Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ho Ho Ho ROTD: a GREAT Soup Recipe!

Happy Saturday morning!

Okay, who else besides me is s-l-o-g-g-i-n-g through the Great Holiday To-Do List this weekend! :-)

DH is away on a quick guys' junket with friends, so my trusty sidekick Eddie and I are holding down the fort here at Casa UNC, and we're in full-on decorating mode.  Being an interfaith family we gear up for Hanukkah and Christmas, and since Hanukkah came early this year those decorations have gone up and come down already.  I am way behind schedule decorating for Christmas, though, since I lost an entire week right after Thanksgiving snuffling around feeling crummy with a wicked head cold.

But Eddie and I are making good progress and we've got our system down.  I decorate and he watches and occasionally chuffs and yarfs with an approving opinion.  The Christmas candles are in the windows, I've made my wreath, hung it on the front door and rigged up our spotlight for it, and a family of lighted reindeer are festively grazing in our front yard.  Oh, and the tree is patiently waiting, naked but fragrant, in its stand until DH gets home tomorrow -- he'll string the lights and we'll put the ornaments on together.  God bless my adorable Jewish hubby, who gets such a sweet kick out of decorating a Christmas tree!  I'm taking a break shortly to have lunch and hit Kohl's (her fave place) with one of my best BFFs from high school.  It's a holiday Saturday tradition for us and I can't wait!  Later on, today's remaining projects are a mantel and the banisters/balusters on the staircase.  Pictures coming soon!

Instead of an OOTD (I'm in schleppy clothes right now and am changing for lunch into an outfit y'all have seen), I thought I'd post a ROTD -- Recipe of the Day.  This is a fantastic and truly insanely simple Rachael Ray soup.  The picture at left shows it garnished with Rachael's homemade Cheese and Herb Puffs, which I haven't tried, but I'll post that recipe for you, too -- they look yum-o, as she would say!

This soup was really good the day I made it, but 24 hours in the fridge made a HUGE difference to the depth of flavor.  I served it with turkey sandwiches and a simple green salad -- so homey and delicious!  And by the way, it's not a thick soup -- it's hearty, but it's one that you could sip in a mug if you wanted to.  Another yum-o idea.

Hope you enjoy, everyone!  Ho Ho Ho!!!

Rachael Ray's Roasted Garlic and Roasted Tomato Soup
Link to video of Rachael making this
  • 2 heads garlic
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 plum or Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise (I used a whole container of Campari tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley (To this, I added 2 Tsp dried Italian herbs mixture)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large can Italian tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (I used a large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes; Muir Glen would be good, too)
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics chicken stock)
  • A generous handful of basil, shredded or torn
  • I used Low-Sodium stock and regretted that b/c the finished product tasted a little flat to me, so I added 1 heaping tsp "Better Than Bouillon" chicken-flavored bouillon.
Yields:  Serves 4.

For roasted garlic:  Preheat oven to 425° F.
With a very sharp knife, cut the top (pointy) ends off the heads of garlic, drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap them in foil and roast til soft, 40-45 minutes. 

If you've got one oven, this can be done ahead of time -- just keep the garlic wrapped in foil and set it aside on your countertop.  If you have two ovens, you can roast the garlic and tomatoes at the same time (on separate timers!)

For roasted tomatoes:  Preheat oven (or reduce heat in oven if you've just finished roasting the garlic in your single oven) to 300° F.  Arrange the 24 halves of tomatoes on a cooking rack set on a baking sheet, so heat can circulate around the tomatoes.  Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, pepper and your herbs of choice.  Roast for 2 hours.

While the garlic and tomatoes are roasting, sauté the chopped onion in EVOO (one turn around the pan) until soft and caramelized slightly, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

From here, you have two prep options:
  1. EITHER:  Unwrap garlic and squeeze the cloves out of the paper husks (it should come right out very easily.)  Discard husks.  Place roasted garlic cloves, 1/2 to 3/4 of the roasted tomatoes, the onions and the canned tomatoes into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and purée until smooth.  Pour this tomato base into a pot with the chicken or veggie stock and stir to combine, then heat through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  (I used quite a bit of black pepper as we like a little "bite".)
  2. OR:  Unwrap garlic and squeeze the cloves out of the paper husks (it should come right out very easily.)  Discard husks.  Place roasted garlic cloves, 1/2 to 3/4 of the roasted tomatoes, the onions and the canned tomatoes directly into a pot with the chicken or veggie stock, and use an immersion blender (I call mine my "boat motor") to combine and puree, then heat through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, chop remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into soup to give the soup some texture. Serve in shallow bowls. Garnish with Cheese and Herb Puffs or fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and additional chopped fresh or dried herbs.  Great with grilled cheese or turkey sandwiches and a simple salad alongside!

Rachael Ray's Cheese and Herb Puffs
Link to video of Rachael making this
  • 1 cup water 
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
Yields: Makes 24-30 puffs
Preheat oven to 400º F.
In a medium saucepot over medium-high heat, combine water, butter and salt.  Heat until butter has melted and water is boiling.

Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Stir until mixture begins to create a dough ball in the center of the pot and the dough is completely pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl well after each addition and beating until the bowl feels cool (the mixture should be very smooth and silky).  Add in the herbs and cheese after the last addition of the eggs.

Transfer the mixture to a large Baggie and cut half an inch off of one corner to create a pastry bag.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, squeeze the mixture into small rounds and bake until golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. (If you're not into piping, I think you could also easily create small rounds by hand, simply using a teaspoon and WET hands.) 

Rachael says:  These can be made a day or two ahead of time and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  If they feel soggy when you take them out, pop them into a 400º F oven for a couple of minutes until they crisp up again.


1 comment:

  1. It sure is the perfect time for soup, isn't it? I made some white chicken chili the other night (will be doing a recipe post later!) and it was incredible. There's really nothing better than hot soup on a cold night! Thanks for sharing :)


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