Tag Archives: herbs

Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup

It’s almost winter and I must admit: I like the dreary cold weather. Except that I know it’s only November and the seasons are hinting at a much colder winter. Will I still wear my slippers (flip flops, for all the “mainlanders” who didn’t grow up on an island in the ocean) and forget to blow dry my hair after showering, when venturing out of the house? Probably. Will I come home wanting a house that smells richly of warm food cooking and earthy flavors slapping me in the face? Most definitely.

I finally harvested the last of our tomatoes. Yes, I should’ve picked them sooner. Yes, they still tasted great. Yes, I was perhaps waiting until the last second, holding onto the vibrant red, gold, and orange tomatoes that still whispered summertime! I decided to roast the tomatoes along with fresh carrots, creating a richly flavored and colored soup.

If you wanted to, you could leave the cream out of this soup and simply replace it with a little more broth. I liked the creaminess in this soup, along with the acidity of the tomatoes and sweetness of the roasted carrots, personally. This makes a large pot of soup that will easily feed 10-12 people. If you aren’t wanting to feed that many, it’ll also freeze well and can be thawed throughout the winter for a nice reminder of summertime tomatoes.


Roasted Tomato and Carrot Soup

Ingredients:
6 pounds fresh tomatoes
1½ pounds carrots
1 large white onion
8 cloves of garlic
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
fresh thyme
1 oz. fresh basil
4 cups No-Chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup heavy cream
grapeseed or sunflower oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks (about 1½-inches). Peel the carrots and then cut them into pieces about 2-inches long. Cut the onion into quarters. Cut the red bell pepper into large strips. Arrange the tomatoes, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic cloves on two large baking sheets (three if you need).

Sprinkle the vegetable mixture with fresh thyme (be generous, use as much as you like). Lightly drizzle the oil over each baking sheet, evenly coating everything. Add some salt and fresh ground pepper (don’t over-do it, as you can add more of both these things later). Roast the vegetables for 50-60 minutes, checking them occasionally to make sure nothing is burning.

Place the roasted vegetables (and all the juices) into your food processor or high-power blender (mine fits all these veggies at once, but work them in batches if you need). Add the fresh basil and one cup of the broth. Blend until smooth (4-5 minutes).

Pour the pureed vegetables into a large stock pot. Add the remaining three cups of broth, heavy cream, salt and pepper to your liking. Gently heat the soup on medium-low, to serving temperature. Serve with a good grilled cheese sandwich, or salad. Top with some fresh minced basil if you’d like.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

It’s officially fall. My favorite time of year. Temperatures are noticeably cooler in the early morning and evening. While the colors around here haven’t begun to change yet, I know it’s coming. Vibrant reds and oranges, yellows somewhere in there. I do this thing every year, come fall. I tell myself that I’ll make more soups. Because one-pot meals are so easy. Plus you can cook them all day, filling your home with warm, filling smells that draw everyone in. Plus in the fall and winter, how can you go wrong with a bowl of warmth, vegetables, spices, flavors that are both compelling and filling? You really can’t.

But I fail at following through with my soup endeavor. Every single year. Until this year. I even started early: the very first day of fall, which allowed me to use some of the goodness we grew this summer. We’ve got a number of fresh tomatoes of all colors, ripening faster than I want to eat them raw. So, there’s a good amount of roasted tomatoes in this soup that offer a brightness that’s reminiscent of summer, layered with earthy warm flavors of fall. If that sounds way too “hippie” for you, it’s all good. Make this soup anyway. You’ll be pleased.

I made this to feed our family plus my husband’s band mates who had been practicing for some upcoming shows (which are “current” and not “upcoming,” as I write this). I’ll be honest. I’ve never made such a huge pot of soup, only to be left with zero leftovers. I like to think that means this would be a recipe worth repeating. Hopefully you’ll find it that way as well.

 

 

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

4-5 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks (about 5 medium tomatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 cups sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced
3 cups red potatoes, diced (skins on or off)
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1- one inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1½ cups red and/or orange lentils
½ cup wild rice
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
8-10 cups water or No-Chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Roast the tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place the chopped tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, then drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the chopped oregano and marjoram, along with a generous amount of black pepper and salt. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to blister and char. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the soup: Heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add in the diced potatoes, carrots, and ginger. Stir to evenly disperse everything. Add the lentils, rice, oregano, thyme, cumin, and paprika. Stir to evenly coat everything in the spices and herbs. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in 8-10 cups of broth (or water). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about one hour.

Puree the roasted tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the pureed tomatoes and can of coconut milk to the pot. Stir well, to evenly combine everything. Cover again and cook for another 2-3 hours at least. Taste and add more salt or pepper to your liking.

You can cook the soup longer if you’d like. After adding the tomatoes and coconut milk, I actually cooked the soup for an additional 6 hours before serving.

Serve hot along with some sour cream or plain yogurt to top the soup off. This soup is also quite delicious with some homemade bread, or at least a tasty baguette of your liking!

Cheesy Herby Scramble

First of all, let’s just put it out there: it takes about 30 minutes of initial complete utter silence and 2 or 3 cups of coffee for me to be a “morning person.” It’s a love hate thing. Once I’m up at the butt crack of dawn (or, say, 6:30 am) and actually awake, I love being up. I feel much more productive throughout the day and I thoroughly enjoy the gradual shift in cold morning temperatures to warm mid-mornings. Even when I was in school, I didn’t mind having to be up early, so long as it wasn’t this urgently rushed affair.

School has started, which means regular bedtimes, wracking my brain for ideas for home-packed lunches, and early hour breakfasts. I’m lucky and seem to have worked out a schedule with my husband I adore: I take care of setting the coffee maker to go off in the early morning hours, pack Silas’s lunches the night before, and then Dad handles breakfast in the morning, allowing me to sleep in. It’s heavenly.

On the weekends, though, we have football games. Early *&^%ing football games. So weekly, I try to relearn the graceful art of being a morning person and get up to make a hearty, energy-fueling breakfast. The typical athletic breakfast around here includes eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, veggie sausage, fruit. The following recipe is more or less my go-to egg scramble. Sometimes I use different herbs (whatever’s growing out in the garden, or available in the kitchen), or incorporate other cheeses, peppers, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, etc. It’s difficult to mess up a scramble, so long as you’re using good tasting and quality ingredients.

 

Cheesy Herby Scramble

Ingredients;

6 eggs
3 Tofurky breakfast links, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
1 tbsp. garlic butter *
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. dill
¼ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

* To easily make garlic butter, melt one stick of butter. Mince 6-7 cloves of garlic, then stir into the melted butter. Pour into a small container, cover and refrigerate until re-solidified. Use as desired.

 

Directions:

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, then beat until frothy and pale yellow in color. Heat a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic butter and let it melt. Sauté the Tofurky sausage in the butter until crisp and browned on the outsides.

Whisk the milk into your eggs, along with the basil, parsley, marjoram, oregano, dill, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Whisk the mixture thoroughly, trying to incorporate air into them (for fluffier eggs). Pour the eggs into your melted butter and browned Tofurky sausage, and let them cook for a minute or two, until the bottom of the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle in the cheeses.

Use a spatula to gently push one edge of the egg towards the center of the pan, tilting the pan to allow any liquid to move underneath the set portions. Repeat with all the other edges, until there is minimal liquid left. Continue stirring the eggs gently, until all the uncooked parts become more firm. Try to keep a good portion of the eggs in larger curds. Transfer the eggs to your serving dish or plates once the eggs are set, but still fluffy, soft, and moist. Serve hot, optionally topped with more fresh chopped herbs.

Serves about 3 or 4.

Easy Raw Tomato Sauce

My quintessential summer mealtime would probably include no stoves or ovens being used. Or maybe being used very minimally. There would be lots of veggies straight out of the garden. Perhaps grilled fish or something along those lines. Grilled pizza? Oh yes. There would be ice-cold inebriants to sip on and cool, fruity, grown-up treats afterwards. The truth is my summer cooking rarely takes that form. Often I’ve got my oven on. Or I spend large amounts of time at the stove, contemplating whether it’s the burners or am I really experiencing hot flashes in my 20’s? And the adult cocktails? They’re an afterthought. Probably cold beer straight from the fridge, or good straight bourbon. You know, to make the stove-heat more bearable?

This time of year and all throughout summer, really, fresh tomatoes are everywhere. This sauce is very easy and super fresh. And it does that ideal thing: no stoves or ovens required. Plus it’s simple and quite versatile. You can this sauce to fresh pasta (my favorite: with more fresh garlic, red chili flakes, more basil and goat cheese).  You can add chopped onion, perhaps a little fresh chopped jalapeno or other pepper, and create a salsa. Put it on little pieces of crusty bread and call it bruschetta. You can even eat it plain, like a chopped tomato salad. Honestly, you can’t go very wrong here. No joke.

 

Easy Raw Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

4-5 large ripe tomatoes, most seeds removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
2-3 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
1-2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp. good quality olive oil
small pinch of cane sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper


Directions:

Dice the seeded tomatoes small, leaving the skins on if you want. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Add enough salt and pepper to your liking. Cover and allow the mixture to sit at least an hour or prepare in the morning and let it sit until dinner time.

Either mix the tomatoes with cooked pasta for an easy meal, or use in whatever way suits your fancy!

Most recently I used this sauce in eggplant parmesan, which does get baked, ultimately cooking the tomato sauce. But the taste was quite delicious and still very fresh.

Herbed Cauliflower, Cherry Tomato and Fontina Pizza

The other night, we had a dinner get-together fall apart at the last minute. At that point I had gone grocery shopping and had all the ingredients for two different curries, one of which included red lentils and cauliflower. When plans changed, I opted for just one green curry for my husband and I, leaving me with a head of cauliflower I wasn’t sure what to do with the following day. I’ve got to tell you – generally, I am not much of a fan of cauliflower. Especially not raw (yuck!). One recipe I always enjoyed as a kid was the cauliflower spaghetti found in Molly Katzen’s original Moosewood Cookbook. That cauliflower always sounded appetizing! So when the craving hit for homemade pizza, I thought, well – why not top it with the same sort of cauliflower I so loved as a child?

While I wandered around the internet trying to figure out what to pair with my cauliflower-topping, I came upon the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange that has been going on since last month, hosted by Cassie of Bake Your Day and Ali of Gimme Some Oven. The recipe exchange is eight weeks long, featuring tomatoes in recipes of different themes each week. Not only are there fantastic recipes to be seen and tried, there have been some great prizes to win as well! I got very excited when I saw that this week’s theme was tomato pizzas, featuring a dank 7-piece pro pizza making kit being offered from Pizza Home Chef. I was sold immediately.

Lucky me, cherry tomatoes of any color you can imagine on a tomato, were on sale this week. I picked the pint of the most varied color assortment, knowing that the colors would create a beautiful pizza topping. Plus the sweetness of oven roasted cherry tomatoes would go great with the herbed cauliflower. I picked creamy fontina cheese and goat cheese in addition to mozzarella, creating a creamy accompaniment to the cauliflower and fresh tomatoes. It was an excellent balance and quite delicious. I enjoy homemade pizza crusts, especially made with my sourdough start, but use what you prefer. I like to prebake the crust slightly before adding my toppings, ensuring that the crust is cooked even under the weight of many toppings. 

 

 

Herbed Cauliflower, Cherry Tomato and Fontina Pizza

Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1” pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. plus additional fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
sea salt and black pepper
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz. fontina cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella
¾ cup marinara sauce (this is my go-to sauce)
1 18-inch pizza crust (this sourdough crust is my fave)

* optional ¼ cup fresh goat cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 500° F, or the highest setting your oven will go. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the oil and butter over medium heat, until the butter has melted. Add the garlic and bay leaf, sautéing until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, stirring to evenly coat everything with the butter/oil mixture. Add in the basil, oregano, thyme, and marjoram, stirring again to evenly coat the cauliflower in herbs. Add a light sprinkling of salt, to your liking, and a generous amount of ground black pepper (I like a lot of pepper!). Put about 1 tablespoon of water into the saucepan, then cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat.

Place your pizza crust on your preheated pizza stone, or a pizza pan. Evenly spread the marinara sauce onto your crust, then layer the cauliflower over the sauce, distributing evenly. Add your shredded mozzarella cheese, then break the fontina into bite-sized chunks all over the top. Do the same with your goat cheese, if using. Place the halved cherry tomatoes on your pizza.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese on top of your pizza is melted and blistered to your liking. Top with more fresh chopped basil and let the pizza rest for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!

Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by Pizza Home Chef. Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.