Monthly Archives: November 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

Sometimes, my apartment is the place where tomatoes go to die. I buy them, forget about them, and the slowly grow old, wrinkling away in their clamshell package until I’m utterly baffled about what I can do with them.

And then I had a brainwave (triggered in no small part by a recipe I saw over at 101 Cookbooks and then combined with an article from one issue out of my random collection of Cook’s Illustrated): why not roast them and make them into a soup? Then it doesn’t matter if they’re wrinkled. Or if they are wintry supermarket tomatoes that have virtually no flavour. Roasting will take care of both problems, especially the lack of flavour aspect as their summery, tomato flavour will intensify in the oven. Throw a couple of garlic cloves in with the tomatoes while they roast and add a hint of buttery, roasted garlic flavour to the soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup

The first time I made this, there was a tomato emergency. The collection I had was rapidly going south and was going to have to be tossed soon if I didn’t figure out something to do with them. Of course, since I was just playing around in the kitchen, I didn’t bother documenting the process.

The soup was full of flavour and velvety smooth. It was definitely a keeper.

A civilized lunch

The second time I made the soup, it was almost as good, but I’m going to suggest not using as much stock as I did this round. The first soup, which only had about two cups of stock, had a much more intense tomato flavour, which is what made the soup so great. The second one, I used three cups of stock. The tomato flavour was duller and I won’t be doing that again.

Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

Diced Onion

Soup in blender from above

In the blender

Soup from the side

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • Six or seven tomatoes, cut in half or quarters depending on their size
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • one onion, diced
  • four cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup brandy, optional
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup cream, milk or half-and-half
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size, and lay cut side up in a roasting pan. Throw in unpeeled garlic cloves amongst the tomatoes. Drizzle everything with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the tomatoes and garlic have started to caramelize.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat, then add the diced onion and saute until transluscent — about four or five minutes. Add brandy, if using, and cook for another minute or two. Add sugar, then stock. Bring to low boil.

Remove paper skins from garlic, then add the tomatoes and garlic into the pot with the stock. Let cook for a few minutes. Pour everything into blender and whiz until velvety smooth. Add cream or milk and whiz for another minute. Taste for seasonings. (Since there is salt on the tomatoes and in the stock, I advise waiting until the end before seasoning because you may not need to add anything.)

One-Cup Cookies

I’m not sure if these are a Prairie phenomenon or if it’s coincidence that I had never heard of them before moving to Calgary.

But they showed up in the newsroom one day, courtesy of a fellow reporter, and I was intrigued. Not quite oatmeal, not quite chocolate chip, not quite peanut butter, these One-Cup Cookies are like the best combination of cookies. The baker offered up a pair of recipes to try, but they essentially boil down to the simplest of formulas: one cup of everything. (OK, obviously not the leaveners.)

Stack of One-Cup Cookies

The main difference between the two recipes is the amount of peanut butter. One calls for a cup of the stuff, the other only 3/4 of a cup. After trying both (several times), I’ve decided I like the one with less peanut butter. The taste is barely noticeable, but adds just another dimension to these cookies.

The best thing about this recipe is that it’s infinitely adaptable. Add nuts, seeds, raisins as you see fit. Don’t like cranberries? Don’t add them. Don’t want your kids hopped up on chocolate? Omit the chips. And so on.

I love the addition of cranberries, though. The play of sweet chocolate against the tang of the slightly tart of the dried fruit is really nice.

Like all cookies, the trick to keeping these chewy is to pull them out of the oven, while they’re still slightly puffed and gooey looking in just the centre. They’ll keep cooking from the residual heat even after you pull them out, but won’t get overly crisp.

Chips and Coconut

The ingredient trio

One-Cup Cookie Dough

One-Cup Cookies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup rolled outs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs. Add peanut butter, then dry ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges are golden but middles are still slightly gooey looking. Let rest on cookie sheet for a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack.