Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Soup with Bacon, Cheese & Orzo

My meager pot of tomato plants has finished producing and been cut back to a few stalks jutting from the dark soil they’ve been planted in since May, waiting for me to pull them up.  But I’m lucky to have friends whose plants are still producing and thankfully willing to share.  The challenge for me at times is knowing what to do with them because my own plants have rarely produced more than what we can eat in a salad.  Often my timing is bad in being able to enjoy the lot — just how many tomatoes can two people eat at one sitting, right?  Especially when my husband forgets to bring them home right away and they’re, well, soft.

Into the freezer they go — stems and all.  I put them on a metal tray until they’re hard as rocks, then pour them into a plastic bag for later use.  Last year I managed to save a bag until mid-February when it was a welcome addition to a hearty tomato squash soup.  This year, I’ve already used one frozen bag, but still have two more in the freezer and will enjoy deciding what to make with them.

I’ll have to blame my need to use some of my frozen homegrown tomato stash on this Irish Blue Cheese and Tomato Soup recipe from Soup Chick.   I’m a pushover to begin with because I love tomato soup, but I’ve never had it with blue cheese — let alone bacon.  I was completely intrigued, so of course I had to try it.  I had the tomatoes, but the recipe requires that they are roasted.  Roasting isn’t a problem because I’ve roasted tomatoes several different ways and truly enjoy the flavor.  However I’d never roasted thawed, frozen tomatoes.

I love a good food experiment, don’t you?  Especially when the result is such a satisfyingly, tasty soup.

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Boston Butter Lettuce Salad with Avocado, Corn, & Tomatoes

One of the things my husband will tell you I ask him is whether he’s had anything green during the day.  He’s fairly patient with this interrogation because he’s intelligent and knows that ultimately, regardless of what he eats, there have to be vegetables in his diet– especially brightly colored vegetables.  But sometimes, green is enough, and often easier because all it takes to incorporate it into a day’s worth of meals is to have a salad.  A big salad.

I know many think salad is a warm weather dish, but to me, it’s one of the easiest ways to make sure vegetables are on the plate.  Fresh vegetables.  Nothing fancy — just a mix of what sounds good, what’s in the fridge, or what’s in season.  And?

The salad needs to take up half the plate.

I grew up eating salads made exclusively with iceberg lettuce.  I’m sure many of us did, and from what we now know, it’s because that’s what was in the market.  Zero choice.  But one of the first types of lettuce I discovered when I was freshly moved out of my mother’s house was Boston Butter Lettuce.  It was beautiful, delicate, and something I’d never seen before.  Although I originally saw it in small heads placed in rows upside down in the produce rack, more and more, the heads I’ve become accustomed to seeing are larger.  Much larger, and sealed safely inside plastic containers to keep them from being bruised.  I felt decadent the first time I bought a head of butter lettuce,  enjoying the tender leaves with all kinds of tasty salad ingredients, and thinking that yes, it tasted a bit on the buttery side.

During our short trip to Laguna Beach this past summer, we had a late lunch on the balcony overlooking the beach at The Beach House.  Although we both agreed the food was wonderful, I especially enjoyed the completely green salad made of a whole head of butter lettuce and all other green ingredients tucked under the leaves. Avocado, green striped tomatoes, green onions — wonderful.

When I saw the “Boston Lettuce Salad with Herbs” in the September issue of Food & Wine, I decided to make a similar version of a delicious Boston Butter Lettuce Salad.

Perfect for dinner, a special occasion, or just lunch all by yourself.

Check off your greens for the day!

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Breakfast Salad with Poached Egg and Prosciutto


I’m at that place I’m so familiar with — the place where it seems as if I’m floating on a river lazily making its way to a point in the distance.  I could swim and get to wherever there is more quickly, or I can do what I’m doing —  floating.  Knowing time will pass and I’ll get there.

And then I snap out of it.  Like this morning.

Eight days before we leave for the UK.  Eight. After months and months of planning every single tiny detail, eight days will fly by and as much as I’ve questioned and searched and adjusted to make sure everything is perfect, I swear I’ve forgotten something.  My husband has indulged my sometimes nightly litany of hairsplitting with gentle logic and comments of support.

I’m sure everything will be fine, he tells me.  The other vacations you’ve planned have been great.

Yes, but…

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Fresh Corn and Tomato Pie

Fresh Corn and Tomato Pie

It’s been a couple of weeks since my youngest headed off to college, and it’s become very apparent that tailoring my cooking portions down by a third is not going to be as easy as I first thought.  Let’s discuss the fresh corn I purchased recently, shall we?

I bought four ears, restraining myself because they were 10 for a dollar.  Sure, I could have purchased 10, and like an organized consumer, freeze most of it for later use.  You should see my freezer.

No, I settled with the four ears knowing I’d be able to make a few recipes before we felt as if we were on corn overload.  Bear in mind that each ear of corn produces more than one cup of kernels and that one serving is only 1/4 cup.  Two recipes for two would mean 16 meals consisting of…

Corn.

Sweet, crunchy, versatile corn that, when enjoyed in a nice pie made with homegrown tomatoes, won’t get stuck in your teeth.

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Bittman Salad 13: Strawberries and Tomatoes

Bittman Salad No.

I’m pleased to say that I’m on a roll with Mark Bittman’s “101 Simple Salads for the Season” and surprisingly ahead of my original plan.  My twelve-page print out from the New York Times, as many of my other cookbooks, is beginning to look respectfully used.  With four recipes completed in five days, and a fifth on the menu for tonight’s dinner,  there are bits of this and that splashed on the sheets, paper edges are beginning to curl, and my notes are scrawled on the salads I’ve tried so far.  Clearly, I love this project.

Since we’re clearly in the time of plenty with respect to ingredients, I seem to be following the recipes in the Vegan category primarily.  My fridge is packed with fresh veggies all vying for my attention, so they’re getting it.  Hence, my second salad, No. 13 which was to have been a red salad.

Clearly, I chose a different route.  There will be red, however.  Wait for it…

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