Soup for me, soup for you

Soul satisfying. Warmifying. Stupifiying.

Soup.

I love soup. Can you tell? I could eat soup and a sandwich five nights out of the week. Unfortunately, the only other person in my little family that would do the same is my son, Ben.

What’s great about soup is you can make it anything you want! I can make soup out of anything. And in fact, sometimes I do.

Leftovers – which generally make my favorite soups. Canned beans. Frozen veggies. Fresh veggies. Some combination of these.

Crock pot. Stove top. Any way to get it hot.

But today I’m making fresh tomato soup. Which I’ve never made before. But I had two gallon Ziplock bags of heirloom tomatoes in my freezer, leftover from our CSA, so I’m giving it a shot. We got a lot of heirloom tomatoes, which are my favorite, by the way, and which make me so unreasonably happy. I am the only one who really eats raw tomatoes around here, so I stored ‘em up for soup!

Did you know that when you freeze tomatoes and unthaw them the peel comes right off? Also, the liquid comes right out! This is perfect if you are making sauce, but if you do this, please make sure to save the liquid! You can use it later for soup – any kind of soup! Just put it in a bag and throw it in the freezer.

For this soup, I saved the liquid. This is what my tomatoes look like post-peeling:

Heirloom tomatoes after they are thawed and peeled
Herloom tomatoes after they are thawed and peeled

Them throw them in the blender to blend up all the bits. Save out some tomatoes if you want it more bisque-like.

Blended heirloom tomatoes
Blended heirloom tomatoes

Now get out a frying pan and throw some onion and garlic in. Cook them in olive oil (NO SALT AND PEPPER) low and slow, so they get gooey-carmelly, like this.

Carmelized onions and garlic
Carmelized onions and garlic

Now deglaze with wine.

Carmalized onions and garlic deglazed with Cabernet
Carmalized onions and garlic deglazed with Cabernet

Let that bubble for a minute while you scrape up any bits, turn it off and let it cool for a copule of minutes before you blend it up – using some of the tomato blend if you need it. Add salt and pepper, herbs, and whatever other seasonings you may want.

Let it simmer and reduce on low for as long as you can, and adjust the seasoning. I added a little dark brown sugar and a little cream to pull it together, and garnished it with a little sour cream, green onions, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, and pepper. Served with a lightly dressed salad and a grilled muenster on homemade Italian, (and wine, of course!) and I was one happy lady!

Heirloom tomato soup!
Heirloom tomato soup!
Grilled cheese on homemade italian and salad
Grilled cheese on homemade italian and salad

And there you have it. A taste of summer, with the winter, soul-satisfying comfort of soup.

Do you love cooking and eating soup as much as I do?

P.S. sorry about the cell phone pics – I couldn’t find my camera!

Holiday traditions part 1

Elf on a Shelf
We love holiday traditions, new and old!

This week on our podcast, Kate and Laine’s Ultimate Podcast, we are gearing up for the holidays and discussing our favorites, like shopping, food, music, etc. In preparation for recording the podcast, I thought it might be nice to outline some of my holiday favorites. So here we go:

Favorite place to shop – local, green, great deals, and online: I like to shop as much as I can in Downtown Ithaca.  I also like to buy music for people on Funkyside. I honestly don’t do a lot of green shopping. I love to shop at Target, and I USED to shop at Borders online but alas, no more. Mainly, though, my big shopping joy comes from remembering something obscure someone said and then making their dream come true!

Where is your favorite place to shop?

Favorite traditions: My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is that my family celebrates on Saturday after Thanksgiving. It really eases the stress of the day, since many of us have more than one family to visit. This is a win-win situation for everyone because we can all enjoy our time together without rushing around. My favorite Christmas tradition is actually making breakfast. After we exchange our gifts we ladies (and sometimes the gents) all gather in the kitchen to make breakfast together. They guys hang out and the kids play with their new toys and argue. It’s so fun to just cook and chat and then EAT! And chat. SO FUN!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Favorite foods: I think my favorite Thanksgiving food is dressing with gravy on it. And squash. And cranberry sauce, both homemade and canned. I’m not really sure, I love it all! I’m not sure what my favorite Christmas food is. I guess cookies, and also anything we have for Christmas dinner because it generally involves some sort of large cut of beef and a lot of sides. Remember this post? This is what I’m thinking for Christmas dinner this year – not to be freaky, it won’t be my last meal!

What are your favorite holiday foods?

Favorite music: Man, this is a hard one!! I love all the children’s classics. James Taylor Christmas, Boston Pops, Bing Crosby. I also have a new Jackson Five CD I bought on Borders clearance last year that I am ready to bust out. I’m sure it will be great. This is getting me psyched – I think I’m going to have to start listening to holiday music today!

What is your favorite holiday music? When do you start listening?

Favorite movies: All of the children’s classics – Peanuts, Rudolf, Frosty, Jack Frost, etc. Elf! National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a Wonderful Life. LOVE THEM!

What are your favorite holiday movies?

Favorite new tradition: Elf on a Shelf!

Do you have any new favorite traditions?

Now I’m super pscyhed for the holidays!

Do you have any holiday favorites? I want to hear them and feature them on future blog posts and on this week’s podcast!

Meal plan Monday (or Sunday)

Week of 11/14/11

Monday: Quesadillas, salad, fruit

Tuesday: Poultry sausage, broccoli and cheddar fritatta, fresh French peasant bread, homemade applesauce

Wednesday: Tomato and bean soup with grilled cheese

Thursday: Leftover/freezer night

Friday: Fried haddock, coleslaw, homemade fries

Saturday: Apple, poultry sausage and chicken breast stuffing bake (I think I’m going to have to make this up as i go along)

Sunday: Chicken noodle casserole

Best Salad EVAHHHHH!

Best Salad EVAHHH!
shitty photography - yummy salad

Several months ago Wegmans rolled out a new smoked blue cheese. I love blue cheese but I’m not a huge fan of smoked cheese. It was okay. Not horrible but nothing I would buy. Until I did on accident. So I could make this blue cheese and toasted pecan salad with honey balsamic dressing.

OMG, ya’ll this is the BEST SALAD EVAHHHH! Ask anyone and they will tell you I make damn good salad, but this is tops.

Ingredients:

Salad:

Mixed salad greens, heavy on the arugula if you like it

Red pear

Pecans, chopped and toasted in a dry pan

Smoked blue cheese – as much as you like!

Sliced green onions, or other mild onion of your choice

Dressing (how much of this you need will depend on how much salad you make):

¼ cup of balsamic vinegar

3 tbs of honey

1 tbs of water

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Prepare it, mix it, toss it, EAT IT!

If you can’t get smoked blue cheese I’m surely sorry, but I bet regular will be just as fab!