Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese were common in our house when the girls were growing up. Now that I’ve discovered homemade tomato soup, the canned stuff is out the door. I roast tomatoes all summer and freeze them for soup and sauces in the winter. The tomatoes I had frozen did not have garlic and onion in them, so I sautéed the onion in a little olive oil and added the garlic when the onions were brown. The end result was delicious. The soup was a little thick, so I added water to gain the consistency I like.
The perfect lunch or dinner for a snowy winter day!
Roasted Tomato Soup
3 lb. Roma Tomatoes (I used a variety of tomatoes from my garden)
1/2 small onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk or cream (I used Half and Half)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh basil (I used pureed frozen basil)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Water or milk to thin the soup to your liking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with oil. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the tomatoes start to brown. (At this point you can freeze the tomato mixture for later or proceed with the recipe.)
Scrape the tomato mixture into the blender and add the milk or cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, tomato paste, and sugar. Puree until completely smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve immediately with grilled cheese for dunking. Yum!
Cauliflower is a vegetable I has grown to enjoy, raw and roasted. I’ve roasted cauliflower with or without broccoli and other vegetables dozens of time, drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt. Adding toasted pine nuts and raisins was a delicious treat! I chose to roast flowerettes vs. cauliflower steaks. Either way, it’s delicious!
The recipe could easily be adapted to Vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter. I used traditional raisins and dried parsley and, in the future, I plan to try the recipe with Craisins or dried cherries instead of raisins. Play with it…Make it your own… Enjoy!
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PINE NUTS & RAISINS
2 heads cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut off the cauliflower stems, then place the heads cut-side down and slice into 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium sauté pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins and butter and season with salt. Cook, tossing, until the butter has melted and coats the pine nuts and raisins. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top. Season with salt.
Irish Potato Casserole is a favorite recipe shared with me by my sister-in-law, Betty, many years ago. I have served it often as a side with Prime Rib or with Baked Ham with many compliments. This is a wonderful potato dish that you can prepare the day before and have ready for the oven before your guests arrive. Over the years, I’ve substituted low-fat cream cheese and sour cream with equally good results. It’s a winner, winner chicken dinner kind of recipe!
I’ve shared a photo of the casserole before baking. Every time I make this, I am in such a hurry to serve the meal, that I forget to take a picture after. The after picture would be very similar but with a browned top….never said I was a professional blogger!
This Christmas we will again, have the Irish Potato Casserole with Prime Rib and other family favorites!
IRISH POTATO CASSEROLE
8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt paprika
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add potatoes and all other ingredients (except paprika) and beat until well combined.
Spoon into lightly buttered casserole and sprinkle with paprika.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad is a favorite salad, especially when I had fresh kale from my garden but it is wonderful with kale from the grocery store, as well. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me a few years ago and it continues to be a favorite.
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad
2 cups almond slices, toasted
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon Juice (2-4 lemons)
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
In a toaster oven or oven, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt.
Slowly whisk in olive oil.
Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and then cheese.
Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressin and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour.
NOTE: I typically make a much smaller salad. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator. I have also minced the garlic and added to the dressing.
Eggplant = favorite food. My friend, Jan, shared this delicious recipe with me. I love how simple it is and it’s not as rich as many Moussaka recipes. I only had cheddar cheese on hand when I made it, but it would be great with Feta or other mild cheeses.
I made this dish without rice or yogurt, but enjoyed it with a nice class of red wine from my favorite winery, InVINtions.
2 globe eggplants, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound ground beef (or omit if Vegan/Vegetarian)
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced/diced
2-3 green or sweet peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 petite tomatoes, diced (I used Compari tomatoes)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil for eggplant and another 1/4 cup for sauce
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1-2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish.
Place cubed eggplant in a bowl. Add salt and 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Toss and mix well to assure the cubes are covered in olive oil.
Spread the eggplant over a baking sheet, layered with parchment paper. Bake until brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly until it is dry. While cooking, crush the ground beef with the back of a spoon.
Add onion and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft, but not browned.
Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
When the tomatoes are cooked (turning darker red), add one cup boiling water.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Place eggplant cubes in baking dish. Top with sauce and mix. (Optional: add sliced tomatoes on top). If using dried parley, sprinkle on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to serve without cheese, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.
If using cheese, sprinkle on top, and put back in oven until cheese in melted.
Serve as is or serve hot with rice and Greek yogurt.
Fresh local sweet corn, zucchini from the garden and delicious mushrooms are a wonderful combination for this savory pie. My daughters do not like mushrooms, but another vegetable (roasted peppers, additional corn, etc.) would be just as good. I have served the pie warm and cold and enjoyed them both. This pie is so versatile it could be served for brunch or a light summer supper with a salad or with juicy garden tomatoes.
Sweet Corn & Zucchini Pie
4 tablespoons butter
half of a yellow onion, diced
2 ears sweet corn
2 large zucchini, sliced very thinly (about 4 cups)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces shredded cheese (I used both Mozzarella)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute until the veggies are soft, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten eggs. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or just grease a pan with nonstick spray. Transfer the mixture to the pan. Arrange the top so the zucchini slices lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese for looks, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices.
Late summer harvest is my favorite garden time. The Sungold tomatoes are at their peak, basil is plentiful, and local sweet corn is available. When I saw this recipe, I was hesitant about the apple but it adds a wonderful pop of crunchy flavor. Avocado adds a little bit of heaven in every bite. The dressing makes a large quantity. Add to the salad to taste. You may have enough dressing to make a double batch. I will be making this recipe over and over and over again.
Napa Sweet Corn Salad
2 cups sweet corn kernels, raw (~3 ears) (Note: I cooked the corn then cut off the cob)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
3 small or 2 large green onions, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped
1 red apple, chopped
1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
For the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey (or agave for Vegan recipe)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Combine ingredients for the Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Taste then add up to an additional 1/2 Tablespoon honey if desired – remember that the sweet corn and apple will add natural sweetness to the salad. Set dressing aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl then drizzle over desired amount of Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Panzanella, or panmolle, is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy (per Wikipedia). The first time I had this salad, about 10 years ago, I fell in love.
It’s a scrumptious salad, any time of the year, but especially when I have fresh tomatoes from my garden. Fresh, flavorful and healthy!
3 tablespoons good olive oil 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced 20 large, fresh basil leaves 3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar 1/2 cup good olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
Book Club almost always inspires me to try making something new and the Watermelon Heirloom Salad has been on my list of ‘must try’ since my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it.
I served this in July with tomatoes and watermelon in season. It is a refreshing salad especially during the hot days of summer. The salad was served with the feta on the side since some of our members are Vegan. Easy peasy and satisfies all. What a wonderful fusion of great flavors. It’s now one of my favorite summer treats.
WATERMELON HEIRLOOM SALAD
3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds), cored and cute into chunks or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used multi-color cherry tomatoes)
4 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)
juice of 1 lime
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh feta (don’t skimp on the quality of the feta)
1 lime, cut into wedges
Combine the tomatoes, watermelon, mint and basil in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour olive oil mixture over the fruit and toss to mix.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle the feta over the salad (or on the side). Serve with lime wedges and sea salt.