Monday, November 29, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Cozy is the word that comes to mind when I think of this time of year. The shortened days and occasional snow or rain fall entices me to waste little time getting home. All I want to do is snuggle up and be cozy! I don't know what cozy means to you but to me it means wrapping up in warmth both inside and out. A warm blanket and cup of tea come to mind.

I also like this time of year because I feel like I can get away with my second favorite thing...engrossing myself in a good book. I often feel guilty about the amount of time I spend reading. I know I should probably exercise more or at least do something productive! But I just can't help myself. I love, love, love to escape into books. I'm a bit of a type cast when I comes to the bookworm stereotype.

So anyways, back to my number one favorite thing. Since soup is a nice cozy food I find myself making a pot about twice a week these days. I ended up adapting the original recipe to the point that I can proudly and confidently call this recipe my own. I have to say this is one of the most pleasing soups I have had in a long time. The sweet flavor of the roasted red peppers paired with the smokey flavor of the fire roasted tomatoes makes for perfect harmony.

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 14 1/2 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • one 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 red bell peppers roasted, skins peeled off and chopped or one 17 ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • 2 cups V8 juice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat 2 tbsp grapeseed oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, shallot, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until the carrots have softened slightly and the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juice, roasted red peppers, and V8 juice; bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, stir in the cream.
  4. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer if you prefer a smoother soup or leave as is for a rustic consistency. Stir in salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with garlic croutons or toasted bread.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Tofu Tahini Patties & Marinara Sauce

Liquid Gold, a.k.a. a rich, buttery, oaky Chardonnay is my wine of choice. I have found it increasingly hard to find a reasonably priced Chardonnay with that particular flavor. So we have resorted to wine making. Of course when I say we  are wine making, I mean we went to a wine making store, picked out a wine that promised our preferred flavor and reported back for bottling 7 weeks later. It's quite a nice surprise when they call to let you know your wine is ready, especially since you have forgotten about it by this time!

I am by no means a wine connoisseur so when I say that I was very surprised by how good our wine turned out, don't think I have a lot of experience under my belt! If you enjoy wine and are looking for a specific flavor for the fraction of the cost of commercially bottled wine this is a good option. The shop we went to even offered to buy a bottle Mike's favorite red wine and specialize a kit to match the flavoring.

I found this recipe in the new Canadian Living cookbook called "The Vegetarian Collection". I have always found Canadian Living to be a good place to find recipes but I must say I am especially impressed by this cookbook. You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes!

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pkg extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground salt & pepper
  • marinara sauce
  1. Halve and seed squash. Bake cut side down on a greased baking sheet in 400° oven until flesh is tender when pierced, about 1 hour. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil in a skillet and fry onion, carrot, garlic, cumin and cayenne, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 mins.
  3. In food processor, puree tofu with tahini. Add onion mixture, parsley, bread crumbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper; pulse to combine. Form into 12 1/2 inch thick patties.
  4. Heat up marinara sauce over medium-low heat (or make from scratch if you don't have some handy).
  5. Heat half of the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; fry half of the patties, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes. Repeat with remaining oil and patties.
  6. Using a fork, scrape strands into bowl; stir in half each of the salt and pepper. 
  7. Serve patties on top of spaghetti squash and marinara sauce. Garnish with Parmesan or Italian parsley if you are vegan.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three-Cheese Rotollo with White Sauce

I find that the impeding darkness and shortened days draw Mike and I to carbohydrates and hibernation. Now to find a way to avoid making so many cheesy past dishes!

In the meantime here is a super yummy cheesy pasta dish from the October 2010 issue of Canadian Living. I don't believe I made any changes to this recipe. But I would like to recommend some ways to add some extra vitamins to this dish. You could include a layer of pureed pumpkin, squash, chopped steamed broccoli, or wilted and chopped spinach.

Since I started my new job last Monday, I have been adapting to a new routine. I am finding that because I have a longer work day combined with a longer commute (walk) to work, I have less time to cook and even lesser time to blog. In light of these changes in my daily routine I find myself a little more organized by planning meals in advance and leaning on my kitchen co-pilot (Mike). No more lengthy complicated recipes on weekdays! I will have to leave those for the weekends form now one....

One more note before I sign may notice the quality of our pictures go down hill due to the lack of natural light in the Fall and Winter seasons.