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Posts Tagged ‘quick’

As a child, my mom would often open a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup for lunch.  Served with a toasted cheesie, there was nothing quite so quick and appealing for lunch.  While I have long found canned soup to be overly salty, I still often find myself craving a warm bowl of tomato soup.  My dilemma has been finding the right tomato soup – I haven’t been overly impressed by the soups either canned, jarred, or boxed on offer at the grocery store.

My roommate recently shared a secret with me: making homemade tomato soup is easy.  Her secret is using a jar of canned soup to add a touch of sweetness to this super simple yet delicious soup.  Since she shared the recipe, I’ve made it a few times and it’s never taken me more than 20 minutes.   And it’s super easy to build on: for a creamy rendition, simply stir in some cream or to give it a little zing, stir in some pesto.

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper
 
 

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

(serves ~4 large bowls)

 

Ingredients

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 28 oz can of diced or whole tomatoes, drained

1 jar of roasted red peppers

750 mL of chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional add ins: herbes de provance, cream, pesto, grated cheddar cheese)

 

Directions

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth.  Bring all soup ingredients to a boil, and allow to simmer for ~10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the stove and allow to cool slightly.  Blend with a hand-held food processor or in a blender until smooth.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. It’s great as is, or considering topping of the soup with some of your favourite finishers: handful of chopped fresh herbs, a little cream, some grated cheese, or a piece of toast.
 
Bon appetit!

– Catherine

 

 

 

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I mentioned we’re working on emptying our pantry, and the result is big baking extravaganzas every so often when the weather cools off enough to justify heating up the oven.

Ice cream sandwiches have been a favourite easy dessert of mine for a long time now. They can easily be made according to your schedule: you can make the cookies or buy the cookies; you can make the ice cream or buy the ice cream, or use any permutation in between. Just as long as you have a bit of time to soften the ice cream and then give it a good freeze again, you’re in for a treat!

Ingredients – 8 ice cream sandwiches

16 cookies (plus a few more for snacking on during prep if you’re that type of cook)

1 batch ice cream or one tub (maple-walnut or your favourite flavour from the store)

Directions

Let ice cream soften a bit (leave it out for 10-15 minutes depending on how cold your freezer is). Place cookies in the freezer in the meantime.

When cookies are frozen and ice cream is softened, use a spoon to scoop some ice cream onto one cookie, and slap another cookie onto the other end! It’s that easy. Place in a tupperware container and re-freeze for another hour or so, so they don’t squish everywhere when you serve them to your guests/friends/children!

Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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The last of the apples I picked in September are starting to become snowy, so I decided to transform the apples into something baked.  I’ve been inkling for muffins, and since oatmeal muffins are near my favourites (must be the Scot coming out in me), I decided to search the Internet for some not-to-sweet apple oatmeal muffins.  In the end, I tweaked a recipe that boasted to be “very comforting and old-fashioned”.  I substituted almond milk for regular milk, upped the apple content, and added a few extra spices.  The end muffin was lovely – gently spiced, but not too sweet and it was nice and moist: a perfect breakfast or afternoon snack.

Apple Oatmeal Spice Muffins

(makes 12 large, 16 medium muffins)

 

Ingredients:

2 eggs

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup brown sugar (+ 2 tbsp extra for a crumble topping)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder (yes, that’s not a typo, tablespoon)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp extra

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 tart apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and fill 12 muffin or tins with medium sized muffin cups.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ground spices). In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Whisk in the milk and oil, stirring until just blended.  Gently fold in the dry ingredients followed by the apples. Spoon batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly among the cups.

Combine the reserved brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffin tops. Bake in a preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.  A delicious breakfast or mid-afternoon snack!

Bon appetit!

Catherine

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With last week’s heat wave in Toronto, I thought I should share a recipe I happily discovered in Belize. Sorry it’s a week late, but then again, it might not be too late. In Belize, people know how to deal with extreme temperatures – at least 45 by day, and maybe a lucky 35 by night, for two weeks non-stop while I was there.

No one has A/C. But they do take an afternoon siesta in a shady hammock. They also eat really, really spicy food, and drink this most amazingly refreshing beverage: watermelon juice. In that heat, I found I couldn’t even think. I stayed in the shade, in front of a fan if I was lucky, and I drank glasses of this wonderful beverage one after the other. Somehow, I adapted well, and I learned to appreciate the new layout of my day, from 5am till 9am, then from 4pm till 10pm. The rest? Laying down, having a rest.

Watermelon juice

(3-4 pint-sized servings)

Ingredients

-1/2 a large, ripe watermelon
-2-3 ice cubes per person
-sugar to taste (only if watermelon is not sweet enough)
-1 cup water
(optional: add the juice of one lemon and 2 Tbsp sugar)

Directions

Taste watermelon to ensure it is ripe enough. Cut it up into cubes, and remove any large seeds. Place the watermelon, ice, and water in a blender (I like to do it in 2 batches, with half the water, ice, and half the melon). Purée until smooth, and serve in a tall glass.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

-Sitelle

 

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With spring just around the corner, snow drops popping up out of the thawing ground, I can’t help but feel optimistic these days.  As I walk though the streets, people smile and take their time outside.  I love this change in attitude.

As spring rolls in, my tuber-rich, squash and cabbage-filled winter menu starts feeling repetitive.  The only issue here in Toronto is there’s a mismatch between spring and the first veggies (Toronto warms up faster than the surrounding agricultural land due to the urban heat-island effect).  This mismatch means I have extreme cravings for asparagus that I have to control for a whole other month before I can find some from around here.  Why do you tempt me so, asparagus from another continent?  Ontario produces more asparagus than it can handle (perhaps that is a challenge), and I am keeping all the space I have for it when it arrives in bursting bunches.  Bring it on.

All that is to say the light spring air is turning my cravings towards simple and light dishes.  This one can be made in less than 10 minutes, and is well worth it.  The gnocci, which can at times be on the heavy side, are well complemented with a light summery dressing.

Ingredients – 4 lunch servings

-1 package potato gnocci
-1/2 a shallot, really finely sliced
-basil leaves from 4-5 stalks, minced
-juice from 1/2 a lemon
-zest from 1/2 a lemon
-1 Tbsp capers, rinced
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, chop the shallot, mince the basil leaves, and zest the washed lemon.  Combine all the ingredients except the parmesan cheese and gnocci in a bowl and mix.  When the water is boiling, drop the gnocci in, and boil until they float.  This takes around 2 minutes.  Drain the gnocci, and toss in the dressing.  Serve with grated cheese.  Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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