Friday, August 29, 2008

Far too busy...

I know it's no fun reading a blog when the blogger never blogs. I am absolutely going to make an excuse here so be prepared. I have been online all week, meaning, about 40 hours this week trying to get my online classes off the ground. I will blog more starting next week hopefully! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The coffee conversation

Last night around 10pm or so I was craving something sweet. And, since I have cut out most whites from my diet, white bread, pasta, refined sugar, I decided I had been good enough over the last couple of weeks and wanted a couple of cookies and some decaffeinated coffee. After all, it was 10pm so caffeinated coffee was not an option. My old standby - McDonald's coffee. I love it, it loves me, and it doesn't hurt that we can see McDonald's from our doorstep....yeah, it's that close. Anyway, this is what the conversation was like at the drive-thru last night:

Window Guy: Welcome to McDonald's! What can I get for you?
Me: A large decaffeinated coffee please.
Window Guy: What?
Me: A large de-caff-ein-a-ted coffee please.
Window Guy: We don't have that kind.
Me: **silence** dumbfounded at what I just heard. I think my exact words were, "Uhhhhh, what?"
Window Guy: We don't have that kind, but we do have decaf coffee.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

The soup came out great. The recipe I posted serves 6-8 people. I LOVED the chunkiness of the soup, my husband did not. He prefers a much smoother soup. So, if you have picky eaters in the house, just puree everything. The flavor was good, although, I thought it needed quite a bit more basil. But, I did add fresh basil to the top of the soup, and that helped. I do think that it would have been better with another tablespoon of basil during the cooking process. Next time I will add two and see how it comes out. I tend to like really strong flavors (and again, the husband does not), so sometimes I try to compromise. All in all this is a keep recipe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I just made this soup for lunch today. In fact, it is still simmering on the stove for about 40 more minutes. But, even the 'young' soup is amazingly good. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup, and oh so good.

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half (I used Roma Tomatoes)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil (I used less)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (I am not a big pepper fan, so I used about 1/2 a teaspoon total)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced (garlic lover here - I used almost 10 cloves)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I only had salted on hand, and it came out fine)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (this is a MUST, but if you don't like spicy, cut that in half)
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (who has 4 cups of basil leaves on hand? I used 1 tablespoon dried, crushed in my hand)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon dried and crushed in my hand)
1 quart chicken stock or water (uh yeah - stock is expensive, so I used broth made from bullion cubes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Personal Adaptations: In the ingredients list above, I have obviously made notes. Other than that, and because I don't have a food mill, after sauteing the onions and garlic, I put the tomatoes from the oven and onion mixture in the food processor and pulsed it until pretty smooth, but still had small lumps in it. Then, I put the whole can of tomatoes in the food processor and gave that a rough-ish chop, but somewhat smooth. (I tend to like my soups with some substance. My husband does not, so when it's done, I will probably have to put a few servings in the blender or food processor for him to make it really smooth). When serving, I will put a chiffonad of fresh basil on the top and serve it with some parmesan crisps from the oven. You can also serve this cold with a dollop of creme fresch on top (but that stuff tastes like sour cream to me and I don't really like cold soup). Enjoy!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Finished Product

The letters are 95% complete. All that needs to be done now is a seal coat. I should be sending these out at the start of next week. Hopefully the new mommy will like them.