Roasted Tomato Soup

Yum.  I kept saying this last night as I savored this delicious soup.  This soup has me thinking of curling up in blankets and sitting in front of a fire on a rainy day.  This is comfort food.

The original recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.  R and I made a few alterations.  We used our own blend of herbs: thyme, paprika, dill, and chili powder.  R also added some oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.  Then I topped the bread with a 4 cheese blend.

When you pull this soup out of the oven after the broiling process the cheese and bread create a wonderful cap, trapping the flavor and warmth of the soup under it.  The roasted tomatoes give the soup a fiery sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the herbs.  The bread soaks up the flavor of the soup and really adds a nice substance to the recipe.

As we sat there, enjoying both the soup and our new kitchen table, I imagined this soup appearing on an upscale “comfort food” restaurant.  While I still love classic American cheese and the red and white can, this recipe is going to replace that staple whenever I have the extra time.


Freezer Burritos – Featuring Fetus Joe Hot Sauce

A friend of mine makes his own hot sauce.  It’s lovely, in that burn your face off kind of way.  He’s made several varieties including: Red Pepper, Strawberry Habanero, Ginger Sesame, Carmalized Onion & Garlic, Apple Bacon, and the Holy F*ck Sauce.  R accidentally sampled a full spoonful of the HF Sauce and had heartburn for two days, but said it was worth it.  Each one has a great heat to it and it’s own unique flavor.

I wanted to make some meals that I could bring to work or heat up when I don’t have time to make a full meal.  I make Freezer Burritos, based on Shutterbean’s Freezer Burritos.  I mixed in the hot sauce with the greek yogurt and boy does it give them a kick.

These are easy to make and eat, just pop them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.  The hardest part was rolling the burritos, I ate the first few that didn’t roll as well and had ingredients popping out the sides.

These are spicy and gooey and delicious.  It was hard to roll up the majority and put them in the fridge, rather than sitting down and consuming them all.


California Seafood Burger

It has been getting pretty humid and hot in Virginia lately. This type of weather makes me want to make food that puts traditional summer meals on their heads and has crisp, cool flavors. I’m happy to share my Cali-Krab burgers I made for D with everyone here with my first guest blog. So ‘Hi’ everyone, R here. Hope you all enjoy!

These burgers take common west-coast ingredients and mixes things up for a great lunch that is filling without being heavy, and is different enough to be a hit at your next cookout.

I start with ground chicken (or turkey) and mix in some cracked black pepper, minced garlic, and hickory smoked sea salt, made into 6-8 oz patties. Sear the patties in a skillet (or grill over wood coals) with a medium heat. While they cook, you can prep the other ingredients.

Slice the tomatoes and avocado into 1/4 inch rings. Take a few seconds to pat the tomato down with a paper towel, it will pull the excess juice out and keep the bun from getting soggy. I used pre-made crab salad with shrimp. To make your own simply shred the crab meat, add mayo, shrimp, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and diced celery. Swiss or Loraine cheese works best for these burgers.

Toast butter kaiser roles to use as buns. Build the burger up with the tomato, then cheese, patty, avocado, and pile the crab salad on top. This is no small burger, so encourage your guests to grab some napkins.

The flavors complement each other well, but remain distinct. The Swiss pairs with the woodsmoke in the meat, the rich avocado complements the light and crisp crab salad. There isn’t much need for a side, due to the crab salad on the burger and they match really well with a light, summery beer or a quick sparkling lemonade. This fresh, playful take on a summer classic will have your guests RSVP-ing quickly for your next cookout.

2 Lbs ground chicken or turkey
1 large beefeater tomato
1 Lbs crab salad
1 large avocado
Thinly sliced Swiss cheese
Sea salt, black pepper, hickory smoked salt*, minced garlic

*Hickory smoked salt can be hard to come by. An easy alternative is to purchase ‘Liquid smoke’ and sprinkle it over coarse sea salt, allow it to dry fully before use.

Real Chili

R made chili the other night, possibly the best chili I’ve ever had.  While checking out at the grocery store he grabbed a chocolate bar and Pepsi from the “impulse aisle”.  I teased him about having a sweet tooth, but he told me it was for the chili and said something to the effect of: “Real barbecue comes from Kansas City, southerners don’t know how to really barbecue”.  The woman in front of us turned around and gave him a judgmental once-over, the hazard of being a Midwesterner in the South.

The chili was thick, perfect for pairing with cornbread, and had a spicy heat with the first spoonful.  The complex taste finished with a sweet, savory tone that had me in the kitchen ladling out a second bowl.

Spring has Sprung

It’s officially spring, sun is streaming in the windows and the cats aren’t the only thing soaking up the sunlight.  A few weeks ago I seeded some herbs, this week they have begun to poke out of their soil blanket.  Little seed leaves reaching out for the nurturing warmth of the sun.  Of the seedlings I have cilantro, basil, lavender, and oregano. The lavender I planted in biodegradable plant trays.  Once real leaves have become established the plants will be moved to a larger pot in the plant tray, the tray will breakdown and provide additional nutrients to the growing plant.  The other seeds were planted directly into a window box, they are heartier plants and needed more sunlight.

At the same time I sowed the seeds, I potted some established plants: tomato, strawberry, mint and thyme.  All have flourished in the afternoon light that streams in through our bay window.  The tomato plant especially has grown to twice the size, and just today flowers began to open their petals.

I am looking forward to the day round, juicy tomatoes hang, ready to be picked, from those stems.