Sunday, September 14, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

What is the deal with tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches?  It just seems like a combination that goes well together, it's an easy and cheap meal and seems to, on some level, bring a certain amount of homey comfort to the table.  My husband grew up with tomato soup and cheese sandwiches as a Sunday evening tradition.  He still loves this meal and the nostalgia it brings.  And really, didn't all of us who grew up in America have this meal during our childhoods?

While this soup hasn't reached the status of "weekly tradition" at our house, (I like experimenting too much to do the same meal every week), I do like the addition of roasted red pepper better than plain tomato soup.  It takes it up several notches above canned soup.  And, for the finishing touch, add some grilled cheese croutons or serve with crusty bread.

This is a fairly quick and easy meal, perfect for when you are busy with refugees, a threat of Russian invasion, or a ton of laundry and fighting siblings.   It also looks lovely.

PS No dairy or gluten in this one, for those who are concerned about those things....  just veggies, broth (you can use vegetable broth if you like), and a little oil and spices.

The Step-by-Step

Prep the Veggies

First, turn your oven onto broil, and while it's heating up, chop your red peppers.  Remember to remove the seeds and the white membrane inside.

Toss the peppers with a bit of oil, then spread them out on a foil-lined pan and place in the oven.

Broil for 10-15 minutes, remove when the edges of the peppers start to blacken.  Set aside for now.

Now we prep everything else.  Dice the onion and tomatoes, and mince the garlic.

Cook the Soup

Saute the onions, tomatoes and garlic in a bit of oil in a soup pot.

Add chicken broth, roasted peppers, and spices.  

Trust me, it'll look better when it's finished.   

Let that simmer for about 20 minutes.  You can take this time to grill up some cheese sandwiches to accompany your delicious soup.  Or, let's be honest, kill 20 minutes on Pinterest.

Puree the Soup

Now the soup looks like this.  The veggies should all be nice and tender by now.  If you have one of these babies (an immersion blender), pull it out.  If not, go get one.  

No, just kidding.  If you don't have one, you can just use a regular blender.

Blend, blend, blend.   

It's not necessary to get this perfectly smooth.  You want it all blended through, so there are no big chunks of anything, but a little bit of rustic texture is good.

Serve with grilled cheese croutons, if you so desire.
(Hint:  just make some grilled cheese sandwiches and cut them into chunks).

Enjoy a taste of nostalgia.  But better.

The Recipe   


3 red bell peppers
2-4 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion
4-5 medium tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of paprika
pinch of cayenne (optional)

Turn oven onto broil.  

Chop bell peppers and toss with 1-2 Tablespoons oil.  Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Put in the oven to broil.  Remove the peppers when the edges start to blacken.  Set aside.

Dice onion and tomatoes.  Mince garlic.  

In a soup pot, heat 1-2 Tablespoons of oil.  Saute the onions, tomatoes and garlic until the onions are tender and translucent.  

Add chicken broth, spices, and roasted peppers.  Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until the texture is uniform with no chunks.  Taste and add salt to taste.

Serve with grilled cheese croutons, if desired.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Perfect Pie Crust

So. Pie crust.  It's one of those things that only takes a few basic ingredients, but everyone has a slightly different recipe and it seems that for no reason at all, sometimes the crust turns out and sometimes... well, it doesn't.  (Hard and tough?  Doughy and droopy?  And how in the world do you

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spinach Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

So, what you need to understand about my dad is that he is a hobby guy.  He collects hobbies.  At various times his hobbies have included:  kite-making, leather working, silk-screening, wooden boat restoration, and..... cooking.  We went through a period at our house where there were a whole lot of

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Cookies

Today is Anzac Day!  Before I explain Anzac Day to non-south-of-the-equator people, let me first apologize to my aussie/kiwi readers for calling these cookies and not biscuits.  I'm American.  I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't make myself type "biscuit".  I understand under Australian law I am

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Which Came First" Chicken-Egg Salad Spread

Once in awhile, you see something or try something and you just have this moment of "duh, that's so obvious, why haven't I ever thought of that?" (if you have never experienced that kind of moment, go

Friday, April 4, 2014

Homemade Snickers

So, at our house, we no longer purchase anything made in Russia.  We are boycotting Russian goods because we don't want to put any kopecks in the pockets of the people who have their soldiers

Monday, March 17, 2014

Seriously Amazing Mini Chicken Pot Pies

So what does your meal planning look like when a possible Russian invasion is imminent?  Well, something that you fix today, while things are calm, that you can later pull out of a freezer with minimal fuss and thinking.  'Cause you may have other things on your mind at that point.

So today I made a batch of lovely mini Chicken pot pies.  Each pie is a hearty single serving.  Just

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coconut Panna-Cotta with Blueberry Red-Wine Sauce

Ok, I know what you're thinking.  "Wow, that sounds fancy! And too complicated/time-consuming to bother with actually making..."  

To answer that:  yes, it sounds fancy.  No, it's really not too complicated or time-consuming to bother making.   And so impressive!  Especially if you serve it in fancy-pants champagne flutes. The panna cotta actually is made ahead of time, since it needs to chill, so you can make this the day before a nice dinner and pull these luxurious desserts out of the fridge with a flourish (do you know how to pull

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cherry Ripe Slice

My husband is originally from Australia, and so I have been introduced to lots of Australian people, phrases, bizarre animals, foods, and cultural differences during the last several years.

One of my favorites is a candy bar called a "Cherry Ripe".  It has a coconut and cherry filling, and is

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

As a missionary, going out to a restaurant to eat is a supreme luxury, usually only reserved for birthdays or visiting guests.  Several years ago, the options in Kiev were very limited.  One of my favorites back then was Tequila House.  In a small corner of the oldest neighborhood of Kiev (my favorite neighborhood), this little establishment was the place we went to celebrate.

Prices were cheap by American standards, but such a huge expense compared to our normal grocery budget that it felt like throwing caution to the wind to place an order.  And as long as you were in that frame of mind, you might as well order the "Macho Chimichanga" -- the largest, most filling entree

Monday, December 9, 2013

Homemade Frango Chocolates

Things I miss about Christmas in Seattle:  White Christmas lights on all the trees downtown.  The Bon Star.   The carousel at Westlake.  The live piano music at Nordstroms.  The Nutcracker by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Having an order of Ivar's clams during a break in Christmas shopping.  The way Christmas lights in the neighborhood looked on foggy nights.  And Frango chocolates in the hexagonal boxes.

Frango chocolate candies were originally made and sold by Frederick and Nelson's department store in Seattle.  They have become something of an iconic treat in the northwest (and I hear, in the

Monday, November 18, 2013

Apple Yam Side Dish

Growing up, Thanksgiving meant all the extended relatives gathering at my grandparents' house, everybody packed into the small space, bunking on hide-a-beds, couches or sleeping bags on the