Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Creamy Tomato Soup

I've never really cared for tomato soup.

Oh, it was fine if mixed into another more substantial soup or chili, but alone? No thanks.

It was just so.......boring. And plain. And tomatoey. (yes, that is an official word.)

Well, that might have been because the only tomato soup I had eaten was from a can.

So recently when Corban asked if I would make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch sometime, I decided to try my best to oblige him. But it had to be homemade - my stipulation, not his.

This was the first recipe I found, and since it sounded really good and simple, it was an easy choice.

It starts with a quick saute of onions and garlic in butter and olive oil, followed by the addition of a can of whole peeled tomatoes and a few spices. A bit of vegetable broth adds some volume and flavor as well. After being pureed in the blender, the finishing touch is a bit of heavy cream, adding some depth of richness and texture.

Delicious by itself, but even better with a grilled cheese sandwich dipped in, this soup pleased the whole family.  You can't ask for much more than that.

And compared to that soup from a can? This blows that out of the water. No joke. This is the real deal.

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced finely
Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth - or water
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat butter and oil. Add onion and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, but not browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes if desired and cook a couple of minutes more. 
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Roughly crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until they're hot and beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the broth or water and bring to a simmer. Cook at a medium simmer until tomatoes begin to fall apart. 
  3. Remove the soup from heat and cool a few minutes. Puree the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one) in a couple of batches until smooth,
  4. Return to pan over low heat and stir in the cream. Add pepper and additional salt to taste. 

Source: Adapted slightly from Chowhound

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mexican Rice

Everyone needs a good, classic rice recipe to serve with any number of Mexican themed meals. This version has become a favorite with my family. While I am far from the master rice cooker, I love that this turns out well for me consistently.

It's flavorful without being overwhelming and makes a fantastic accompaniment to dishes like Spicy Pulled Pork, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or pretty much any other similar meals. 

One of the things that makes it popular with my kids is that there aren't any extra chunks, like pieces of onions or tomato to pick out. Other versions that I've made that included salsa weren't received nearly as well as this one. Here we have the flavors of tomato and onion, but only the rice to eat. Win/win. 

Use it as a side dish. 

Stuff it with beans and meat into a tortilla. 

Make it the base for a burrito bowl. 

You can't go wrong. You could even toss a little fresh cilantro on top if that floats your boat. I bet that would be scrumptious. 

Mexican Rice

6 Tablespoons oil (I use expeller-pressed coconut oil)
2 cups uncooked rice (I use Jasmine or Basmati)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside. 
In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil until hot. 
Pour in rice and stir around until slightly toasted and beginning to turn golden brown. Add garlic salt, cumin, onion powder, tomato sauce, and broth. 
Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has absorbed. 

Source: adapted slightly from allrecipes

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