Tag Archives: Tomato

Mini Tomato-Basil Bread Puddings

9 Sep

Mini Tomato Basil Bread PuddingBread puddings are the epitome of warm, homey comfort food. We always remember all the delicious dessert bread puddings and often overlook that savory bread puddings are celebrated soul friendly brunch entrées or a dinner side dishes.

A few years ago I came across a remarkable Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding recipe created by Giada de Laurentiis. Over the years I have created several brunch versions of this and have enjoyed all of them. It’s a versatile recipe that can take on the addition of any favorite omelet ingredient – ham, mushrooms, green peppers etc. This version doesn’t deviate too far from the original recipe. I add in some Fontina cheese for extra creaminess and some hot sauce for an underlying kick. Creating individual portions in cupcake tins gives a little vigor to comfort classic. Individual Tomato Basil Bread Pudding

These mini tomato-basil bread puddings symbolize comfort food at its best – rustic, humble, inexpensive and heartwarming!  Continue reading

Tomato & Lemongrass Broth with Orzo

20 Mar

Tomato Lemongrass Soup with Orzo

Mother Nature is playing cruel tricks on us this year. We are well into March and every time there is a faint glimpse of spring, the Weather Gods dampen our spirits with a cold front or a wintery-mix. This atypical weather makes it rather challenging to determine seasonal produce. Winter produce is almost on its way out. Spring and even summer produce is starting to preview in stores, but more than often the quality is far from desirable. So meals and menus need to be planned in the grocery store based on whatever looks good – winter, spring or summer produce – your guess is as good as mine, till you are in the store.

Last week I came across some remarkable Roma tomatoes, despite it being quite early in the year for them. Given my insatiable love for tomatoes, I returned home with several pounds of these beauties, that found their way into a heartwarming soup recipe.  Continue reading

Roasted Tomato Soup with Truffle Oil & A Herbed Goat Cheese Ball

27 Sep

We all have our lists of comfort foods; foods that warm our hearts and feed our souls. They are foods that calm our nerves and satiate our appetites on days that seem far from perfect. I have a long list of favorite comfort foods and soup is pretty high up on that list. And not just any soup – tomato soup, particularly a roasted tomato soup.

By now you know my love for tomatoes, and since tomatoes found in the cooler months of the year are often not at their best, roasting wheedles out the flavor of a less than pristine tomato. A classic roasted tomato soup is a staple around our home in the cooler months, but is an entertaining worthy soup?

This is a dilemma I found myself grappling with a few days ago. Since I profess that I feed people’s appetites, I ought to have my fancier, party worthy meals stem for classic comfort food recipes. I need to create dressed up versions of comfort classics that have both the panache of a fancy dinner and the cozy feel of comfort food. This self-imposed mandate was the foundation of this recipe.

The herbed goat cheese ball replaces the cream that would traditionally thicken a tomato soup. As it melts into the soup it creates an additional layer of flavor and texture. This coupled with a hint of white truffle oil elevates a comfort classic to celebrity status.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Truffle oil & Herbed Goat Cheese
Serves 4 people

HERBED GOAT CHEESE BALLS:

Ingredients:

4 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
¼ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

 Method:

1) Mix together all the above ingredients.
2) Use your hands to form small balls that are just a little smaller than golf balls. Place them on a plate and chill in the refrigerator till the soup is ready.
3) If you have leftover goat cheese balls, they make a great spread for toast or crackers.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients:

1 lb vine ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
5 unpeeled whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
5 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon of white truffle oil (See note)
2 tablespoons of basil, Chiffonade
Salt and pepper to taste

Note:

  • You can use more truffle oil if you want to. Be aware that it is very strong and a little bit more can have an overpowering flavor. You want to just have a hint of it when you taste the soup.

Method:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 450⁰F.
2) Cover a large sheet pan/cookie sheet with foil. Lay out all tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves on it. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper.
3) Roast all these vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes. Flip the vegetables over half way through to ensure even charring.
4) Once the vegetables are roasted, bring the chicken stock to a boil along with the bay leaf and oregano in a Dutch oven on the stove top.
5) Add the roasted vegetables and the tomato paste to the boiling broth. Don’t forget to remove the roasted garlic from the peels and discard the peels before adding to the broth. Let everything come up to a rolling boil.
6) Now reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat when done.
7) Using and immersion blender or a food processor, blend everything together. Use a sieve to strain out any seeds.
8) Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the truffle oil and basil.
9) Serve the soup in your best soup bowls and top each bowl with one of the goat cheese balls.

Indian Summer Tomato and Shrimp Orzo

14 Sep

If you live in the North East, summer is that time of the year when everyone and everything seems vivacious, buoyant and liberated.  It’s the time of the year to pack in barbecues, pool time, camping, movies under the stars and everything summer related before it all fades away. In our household summer includes consuming copious amounts of fresh summer produce and seafood.  While, a lot of summer produce and seafood is often found year-round, the quality and assortment are extremely disparate from when they are in season.

My summer menus are usually inspired by all summer produce, but my partiality towards TOMATOES is often a rather controversial topic in our home. This is the consequence of feeding my husband every conceivable version of a hot and cold tomato soup and tomato salad last summer, till he was “tomatoed” out! This year I had to tread carefully and find less blatant approaches of working tomatoes into our dinners.  I worked furtively to reposition tomatoes – the Queen of Summer Produce from being the meal to the background essence of most of our meals.

This recipe is the outcome of one of these covert experiments. The union of tomatoes with onion, garlic and ginger – the trinity of Indian cuisine gives a traditional Italian orzo an exotic and exciting twist. Versatile orzo absorbs the favors of the tomatoes and Indian spices creating a light and healthy one-pot dinner.

Indian Summer Tomato and Shrimp Orzo

Servings: 4 servings (1 cup per serving)
Active time: 30 minutes    Start to finish: 45minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked Orzo
26 uncooked medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves, torn up if they are very large (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick, 1 inch piece
3 cloves
2 green cardamoms
1 medium red onion, diced
2 green chilies, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 Hot House red tomatoes, grated (See Cooks’ note)
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons table salt, divided
Frozen Peas, ½ cup defrosted
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice

NOTES:

  • To grate the tomatoes cut them in half across the width and remove the seeds with a paring knife. Use the larger side of a box grater to grate the meat side of the tomatoes. Discard the peels once done.
  • Leave out the shrimp and increase the peas if cutting back on shellfish.
  • While this recipe can be made year round, it’s the best to make it in the summer when tomatoes and shrimp are at their best

METHOD:

  1. Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a 2 quart or larger pot. When the water is at a rolling boil add 1teaspoon of salt and the Orzo. Cook the Orzo stirring constantly. Cook till the Orzo is al-dente (firm to bite) about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a 4 quart heavy pot over medium heat till it shimmers. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop, about 1-2 minutes. Add the curry leaves if using them and cook for a minute. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the onions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, green chilies and ginger and cook stirring, 2 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric and chili powder along with 1 tablespoon of water and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes along with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook till the oil separates, about 4 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the shrimp and peas to the pot and cook till the shrimp is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the cooked Orzo and toss everything together for a minute.
  8. Add the lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
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