Thursday, October 15, 2015

Roasted Tomato Soup

I'm not a soup person. Actually, I'm not a hot liquids person. I don't drink coffee or tea, I don't really like hot chocolate and I can take or leave soup. On second thought, I take that back. I like soup in small amounts, as a side dish or appetizer, but soup as a main dish doesn't do it for me. There are very few soup recipes I'll make more than once.

Roasted tomato soup

But this roasted tomato soup from my friend Cassie (who appears to have stopped blogging - what's up with that, Cassie?) is definitely going on the short list. Not only is it easy to make, it's delicious. The tomato flavor really shines and roasting the tomatoes gives them a wonderful depth of flavor. I served it with grilled cheese (duh) and salad and enjoyed every bite.

Roasted Tomato Soup
As seen on Cassie Craves, adapted from Tyler Florence

2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the tomatoes, remove the cores and cut them in half (or into quarters if they're particularly large). Spread the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all the tomatoes evenly, then roast for 30 minutes until caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the tomato skins and discard. Set aside until ready to make the soup.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until liquid has reduced by a third. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. You can also use a regular blender or food processor to do this - just be careful not to overfill either since the soup will be hot. Over low heat, add the half and half. Cook for 5 minutes, then taste the soup and add more salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary.
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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Guacamole

These turkey burgers were a happy accident. See, the plan had been to make my friend Jaida's Turkey Tikka Burgers. I've been thinking about them since she posted the recipe and I couldn't wait to try them. Unfortunately, both the curry paste and mango chutney available in our supermarket weren't safe for Baby Girl since they might contain nuts. Phooey.

Turkey burger with guacamole

Not to be deterred, I looked for a replacement recipe and remembered that I'd been wanting to try this recipe for JalapeƱo Cheddar Chicken Burgers with Guacamole that a lot of my favorite bloggers made a couple of years ago. I happened to have everything but the jalapeno, which was fine because Baby Girl doesn't like spicy food.

These were absolutely outstanding. SP said, "this couldn't possibly be a turkey burger. Turkey burgers are dry and flavorless. This is incredible." And Baby Girl gave them two thumbs way up as she inhaled her dinner. I only had one pound of turkey and I graciously allowed SP to take the leftover patty to work today (grumble, grumble) but that just means I need to make them again soon.

Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Guacamole
Slightly modified from What's Gabby Cooking, seen on Annie's Eats

For the burgers:
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (or chicken)
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

To serve:
Burger buns

To make the burgers, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix lightly until evenly combined. Form the mixture into 4-5 patties.

Preheat an outdoor grill and oil the grates. Or, you can cook these on a grill pan or non-stick skillet indoors. Coat whichever pan you're using with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Cook the patties 3-4 minutes per side, flipping once. A few minutes before the burgers are finished cooking, top with shredded cheddar cheese. Remove the burgers to a plate and let rest a few minutes before serving.

Place one burger on each bottom bun. Put guacamole and/or salsa on the top bun, or on the burger directly, and serve.

*Here's how I made the guacamole for this recipe:

2 ripe avocados
Juice from the other half of the lemon used in the burgers
Minced cilantro
Salt and pepper
A few spoonfuls of prepared salsa

Cut each avocado in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado and toss to coat. Add as much cilantro as you like then season with salt and pepper. Add some salsa and stir to combine. Taste and season as needed.
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