Heirloom Tomato Soup

I love getting my monthly Metropolitan Market coupon in the mail. I get really excited when I actually remember to put it in my purse, use it and save myself some cash! This week’s offer was a free pound of heirloom tomatoes. This coincided with Marin Mama’s Weekly Dinner Menu for August 3rd. She posted a recipe for Heirloom Tomato Soup which she calls her family’s “FAVORITE soup ever!” OK, that’s some persuasive language. Coupon + rave recipe = my Heirloom Tomato Soup fate was sealed.

No joke, this soup is perfection, rave-worthy, and unlike most tomato soups, no cream necessary. Pretty and delish, this little gem would be a lovely starter for your summer dinner party. Heirloom tomatoes are in season from August until early October, so now is the perfect time to make yourself a big batch. I wish I would have doubled this and put some in the freezer (or just gone on a massive soup bender and eaten it all this week). I will definitely be making this again! Another brilliant creation from Marin Mama Jackie!

Heirloom Tomato Soup – courtesy of Marin Mama Cooks

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided – you will use 1/4 cup twice in the recipe
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (Jackie’s recipe calls for the garlic microplaned, but it’s all being puréed, so I didn’t see the need for the microplaning)
  • 5 overripe heirloom tomatoes (any color), cored and large chunked
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

Prep all your ingredients.  Wash your herbs, chop up your onion and core and chop your tomatoes into large chunks.

Take your bunch of basil, your 4 sprigs of thyme and 4 sprigs of oregano or marjoram, and tie them up together with some kitchen twine.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil, the diced onion and herb bunch in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium low heat, until the onion is soft, tender and translucent, but not browned.  You’re basically sweating the onion here.

Stir in the garlic and quickly add the tomatoes and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes are broken down.  Make sure you occasionally stir the tomatoes.

Remove the herbs.  Stir in the 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and the in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn off the heat.

Puree the soup either using a hand held immersion blender or a regular blender. If you’re using a blender, return the soup to the pot after your puree it. (Lynne’s Note – I used my immersion blender and found that it wasn’t quite smooth enough, so I threw it in the blender. This worked much better, but I had to do two batches.)

Keep warm until ready to serve.

I served with another seasonal fave, sautéed zucchini with garlic and red pepper flakes. A light, summer dinner, and it’s even vegan! A real shocker for this meat/dairy lover. So, so good.

Summer Dinner

Green Bean Salad

If you can’t tell, I love a good salad. You can never have enough salad recipes. This green bean salad is pretty awesome. Love the combination of toasted walnuts, fresh green beans and vinaigrette – plus it was really pretty! Would be delish to add a little feta or goat cheese in as well if that’s your bag. Green beans are prefect this time of year and I have my favorite little sous chef to help me break the ends off, when he’s not eating them, that is.

Sous Chef Oliver

I found this easy Ellie Krieger recipe on Foodnetwork.com (I doubled her recipe below, I don’t think 1/2 lb green beans would really serve 4 people). Served with halibut and walnut pesto and quinoa. Lovely summer meal.

Green Bean Salad

courtesy of Ellie Krieger
Serves 4
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves (I left this out, didn’t miss it)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature

If you love green beans as much as we do, you’re gonna love this salad!

 

 

My Sh*tty Dinner – Defeated by a Rump Roast

I consider myself to be a pretty decent cook. For the most part, I follow recipes and it all works very well. I am choosy about the recipes I pick, I only make stuff with a 4+ star rating. I read the reviews carefully and take the other comments into consideration before I make a dish. I am a thoughtful cook.

GFY Rump Roast  Rump Roast Dinner - it looks pretty

This doesn’t happen to me very often, but last night’s dinner was an abysmal failure. Like really, really bad. That roast beef was such a disaster, I had to throw it away. I hate throwing food away. I had visions of choking, this beef was so tough. I tried to get Oliver to eat it (after cutting it into the smallest pieces ever) and he said he didn’t like the “crunchy” meat. Yeah, I don’t blame you honey. Me either. He also didn’t like the rice. He loves rice! Part of the reason I made this recipe was the rice! It was long grain, white rice cooked in chicken stock, butter and salt – I mean, what’s wrong with that? It was actually pretty good, especially with the gravy from the roast, which did turn out deliciously. But he wouldn’t eat it. He did however, eat the roasted kale, so I got that goin for me.

Look, I’m sure the recipe is actually great, I just totally f’ed it up. I think things broke down with the cooking time/temp. The recipe called for cooking a 3 – 3.5lb rump roast at 275° for 1.5 – 2 hours, until the internal temperature reached 130°. I bought a smaller roast, 2.5 lbs, used my oven’s temp probe, and made the decision to cook at 325° (other roast recipes cook at that temp, it wasn’t that crazy) since it was getting a little later than I anticipated. The internal temp got to 130 in about 40 minutes, but the meat was clearly just not done and I had to continue putting it back in the oven. Meat no worky.

Please, please send me a recipe for your favorite Sunday roast. I need help. I figure I should be honest with you about the failures so you know I don’t just say everything I cook is amazing. It ain’t and this wasn’t. Just keepin it real.

 

 

Easy Weeknight Dinner – Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

How do you guys feel about the end of support for Windows XP? Do you want to hear my thoughts on getting people to migrate to Windows 8? Oh, wait, you don’t care about that because it’s not interesting. At all. Well, actually it is to me, but that’s because I’m a geek. And it’s my job. Right now, that’s what’s taking up my head space. That and when will I be able to stop stressing about my new house/move?! I haven’t had a ton of time to cook, but decided I needed to make something last night and found this little beauty of a recipe. This dinner took 30 minutes from start to finish.

I am a huge fan of parmesan chicken strips, I’ve tried several recipes. This one was new to me, but super easy and delish, the difference was coating the chicken in buttermilk and letting it sit. I served with sautéed asparagus and roasted kale – I am trying to do 2 veggies instead of 1 veggie and 1 starch, at least sometimes. I made 2lbs of the chicken tenders, thinking Oliver would love it. He ate one bite. Now I have 1.5lbs of chicken to get through in 2 days. Anyone want to come for dinner? I’m serving leftovers! I have been thinking of creative ways to use and think it would make for a really good kale chicken Caesar salad. I think I’ll do that for dinner tomorrow.

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders

modified slightly from Giada De Laurentiis recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup  buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 18)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated  Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup Panko

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over each of 2 heavy large lined baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs, S & P in a pie dish. Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the baking sheets, I used parchment paper to cover the sheets, spacing evenly. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken tenders and bake until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer the chicken tenders to a platter and serve.