just unwind. 

However, I had been having a particularly tough week, and I think Devin could just sense that I needed some taking care of. He generally sticks to baking, but I was thrilled at this amazing menu he put together. It was just the thing to pick me up after a hard week.

Just yum.
The next morning for breakfast he indulged me yet again by using leftovers from the previous night to prepare a decadent breakfast of poached eggs with asparagus and hollandaise sauce with grilled mashed potatoes.