Roasted Tomato Basil Soup 09.10.13
My garden is exploding with ripe, juicy tomatoes. I was trying to come up with something to do with all of them (besides just eating them). I thought of sauce, but then you need pasta, or salsa, but then you need chips. I'm about 3 weeks out from getting married and need to fit in my dress, I can't be eating mass amounts of chips and pasta. So, my solution was a healthy but hearty tomato soup. Lately I've been trying to eat mostly vegan, so with the exception of a little Parmesan garnish, it's totally vegan. And now it's the only thing I ever want to eat. My god.
So first things first, there's prep. Not a ton but a bit and this first part can be done ahead of time, no more than a day though. It takes some time but it makes a decent amount and tastes just as good, if not better the next day! Yesterday morning, I prepped the tomatoes then made the soup in the evening.
Serving size: About 6 bowls
- 5 large red tomatoes (doesn't matter what type exactly but mine were a mix of Celebrity and Better Boy)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Half an onion (yellow or white)
- 1/4 chopped fresh basil (I had this from my garden too!)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 Quorn Chik'n Cutlets cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup flour
Prep your 'matoes:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Boil your tomatoes
- Once the skin gets a wrinkly and gross looking, take the tomatoes out and put them directly into a bowl full of cold water. Use tongs or some other utensil because these suckers are hot!
- You can either let these sit and get on with your day, or move right along to the next step.
- Come back to your bowl and peel the skin off of the tomatoes, it should come right off.
- Coat a casserole dish with olive oil, toss in your skinless tomatoes, peeled garlic and sliced half onion. Roast for about 20-30 min, until all the yummy juices are flowing and the garlic and onion and tender.
- Get your broth going while the tomatoes roast.
Prep your broth
- In a large pot, mix the vegetable stock, carrots, celery, basil and seasonings. Let it cook on medium heat, covered, with occasionally stirrings, for about 15, 20 minutes.
- while broth is going, dump the entire contents of the casserole dish into a blender or food processor til almost smooth.
- Dump the contents of the blender and the cubed chik'n into the broth. Stir well. Let cook, stir occasionally, for another 15 minutes.
It's Soup makin' time!
- We're going to make my vegan version of a roux. Normally made with butter and cream, we're using almond milk. Non-dairy, way less calories and fat!
- In a small sauce pan, whisk together a half a cup of almond milk and a half a cup of flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Add one cup of the soup to the roux, whisk until mixed thoroughly.
- Add 2 more cups and whisk the same way.
- Pour the roux mixture back into the soup pot, stir well.
- Add the additional half cup of almond milk to the soup, stir well.
- Let soup cook covered on medium, medium low, until flavors are developed and the veggies are tender.
- Optional: garnish with Parmesan cheese!
- Required: ENJOY :)
Healthy Pizza 01.08.13
So it's the new year and many of us feel compelled (or maybe even want) to eat a bit healthier. For me, given my food obsession, the only way that I can do this is to find healthy replacements for the not-so-good-for-you foods I love to eat. I came across the blog Detoxinista, she has tons of great recipes for vegans, vegetarians, paleoians (is that what you call em?) and just general lower fat foods. I got very excited when I saw the recipe for a pizza crust made of CAULIFLOWER. Yup. Cauliflower.
So a couple things to note: I skipped the cheese in the crust to subtract calories and fat BUT you do lose some creaminess that I imagine would have made spreading it out in the sheet a bit easier, I think this also affected the crispiness of the finished product, my pizza was not hand-holdable, but still very very tasty and easily cut with a fork. The second thing to mention, I measured the raw "rice", not the cooked "rice", when I re-measured after it being cooked and drained, it was considerably less. I would suggest making more cauliflower rice than you think. I used about 2 heads of cauliflower to make the proper amount.
This is a time consuming process but the crust can be made ahead of time. I made the crust and my sauce (i'll get to that later) on a saturday and made the actual pizza on sunday. You could also assemble multiple pizzas and freeze them for a quick and easy meal another time.
Here is the Detoxinista recipe for the crust:
4 cups raw cauliflower rice
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre) (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre) (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 400F, then get to work on your crust.
Step 1: Begin by making your cauliflower “rice.”
Simply pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.
Step 2: Cook & Strain the rice.
Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.
Now here comes the secret:
Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel.
Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEEEEEEZE all the excess moisture out! (NOTE: the "rice" is very hot! I used the lid of the pot to press the towel against the edge of my sink)
It’s amazing how much liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.
Step 3: Make & Shape the dough.
In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese ( I left this out of mine), and spices.
Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.
It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper!)
Keep the dough about 1/3″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.
Step 4: Bake!
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F.
The crust should be firm, and golden brown when finished.
So now that you have your crust, lets get to the fun part. The pizza!
I wanted to make my own pizza sauce to avoid all the extra things that the store bought kind have in them. Also, I didn't want to spend all day tending to a pot bubbling on the stove.
Take about 6 medium sized tomatoes. Cut the tops and bottoms off. Spread a bit of olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the tomatoes in the dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes in the oven at 400 degrees, roast for about 30 minutes or until they get bubbly.
Once roasted, place the tomatoes in a food processor or blender, add a clove of fresh garlic and season as desired.
I tried to keep it very light but I need my cheese so I found some low-fat 2% mozzarella cheese but you can use whatever cheese you prefer.
For veggies, I chose sweet potatoes and butternut squash, so I chopped them into bite size bits and threw them in a baking dish in the oven and roasted them until tender (same as the tomatoes).
I popped the whole thing in the oven for about 15 minutes (until the cheese melted) then topped the pizza with chopped raw spinach leaves.
The Four Seasons (at home) 03.15.12
Recipe from The Four Seasons Book of Cocktails.
Ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon of super-fine sugar, 1 orange slice, 1 Maraschino cherry, 2.5 ounces of Rye Whiskey (I used Bulleit, which is not a rye but works just as well), splash of water, ice and a rocks glass.
1. Muddle sugar, orange and cherry at the bottom of the glass.
2 & 3. Add ice and the whiskey.
Top with water and there you have it!
The Four Seasons Old Fashioned.
Super Bowl Sunday 02.5.12
Ingredients: crescent rolls, pizza sauce, mozzarella string cheese, mini pepperoni, butter and garlic salt.
Steps 1 and 2: unroll each triangle of dough, spread a thin layer of sauce. Evenly distribute pepperonis. Mini's work best but you can cut up normal size if you can't find the mini's.
3 & 4: Cut string cheese into quarters, place one quarter of cheese towards the largest part of the triangle.
Step 5: Gently roll the dough from widest point to smallest point. Try to keep the dough together so that all that goodness inside doesn't ooze out.
6 & 7: Melt a small amount of butter with a sprinkling of garlic salt. You don't need an accurate measurement, just taste it to make sure it's not too salty. Brush on the tops of the rolls.
Step 8: Pop these babies in the oven for 10-11 minutes at 375 degrees.
Enjoy the gooey pizza deliciousness :)
Above is the Truffle Burger
Above is our whole meal
Above is the Port and Stilton Burger
Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you the best thing you will ever put in your mouth. Seriously, I'm not kidding. This is Umami Burger. I have intense cravings for this place on a regular basis so needless to say when I heard that they were opening a new location in San Francisco (the rest are all down in southern california) the bf and I got down there as soon as possible. The first thing I have to tell you is that the Truffle burger is worth every minute, every penny and every drop of buttery sweet savory goodness. The burger is topped with a truffle cheese made in-house along with a lick-off-your-plate insanely good truffle glaze. The other burgers may sound better to you but trust me, this is the one to get. I know this because I decided to try something different and got the Port and Stilton burger, now I don't want to give the impression that this burger wasn't amazing, because it was, just not as amazing as the truffle burger. Regardless, this burger was juicy and full of flavor, coated in a thick layer of Stilton bleu cheese and topped off with Port-caramelized onions. I'm not big on onions but I ate every single bite and thoroughly enjoyed it. As for sides, we tried the Cheese Tots (btw, these were recommended on an online review saying "if you don't order the cheese tots I will kick you in the mouth") They were good, not kick someone in the mouth good but still very good. We also had the sweet potato fries, which in my opinion, are some of the best I have had anywhere, a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. I then washed everything down with an Allegash White. This is 'Last meal' worthy. No joke.
Gourmet food trucks seem to be all the rage right now, and Drewski's is no exception. I've been following them on Twitter for quite some time now but every single time they are downtown/midtown I am not and vice versa. Until last monday anyway, Drewski's and several other gourmet food trucks were posted up at Sacramento's Chalk it Up event at Fremont Park. The bf and I scoped out the line, it wasn't too long so we figured this was our chance to try their famous sandwiches. We ordered the "Hemi" for $7.50. It consists of slow roasted carolina pulled pork, mac n cheese, grilled onions, cheddar cheese and grilled on sliced french bread. The combo sounds crazy right? and it kind of is but it all works together, the sweet juiciness of the pulled pork compliments the creamy mac and cheese surprisingly well. We sat on a park bench in the sun and devoured this sandwich in literally like 5 minutes. Prepare to get messy and real real full.
Osaka Ya 8.14.11
Yeah, it's shaved ice, what's the big deal right? HA. Never have I had shaved ice like this. There's this lil hole in the wall, well, window in the wall actually, that has been serving the most flavorful shaved ice for the last 43 years. Osaka YA! I chose the "Punch" flavor which I was very pleased with. I also tried the Grape and Pineapple, all excellent, but I like my choice best. Not sticky syrupy sweet, just right with sweetness and refreshment. I don't know how I slept on this for so long but I am making this my new summer tradition!
Yard House 8.12.11
One of my favorite comfort foods and soup/sandwich combo: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup. It doesn't get much better or yummier or homey-er than that. Except for maybe when it's at the Yard House in Roseville, CA. This place just opened up in the 'burbs near Sacramento, and I have to say I am thrilled to add this place to the inventory of restaurants that my brain cycles through when trying to figure out where to eat.
First, of it's no ordinary grilled cheese. It's made with Cheddar, Swiss, Gorgonzola and Fontina cheeses and roasted Roma tomatoes on super crusty, buttery Artisan bread. The tomato soup is creamy and rich and perfect to dip that cheesy gooey sandwich in. To top it off, this place has like a bajillion beers. Beautiful combo.
California State Fair 8.2.11
Everyone knows that one of the best parts of of any fair is the food, I didn't get photos of all of it but here's a lil sampling! We've got margherita pizza, Cupcake wine and assorted cheese plate, deep fried peanut butter cups, big ol slab of beef jerky, bbq cheese burger, baked potato with cheese and bacon, potato chips with nacho cheese and then finally, meatball sliders. yummmm.
Oh Gunther's Ice Cream, I love you so. My flavor of choice is Bubblegum, nostalgic and delicious. Seriously, if you have not been to Gunther's, you are totally missing out. This place has been in business and in the same location since 1940 and after tasting their ice cream it's easy to understand why.
Huong Lan 7.26.11
This, my friends, is the #7 Banh Mi from Huong Lan on 65th street in Sacramento. Lately this sandwich has been my obsession. Even in the midst of State Fair time, I want this sandwich all day every day. It is a sugary glazed pork, jalapenos, pickled dicon, peanuts, cilantro and carrots inside a deliciously soft-in-the-middle-but-crunchy-on-the-outside roll. It is fantastic and only $3. I strongly urge you to go try it. It will not disappoint.
C Level 06.17.11
After our amazing Disneyland experience, we headed south to visit some friends in San Diego. They took us to a beautiful restaurant right on the water called C Level. I had the Lobster Mac and Cheese, prepared perfectly, and so so filling.
Club 33 06.16.11
A huge, enormous thank you to our friend Matt for inviting us to Club 33 inside Disneyland! It was such an amazing experience. First was a delicious Pomegranate Lemonade, followed by a appetizer buffet, I chose mixed greens salad, two different breads and a variety of cheeses, the lunch course I chose is Free Range Chicken served with Truffle Mac and Cheese and asparagus. The dessert course was a dessert buffet, I don't even know what all the desserts were but they were AMAZING.