My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.
It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!
Shrimp & Tomato Bisque
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
- 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
- About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
- 2 cups fat free half & half
- 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
- To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs
- Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
- Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
- Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
- Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.
I’ve had some really good salsas lately that were fire roasted, so I decided to try making some. The key to making a fire roasted salsa is to roast the vegetables on the grill. The “fire” from the grill gives the salsa a delectable smoky flavor. (Okay, it’s really smoke from the coals that adds the smoky flavor, not fire, but “smoke roasted salsa” just doesn’t have the right ring to it …)
It’s very simple to do, really, but it makes for such a delightful-tasting salsa. So the next time you fire up the grill, I suggest tossing some peppers, tomatoes and onions on there and make up a fire roasted salsa. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious condiment to go with a good quesadilla (like this chipotle black bean quesadilla with avocado cream I made the other day), tacos, eggs, and so much more … I really love a good salsa and always have some homemade salsa in my fridge. This fire roasted salsa has totally won my heart. Strangely, it’s the simpler red one that I love the most, although the hearty Adobo salsa with cilantro and white beans is also lovely in its own chunky way. They each have their own personality, so to speak, just like sisters.
Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)
For this salsa, I peeled the tomatoes and peppers after grilling them, resulting in a brilliant fire-red colored salsa.
- 4 whole hot chili peppers (use more or less depending on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your salsa. Mine were super-hot and a brilliant red color!)
- 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
- 1 onion, cut in fourths (skin on!)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat up the grill and put the chili peppers, tomatoes, and onion directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill and let the vegies cool off until they are cool enough to touch. Pull the skins off the tomato and peppers and onion and discard the skins.
- Put the peeled vegies into a blender or food processor and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. If you want a smoother salsa, puree in the blender/food processor to your liking. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
Adobo Fuego Salsa (Adobo Fire Salsa)
When I made this salsa, I didn’t peel the peppers after roasting. The charred bits of skin add a bit of extra smoky flavor to the salsa.
- 2 large garden tomatoes
- 2 – 7 jalapeno peppers (adjust the number of peppers for how hot you want your salsa … if you want a very mild salsa, use bell pepper in place of the jalapeno)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 -3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cooked white beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- A few sprigs of cilantro (just the leaves, not the stems)
- Heat up the grill and put the jalapenos, onion and tomato directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
- Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill. Do NOT peel the peppers, but do pull the peel off the tomato and onion.
- Put the tomato, jalapeno, and onion into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
This is the sandwich I made with the Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade.
It is simply delicious and it’s something you can totally make in a rush. If you’ve got the tapenade in your fridge, the sandwich comes together in a few minutes. All you need is a whole wheat bun, some turkey, sweet onion, fresh garden tomato and some extra sharp white cheddar cheese. If you have a couple large basil leaves that is an excellent finishing touch.
I had about 30 minutes between errands and my daughter’s dance class last weekend to make myself and her something to eat. This is what I made for ME because while I had fed the kids breakfast, I ran out of time to feed myself, so by lunchtime I was starving. In a rush, I started grabbing things from the fridge and this was what became of it.
I managed to snap a few photos somehow before I chowed it down and ran out the door to get my girl to her dance class.
Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt
For each sandwich (two halves):
- 1 whole wheat bun, sliced in half, lightly toasted
- Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade (recipe here)
- Thinly sliced sweet onion
- A couple very thin slices natural smoked turkey
- A slice or two of fresh garden tomato for each side
- Slices of extra sharp white cheddar cheese
- A couple large fresh basil leaves (or several smaller ones)
- Slice each half of the bun with a good layer of roasted pepper tomato tepenade.
- Set it on a baking sheet, then arrange several thin slices of sweet onion on top of the tepenade.
- Cover with the thin slices of smoked turkey and then a slice or two of tomato (whatever fits!). Top the tomato with a couple slices of white cheddar cheese.
- Bake at 400 until the cheese is good and hot and bubbly and melty.
- Top with a couple fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!
This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures, Friday Food Fight and All my Bloggy Friends.
My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …
I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.
I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!
I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!
Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade
The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.
- 1 medium fresh garden tomato
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 4 tomatillos
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- A couple sprigs of tarragon
- A few fresh basil leaves
- 1 – 2 tablespoons capers
- Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
- Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
- Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
- Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.
This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.
It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.
For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.
Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”
This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
- 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
- 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
- 1 roma tomato
- About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
- A splash of wine (or water)
- About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
- About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
- To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
- Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
- Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
- Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
- Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
- Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.
on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese
Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.
So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.
A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.
Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.
- 1 egg
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
- Several slices of Gouda cheese
- Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
- Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
- Sliced fresh garden tomato
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
- Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
- While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.
This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Favorites, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.
with Great Northern Beans & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing
Have you ever made something once and thought “it’s good, but it really ought to be better?” Yeah, that’s what happened here. The first time I made it I used a great big eggplant and I tried cooking it on the grill. Except my coals ran out of heat and the eggplant didn’t get properly cooked and it was this awful rubbery texture. I ended up picking all of the eggplant out of my salad that night and just eating the tomatoes with the corn and bread … not that that was a BAD thing, it was quite delightful that way. I just hated wasting the lovely eggplant …
So: take 2. This time I used a couple of my fairy tale eggplant. If you’ve not seen fairy tale eggplant, they are those tiny purple eggplant that look SO adorable because they are about finger sized or a little bigger, maybe half my hand size? You never have to peel them or salt them because their skins are perfectly tender and they are never bitter. If you’re inexperienced with eggplant, fairy tale eggplant are a good place to start. This time was definitely better … but something was missing … oh my gosh! the corn! I totally forgot the corn. Okay, so I went and grabbed some corn from the freezer, cooked it up and added it … ah! much better!
Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad
Adapted from Williams Sonoma. For one hearty serving or two small “sides”:
- 2-4 fairy tale eggplant (about 1/2 cup after roasting/chopping)
- 1 cup fresh garden tomato, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained
- 1/2 cup cooked corn, drained
- 2 slices of sweet onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes (about 1 inch in size … or smaller … to your liking)
- A few fresh basil & tarragon leaves
- A few roasted sunflower seeds
- Tahini yogurt ranch dressing (recipe below)
- Slice the fairy tale eggplant lengthwise in 1/2-inch slices. (You can use other eggplant in place of Fairy Tale, but you may need to peel them first.) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set the eggplant on the baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt or Red Robin Seasoning. Roast the eggplant in the oven or toaster oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
- While the eggplant are cooking, chop the tomato and onion and heat the white beans and corn up. Also, set the bread cubes on another oiled baking sheet and let them toast in the oven for the last few minutes of the eggplant roasting or until the cubes are lightly browned and toasted.
- Chop the eggplant into bite-size chunks. In your salad bowl, toss the eggplant, tomato, corn and onion till well mixed. Gently fold in the toasted bread cubes, drizzle with tahini ranch dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.
Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
- 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.
In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.