Saturday, November 27, 2010

Foods That Make Ya Go... Mmmmmmm.

So, although we are willing to try new foods (ie, brussel sprouts which are now a FAVORITE at our table).  Some foods of "exotic" origin have been hard to pitch to my crew.  My mom isn't exactly an adventurous eater. She's really happy with a hot dog or a fried egg any day of the week, but doesn't love a lot of vegetables, nor a lot of proteins for that matter- she is however game for every starch and cheese we put out, but I have been in the mood to try some dishes that don't have cheese as their center point.

The kids like vegetables, but are random in what they will eat on any given day and Scott has to be in the right mood to try certain new foods.  So- I was very surprised that yesterday I got everyone on board to try Cody's Moroccan stew (which is really smitten kitchen's which was really Aida's... oi vey, it's the recipe version of whisper down the lane)...   ... anyhow- we tried it, and it was love at first bite,

for 4 out of 5 of us (the only reluctant one was the two year old, and honestly, she doesn't count and was busy stuffing her face with 3, yes, 3 clementines!)  Anyhow-- we really loved it.

It's also the first time I've convinced Scott to eat one of the orange foods (butternut squash in this case) happily. The man likes a carrot, but has been very ambivalent about squash, pumpkins or sweet potatoes, and in some cases, he just flat out refuses.  But-- this one-- he liked!!  We used parsley instead of cilantro, threw in some lovely little green olives that we found at our Safeway, and added some hot sauce at the end.  Just makes ya go mmmmmmmm.

Thanks Cody, and thanks to the whole country of Morocco for finding a way to make an orange food we love.  And thank you autumn for your inspiration, your crisp sunny days, and for being a beautiful transition season.  I love this time of year.  mmmmmmmm.... Tonight's agenda:  Cider with spiced rum.... mmmmm.  fall.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ireland, a Rainy Day, and Some Roasted Tomato Soup

November Rain... it's not just a pretty song--- it is a description of today.

The rain suits me.
I am often melancholy.
And I actually don't mind it unless I HAVE to do something in the POURING rain.. but short of that-- I don't mind it that much.
If Scott is mostly PA Dutch, well, I am mostly Irish (really I am mostly English with a little scotch irish a dash of German and a bunch of unnamed heinz 57 variety of mixed up stuff in my background-- but i LIKE the IRISH part).  Somehow I like to think my love of the rain, my being melancholy, and all of that fits with being Irish.
 I like castles, poetry, celtic music (love celtic music actually).
I like rainy a dark beer, religious peoples (Catholics AND Protestants)  and I love redheads (I gave birth to one and damn it, I am a redhead if not naturally then by choice and that should count!)....
 I love an irish whiskey (in a coffee please).
And I am loving that we will most likely be going to Ireland next summer to a peacemaking community called Corrymeela.  Yay all things Irish.

I felt like making something Irish, but I also wanted soup... That ruled out Irish pie type things that we might have had today... hmmm what could we make?
...I do not like lamb stews, though that seems like it would be best for a day like today...
if I really wanted to claim that Irish thing I would just cope and make the lamb stew.
Instead I will steal a recipe from another Irish American and adapt it to what we love to eat here at "Chez Crazyhouse".

So-- Bobby Flay's tomato soup recipe, and an old recipe we stole from Tyler Florence have married in my kitchen and are now a new Roasted Tomato Soup that suits us.  Which will go perfectly with grilled cheese with Bacon. And with the incredible Magners Irish Cider that a lovely goddess gave me at work.  She's Episcopal, which means she fall right in between the Catholics and the Protestants.  God bless her and her cider loving ways...

Here's what's in the soup:


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (or in our case, two cans of plum tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart veggie or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

And here's the directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. (or in my case, open the can and rinse off the seeds) Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves, carrots and onions onto a baking tray.  Drizzle with up to 1/2 cup of olive oil (we used a little less) and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic, carrot and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add the stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to aboil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Wash basil leaves and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with either more stock or cream, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with  a little olive oil or a splash of heavy cream or with  your favorite grilled cheese or a little bacon. Whatever suits ya!

mmmmm..... thank you Tyler Florence and Bobby Flay... much love to you both from Chez Crazyhouse.