Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

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

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I apologize for the number of sweet recipes I’ve posted of late. I’ll admit I’ve got a fairly good excuse: I’ve just moved to a new place, so my kitchen is totally barren, I did not bring any cookbooks except one, I don’t have easy access to the internet, and perhaps most importantly I’ve moved somewhere where the grocery store carries only half of the things I would normally use (let’s face it, I am actually totally blown away by what I can find in the grocery store in Hay River, although I hear it gets pretty dreary in a few months after the fall vegetables start going bad).

I simply don’t have many of the ingredients necessary to cook interesting savoury dishes, whereas I can bake many, many things simply with flour, butter, and sugar, and the odd other exciting thing such as apples although that’s not necessary, just a perk.

This time, though, we decided to invest in a few more spices, one of them being chili seasoning. With the cold weather approaching, everyone’s cravings have gone towards stews and soups. I’ve had beans done countless ways since I arrived, many times accompanied with bannock. Yesterday, we sat down and made enough chili to last us for a few weeks. What I love about chili is that it’s easy to make and is flexible depending on whatever you might have laying around. What always challenges me, though, is that my pots, no matter how big, are never big enough.

Ingredients – one large pot of chili

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2-3 Tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (well rinced)
1 can chick peas (well rinced)
1 cup dry lima beans (soaked overnight and skins removed)
1/2 can crushed tomatoes

2 stalks celeri, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 mushrooms, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup pickle juice (Catherine’s trick)
2 tsp brown sugar

Directions

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid. When the oil is hot, cook the onions until they are soft and then add the garlic and spices. Stir, and once fragrant add in the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, add the beans, and finally, add the tomatoes. Increase heat a bit, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 20 or so minutes while you chop the remaining veggies. Add in the pickle juice, soy sauce, and the remaining veggies, as well as the sugar if you want to include it. Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours with the lid almost fully on, and serve alone, with bannock, toasted bread, or on a bed of rice. My favourite is to top it with shredded cheddar!

-Sitelle

Read Full Post »

 

With spring in the air, I am increasingly turning to salads for dinner.  One of my absolute favourites is black bean and corn salad. I love how quickly this salad can be assembled.  The sweet corn is a perfect complement to the wholesome beans, while the red pepper and onion add a flash of colour.  Best of all is the marinade of lime juice and cilantro – it allows the salad to burst with fresh flavour.

This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge, and it makes for delicious leftovers.  Have fun fiddling with the seasoning – depending on my mood, I will often sprinkle some chili or cumin powder over the salad or, for a smooth treat, dice in half an avacado.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 ounces) corn, rinsed and drained (or substitute frozen)

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped

A large handful of cherry tomatoes, slivered

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

Zest and juice from one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

A generous splash of olive oil, to taste

(OPTIONAL: one or more of the following, to your liking: hot sauce, additional cilantro, a few pinches of cumin or chile powder, half an avacadoo)

 

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to deepen.  Toss and serve. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

Read Full Post »

Quinoa is one of my favourite grains – deliciously nutty and flavourful.  When I learned awhile back that it was also a complete protein, it gave me the perfect excuse to eat it more frequently.  My father has been travelling in Switzerland, and arrived home on Sunday.  For a special welcome home dinner, I decided to make stuffed tomatoes and peppers along with a summer quinoa salad.

I threw together a few vegetables, including the first yellow tomatoes of the season, and copious amounts of fresh herbs (straight from our herb garden!) and mixed it with quinoa.  Feel free to add more vegetables to your heart’s content. I dressed the salad with a tangy lemony vinaigrette that set off the quinoa beautifully.   My family’s only complaint was that I should have made more for leftovers!

Quinoa salad is perfectly cool and refreshing on a hot summer's eve

Quinoa Summer Salad

(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 yellow and 1 red tomato, coarsely diced

A section of cucumber, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 can of corn, drained and rinsed

1/2 red pepper, minced

Handful of carrots, chopped

1/2 cup of a combination of coarsely chopped herbs such as parsley, basil, and chives

Olive oil

1 lemon

Small spoonful of Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to season

1 1/2 cups quinoa

2 1/2 cups broth

Directions:

Simmer the quinoa in the broth until cooked.  Set aside and allow to cool (or to cool quickly, rinse under cold water in fine sieve and allow to excess water to drain for a few minutes).

Add the chopped vegetables and herbs to a large salad bowl.  Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon together to form the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix the quinoa with the vegetables and dressing.  Toss to coat quinoa evenly.  Delicious served chilled!

Read Full Post »

For the last month, I have embarked on discovering vegetarain cuisine.  There have been some sure disasters (whoever said ketchup went well with tofu lives on Mars), and some absolute winners.  I’ve learned that vegetarian food at restaurants can be flavourful and juicy, or that it can be downright unappetizing and bland (not to mention impossible to find on a menu outside of a boring salad).  Unfortunately there is too much of the latter, and not nearly enough of the former.  I have discovered two vegetarian cookbooks on my shelf, and have picked out many more recipes for the upcoming months!

Tonight, on the last evening of my adventure, I wanted to cook a memorable dish.  Nothing beats the meatiness of Portobello mushrooms, the sweetness of a roasted tomato, or the freshness of basil.  Combined, this dish lingers beautifully in your mouth, the juices of the mushroom and tomato piqued by the basil.  To really showcase the Portobello caps, I chose to serve it over a simple bed of bulgur, but this would make a delicious burger that would turn the largest carnivore into a die-hard vegetarian!

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Pesto-Infused Tomatoes

(1 serving)

Ingredients:

A few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 Portobello mushroom caps

2 thick slices tomato

4 tablespoons pesto (https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/almond-romano-parsley-pesto/)

A few slices red onion

Drizzle olive oil

Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brush the mushrooms generously with balsamic vinegar, and place gill side-up on baking sheet.  Layer a tomato slice over the mushroom.  Spread the pesto overtop. Sprinkle the red onion slices on top of the pesto.  Drizzle a few drops of olive oil overtop.  Bake about 12-15 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices.  Delicious served over a bed of bulgur or on top of an arugula salad!

Read Full Post »


The snow is finally all gone in Halifax.  I saw crocuses in bloom today, a sure sign spring is coming.  There is nothing like pesto and asparagus to mark one’s excitement for spring!  (I confess that unlike Sitelle, I have given into the gorgeous looking and tasting asparagus from Mexico).  Pesto pasta is one of my absolutely favorite meals, and one can always count on roasted vegetables to brighten any pasta.  When produce is plentiful, grilling the veggies over the barbecue adds another level of complexity to the dish, but until summer hits, the oven does a respectable job.

This is another dish that uses, as my mother likes to call it, “the little white sauce”.  Like its namesake, this simple béchamel is the perfect versatile base for so many dishes: Add a few cups of cheddar for macaroni and cheese, mustard to make it devilish, or mushrooms and sherry for a delicious mushroom sauce.  Usually I have a few cubes of frozen pesto that I throw into the little white sauce, but tonight I used fresh – a delicate almond romano parsley pesto!

Pesto Pasta with Caremelized Onions, Roasted Asparagus, and Zucchini

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

Roasted Vegetables:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 zucchini, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

1 bunch asparagus, bottom part of stalk snapped off, cut into 2 inch segments

2 tomatoes, cut into eight wedges

Pesto Pasta:

300 grams whole wheat penne pasta

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 generous cup milk

Salt and Pepper

¼ cup pesto (https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/almond-romano-parsley-pesto/)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the veggies in the olive oil and garlic, and place on a tray.  Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil salted water, cook until al dente, and drain the pasta.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter and flour over medium heat.  Allow the roux to bubble for a few minutes, until almost fragrant.  Whisk in the milk and bring the sauce to a boil.  Simmer for two or three minutes, or until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the pesto, followed by the roast veggies and pasta.  Toss until the pesto sauce evenly coats the pasta.  Enjoy!

–       Catherine

Read Full Post »