Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm-Gonna-Slap-You-With-My-Whisk Tomato Bisque

Don't worry, I haven't gone off the deep end just yet - this recipe is one from the new cookbook by Coolio, Cookin' with Coolio, 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, which I've reviewed in full on Cooking with Anne.

Funny stuff, and a really great, and fresh, recipe.

Don't even think about reaching for that d*mn can! I will bust your head like Gallagher busts a watermelon. I'll be g*dd*amned if I feed that much sodium to my kids or to myself. That doesn't mean you can't have tomato soup that reminds you of being a kid. Here's a great recipe to make your own at home. Serve this up with some mac n' cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich to really bring back those memories.

I'm-Gonna-Slap-You-With-My-Whisk Tomato Bisque

How long it takes: 15 to prep, 50 to cook
How much it makes: enough to make 4 people really happy

What you need:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
One 15-oz can whole tomatoes
4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1 dime bag salt
1 dime bag pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

What to do with it:

1. In a large saucepan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook them bad boys until they're nice and soft.

2. Pour in the canned tomatoes, followed by the freshly chopped tomatoes and all your broth.

3. Get the saucepan a rockin' by bringing it to a boil. Now, reduce the heat, cover, and let it all simmer and coagulate for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from the heat and puree.

5. Once it's lookin' like soup, drop it back to your saucepan and reheat on low heat.

6. Add the milk (or cream), give it a swirl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and carefully pour it into a nice vessel.

7. Garnish the top with some fresh basil and eat it up!

*Dime bag is equal to a tablespoon - have that much on-hand to season from - don't use the whole tablespoon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Caldo Verde from The Un-Constipated Gourmet

For the full story on The Un-Constipated Gourmet, check out my other blog, Cooking with Anne.

This soup was so good and so simple it was really hard to believe there was so much flavor from so few ingredients. It's quick to make and disappears from bowls even quicker!

I had a photo for this - a very pretty one - but my hard-drive died just after the photos were uploaded from my camera. I haven't had a chance to make this again, but I will soon and I'll get a new photo then.

Caldo Verde
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

1 1/2 pounds kale or Swiss chard
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
4-5 cups chicken stock
8 ounces spicy chorizo - sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash kale; strip leaves from stalk; chop leaves; discard stalks.
Place potatoes and garlic in large soup pot. Pour stock over and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Without burning yourself, mash potatoes in broth. Add kale and sausage to soup. Simmer another 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Sourcebooks Inc.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tomato Noodle Florentine Soup

I visited with my oldest daughter at college on Saturday and we stopped at a local diner for lunch. Part of our meal came with a choice of soup and I chose tomato noodle. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything I'd ask for again. It was a sort of combination of tomato soup and vegetable noodle, but lacking any real flavor. I vowed then to come up with my own, and this is it.

I use canned tomatoes all the time - it's one of those things that is sometimes just better or necessary canned, so don't feel badly about using them for this. Try to get fresh spinach, but if it's looking bad at the store or you just can't get it, frozen is absolutely fine, I've given measurements for both. As always, I prefer freshly grated Parmesan, but a quality pre-grated brand works fine, too.

Cut your prep time by making the noodles while soup is cooking and keeping warm until needed.

Tomato Noodle Florentine Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4-6
Ready In: 30 minutes

1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups crushed tomatoes
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach or 1 pound fresh chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces spaghetti or linguine noodles - cooked al dente and drained well
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium-high flame and add olive oil. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onion softens and begins to turn translucent. Be careful not to burn garlic.
2. Add stock, bay leaf, oregano and basil to pot. Turn heat to high and stir well. Once stock boils, add tomatoes.
3. Return soup to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add spinach and cook for 5 minutes longer, until spinach is fully thawed or limp - depending on which you use. Add sugar and salt & pepper to taste.
5. Remove bay leaf and add cooked noodles and Parmesan. Stir well and serve.