Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Your Average Tomato Soup

I never grew up eating tomato soup. I knew I didn't like tomato juice. Seriously, the smell of V8 or anything like that kind of made me a little nauseous. The weird twist is that I LOVE tomatoes, I could actually eat a tomato like an apple. Beware: if you eat too many this way, you will get sores in your mouth. So does not feel good. And pretty much prohibits you from enjoying the other scrumptious you choose to indulge in. After going to college and joining my sorority where we had a cook prepare our meals for us, I was introduced to the Friday weekly staple; Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I was cautious, wary, guarded. Should I try this combination that was always a faux pas in my childhood home? Was this going against the food regulations I was brought up with? Of course, I couldn't resist.

So I admit, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup made in bulk for 100 girls was no gourmet treat. But, it did challenge me to test my own culinary skills in search of a magnificent tomato soup that even my mother, who still to this day refuses to eat tomato soup, would eat. I think I might have found it. With a hint of sweetness from the red bell pepper and carrots combined with a bite from the garlic, the flavors mingle and in a delightful and haunting manner. the Please enjoy my homemade tomato soup and try it with my grilled cheese sandwich!

Serves 6
Total time (including prep): 2 hours

5 fresh large tomatoes; chopped
5 carrots; chopped
1 white onion; sliced and diced
1 red bell pepper; chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
14 oz box of Chicken Stock (I used reduced sodium)
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper


1. In a large soup pot combine chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, red bell pepper, garlic, white wine and EVOO on Medium heat. Cover with lid and stew for 20 minutes stirring occasionally, also adding cayenne pepper and salt and pepper halfway through.
2. Add chicken stock and continue to cook 20 minutes.
3. The final step is to blend the soup. For this you can use many different avenues. I used a blender, but you could also use a hand blender or a food mill.
4. Blend until slightly chunky then transfer back to soup pot.
5. Serve with cheese or even some fresh herbs. Enjoy!!

Edamame and Tomato Spring Pasta

Yum. This pasta is so yummy, light and flavorful it would be an absolute hit served hot or cold. After realizing my complete love for White Stilton cheese with lemon peel, I needed to find new and creative ways to utilize the gigantic block I purchased. tehehe :) Well, adding it to this light pasta was the perfect idea. I wanted a spring dish that would fill me up but also give me some kicks of flavor. I NEED to have flavor in my pasta otherwise it just tastes like chewy calories. Not so yummy.

I hope you can take a few ideas from this pasta and make it your own, or try mine exactly to recipe, I promise you won't regret it! Enjoy!


Spiral Pasta
Roma tomatoes; cubed
Dash of lemon juice
Basil pasta sprinkle mix
Salt and pepper
White Stilton with Lemon Peel
Swirl of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Bring water to a rolling boil and add pasta, cooking to al dente.
2. Drain pasta and return to saucepan. Add EVOO, edamame, tomatoes, lemon juice, basil sprinkle and salt and pepper. Mix and combine until flavors are all infused with lemon and EVOO.
3. Plate and grate White Stilton over the top.

Creamy Fiesta Quinoa

Ok, I am totally loving quinoa right now, thanks to my Bestie, Courtney of ICE CREAM & WINE. After experimenting with her Salsa Quinoa recipe, I decided to venture out on my own. As you know, my favorite thing to do in the kitchen is experiment with new things and make recipes more my style.  This dish is not overly spiced, but the combination of vegetables and addition of sour cream make it work. By using Rotel tomatoes that have green chiles included, a nice smooth heat is naturally added that permeates throughout the entire dish. This seed and vegetable party on a plate is extremely filling while also very healthy! 



1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can rotel tomatoes (drained)
1 can pinto beans
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Combine water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring to boil. Stir occasionally. Cover and cook until quinoa has soaked up the water.
2. In a separate pan, heat EVOO, pinto beans, tomatoes and corn until corn is completely thawed and mixture is heated through.
3. Pour quinoa in with the bean mixture and combine. Stir in the sour cream until creamy.
4. Serve with fresh parsley.

Turkey and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

One of the simple pleasures in life; A grilled cheese sandwich. It sounds so simple in its namesake, but there are so many ingredients and flavors you can add to make it complex in its taste. I like to experiment with such additions and last night I really felt like putting together a dreamy grilled cheese. The farmer's market has begun and I went down early Saturday morning with my friend Heidi to sample the local fare. While there, I came upon the stand of one of my favorite bakeries, Great Harvest Bread Company. Oh how I love their baked goods. The best feature of Great Harvest is that they let you sample the breads of the day! After a long day of bike riding, my brother and I like to stop at a Great Harvest and get a giant slab of bread lathered in butter and honey to quiet our growling stomachs. 

I knew that I had to use my honey whole wheat Great Harvest bread for my perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes, I think I am a little lactose-intolerant (you may be wondering at this point why the heck I am making a grilled cheese, I know.) Well, since I am self-diagnosed (again, weird) I figure as long as I don't drink a lot of milk (I opt for chocolate soy) eat a ton of yogurt or overdo the cheese intake I should be good, right? Anyway, on this certain occasion I decided to try a new kind of cheese on my sandwich. 

"Have you laughed today?" You have probably heard that cute blonde woman on tv ask you this very question daily since the creation of the Laughing Cow cheese. I am here to tell you, I have laughed today and I enjoyed every giggle following. Using a slice of the Laughing Cow cheese spread on this sandwich along with some sliced deli turkey, red pepper flakes, sauteed mushrooms and a small fistful of shredded Colby Jack cheese made this ordinary weeknight grilled cheese sandwich extraordinary!



2 thin slices of bread (I used a thick honey whole wheat bakery bread)
2 oz sliced deli turkey meat
1 slice Laughing Cow cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Shredded Colby Jack cheese (to taste)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Butter for the bread (I actually used I can't Believe it's not Butter spray butter)


1. Saute your mushrooms in the EVOO in a medium sized saucepan. Remove from pan when finished.
2. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese on one slice of bread. Butter the other side. Lay the buttered side down in the pan you used for your mushrooms.
3. Place the mushrooms on top of the bread in the pan, then add the turkey, Colby Jack cheese and red pepper flakes.
4. After the first side is browned, flip the sandwich to get the other side.
5. Wait until cheese is gooey and bread is browned, then take a bite and be ready for an explosion of yummy delicious cheesy goodness!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rosemary and Thyme Potato Soup

My Aunt Mary makes the absolute best potato soup. I am not even kidding right now. I am a lover of all things soup. Any time of the year, any time of the day and pretty much any flavor. Once one becomes a soup connoisseur such as myself, you can be a little more picky and snobbish when it comes to what kinds of soup you choose to indulge in. Sorry, but a non-flavorful starchy bland potato soup just isn't going to cut it. Fortunately, this particular soup du jour is full of flavors that burst in your mouth, a fragrance that wafts around your head enticing you to take the plunge and dip that spoon right in the pot and eat, eat eat!

The two main things that really make this soup a party in your mouth where everyone is invited are rosemary and thyme. I mean, wow. These ingredients make this soup extra special and one that you can be sure will please anyone!

Feel free to try some add-ins such as corn, broccoli, cheese or even tomatoes. Enjoy!


6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 white onions, chopped
2 cups of frozen corn
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk


1. Place potatoes and water in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until tender
2. In another saucepan, saute onion butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. 
3. Slowly add the milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and corn with cooking liquid; heat through.
4. Use a potato smasher and smash half of the mixture so that there are still some chunks but it is a creamy soup.