Tag Archives: soup

Roasted Tomato Bisque

Roasted Tomato Bisque

It’s the beginning of fall and I had an obscene amount of fresh picked tomatoes that I had to deal with.  I did not want any of the tasty tomato gems go to waste so I thought it would be a great idea to oven roast a large cookie sheet full of fresh picked heirloom tomatoes.  I wanted to make a roasted tomato bisque and any leftover roasted tomatoes would be tossed into a plastic bag to be placed in the freezer for use in sauces or soups at a later date.

While harvesting some of the final tomatoes of the season, I thought that I would photograph some of the annual flowers and plants that I have growing in my garden before the first frost.  Once the fall frost hits our region, my garden is pretty much out of commission until next spring.  I may plant a few cold weather vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and kale to tie me over but my favorites are always the summer crops of tomatoes, squash, peppers and beans.

Morning Glories…  One of my all time favorite climbing plants.  They are sweet whimsical annual flowers that close up their petals at night or during the heat of the day.  They are fairly easy to grow however, they don’t like to be transplanted.  I plant mine from seed directly in the ground in mid spring.

A Mammoth Sunflower.  These annuals reach upwards of 6 to 8 feet tall!  The birds in my yard, especially the blue jays and finches love eating the seeds.  The blooms are huge and they look striking cut and placed in a large vase.

Dusty Miller…  A strange name for a beautiful plant.  The leaves are silver in color and look gorgeous tucked in amongst the green foliage.  The color of the leaves remind me of the winter season that will be here in just a few short months…

A pint container of fresh picked cherry tomatoes for my neighbor across the street.  I still have bunches more to pick…  The reddish ones are the sweet 100 variety and the orange ones are called sun golds.  Both are prolific plants that supply my family with pounds of delicious fruits.  The sun golds have the sweetest flavor of the two varieties and are my favorite little tomato.

My Roasted Tomato Bisque is a perfect use for those extra heirloom tomatoes you may have in your garden.  It’s simple to make and tastes amazing with a simple grilled cheese sandwich or cheese panini with tomatoes and basil. Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups roasted tomatoes with juice (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste

Begin by grabbing a medium sized pot with a lid.  Over medium heat saute the onion and olive oil until the onions are cooked and translucent.  Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, garlic paste, saffron threads and white pepper.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Add heavy cream, stir, taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes about 5 one cup servings.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

This is a simple recipe that will yield some flavorful tomatoes for soups, stews and sauces.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half or into large chunks.  Gently squeeze out some of the seeds.  Toss lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper.  I added some sprigs of basil and rosemary for some flavor.  Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on a foil lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup).  Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size or variety of tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes start to shrivel and get a bit of color or until your liking.  Remove from oven, let cool, remove basil and rosemary, place in plastic bags and toss in the refrigerator.  Use within a few days.  Can be frozen for later use.  Note: if you don’t like the skins on the tomatoes, just pull the skins off after cooking.  They pop off pretty easily. Enjoy!  Tessa

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

With all the warm weather we have been having here in Southern Oregon, my little garden is going nuts…  Just a few weeks ago, I planted some bok choy starts and in no time I am completely inundated with bok choy.  As I would say, I have “enough to choke a goat”.  The problem is that there are just the two of us in the home and what do we do when all the heads of bok choy need to be harvested at the same time?  Well, first of all, share with friends, family and neighbors.  Second, share with coworkers.  Third, I start cooking everything I possibly can with bok choy!

For those who do not know what bok choy is, this is what it looks like.  Bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage. It has a wonderful delicate flavor and goes great in stir-fries, soups and main dishes.  I love it because it is easy to grow and it’s super low in calories.  It has crunchy white stalks and beautifully flavored green leaves.

While picking bok choy in my garden this afternoon, I took my camera with me to photograph some of the beautiful plants in my yard.  This is a photo of a red Japanese maple tree.  We have a several Japanese maples planted around our koi pond.  They are without a doubt, my favorite specie of deciduous tree.

Next to my kitchen window I have an arbor covered in tiny pink roses.  I believe they are called “Cecile Brunner”.  You would not know it from the photo but the plant is twenty feet tall and covered with hundreds of blooms!  It’s just gorgeous!

On the back patio I have a big pot of Sweet William flowers.  Sweet William are adorable little biennials that are fragrant and look wonderful cut and placed in vases.  I like the bright pink color and the jagged edges on the petals.

After photographing plants in my yard, I harvested a few heads of bok choy.  One of the heads of bok choy was going straight into a light and tasty Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup for my lunch.  The other head of bok choy that I picked will be used in a dish for tomorrow’s dinner.

Next time you have an abundance of bok choy, be sure to try my Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup.  It’s light, flavorful and really easy to make.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bok choy (chopped)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Szechuan pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 6-8 drops sesame oil (use sparingly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chopped chives for garnish

In a large pan cook onion and canola oil on medium low.  Stir constantly until onion is opaque.  Add remaining ingredients except sesame oil, salt and pepper.  Cook until shiitakes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

 

Yellow Split Pea Soup

Yellow Split Pea Soup

It’s Sunday morning and in a few hours Bruce and I are having guests over for brunch again.  Bruce wanted me to make Quiche Lorraine and I wanted to make Broccoli Havarti Quiche.  So, to make things fair, I went ahead and made both.  While the quiches are baking away in the oven, I decided to make a pot of Yellow Split Pea Soup.  In my opinion quiches and soup go together like peas and carrots.  They are perfect for each other!

My Yellow Split Pea Soup is easy to make, healthy for you and it’s vegan too!  It’s made with dried yellow split peas, organic vegetable stock, onion, celery, coriander, cumin, bay leaf and turmeric.  If there are any leftovers from our brunch, I will be sure to pack a container full of soup in my lunch bag for the following work week.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried yellow split peas
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • fresh snipped chives and pinches of paprika for garnish (optional)

Add all ingredients (except salt and garnishes) to large pot with lid.  Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until the split peas are tender.  Remove bay leaf from soup and blend soup with a hand-blender until smooth.  Taste and correct your salt level.  Ladle up and garnish with fresh snipped chives and paprika.  Makes about 6-8 servings.

Cauliflower Bisque

Cauliflower Bisque

There are times when I just want a bowl of soup.  Just soup…  No sandwich, no salad, not even crackers.  Just a bowl of something warm and soul soothing.  My easy to make cauliflower bisque was just the ticket.  It’s made with fresh picked cauliflower, onions, garlic, coriander and a bit of cream to give it a velvety texture.

While my cauliflower was cooking away on the stove, I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  I had only a few minutes before I needed to get back to my dish.  As soon as I opened my back door and stepped out on the patio, the smell of lilacs caught my attention…

Lilacs are some of my all time favorite flowers.  I love the light purple color and the sweet scent.  They are lovely in a vase.

Petunias in a hanging basket.  The gold color reminds me of sunshine…

My mother gave me this Dogwood tree a few years back…  Notice that the flower has only four petals?  I think that it is simply gorgeous…

I had only a few minutes to spare before my cauliflower was done so I stopped by my pot of fresh chives.  They are almost ready to bloom!  I snipped a few after I took this photo for garnish on my soup.  Now back to the kitchen…

My Cauliflower Bisque takes about a half an hour to make and is just delicious.  Garnish with fresh snipped chives and grated cheddar cheese.  Wrap your hands around a warm creamy bowl of my Cauliflower Bisque and enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pound cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese and fresh snipped chives for garnish (optional)

Begin by tossing all ingredients except for heavy cream, salt and garnishes in a covered saucepan.  Cook on medium low for about 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.  Take a hand blender and blend until smooth.  Add cream and salt to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and fresh snipped chives.  Makes about 4 servings.

Lentil Chicken Sausage Soup

Lentil Chicken Sausage Soup

Technically it’s spring here in Southern Oregon. The operative word is “technically”…  It did not feel like spring because today was just gray and rainy.  To add to the annoyance, Bruce and I were out of town over the weekend and when we came home late Monday, we were low on groceries.  We were out of milk, bread, and other basic necessities.  Missing key ingredients in my kitchen makes it tough to make a decent dinner for a busy weeknight.

Fortunately, I always keep lentils, yellow onions, chicken stock and fresh celery on hand.  I also had a half pound of fully cooked asiago cheese red pepper chicken sausages in my freezer.  Before I left for work early this morning, I snagged my little slow cooker from the cupboard, plugged it in, tossed in my ingredients, and turned it on low.  All in all, I spent about 10 minutes assembling dinner.  When I got home from work, I grabbed a couple of bowls, fished out the bay leaf and garnished the soup with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  It was simply delicious! It was ridiculously easy to make and I got two thumbs up from Bruce. Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage links (chopped)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt or to taste
  • water if necessary
  • garnish with grated Parmesan cheese

Grab a slow cooker.  Add all ingredients except for seasoning salt, water and garnishes.  Cook on low covered for 6 – 8 hours.  Add water if the soup is too thick for your liking.  Add seasoning salt.  Taste your soup and correct your seasonings.  Ladle up and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.  Makes about 4 servings.

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

For the past couple of days I have been desperately looking for signs of spring.  Even though our winter here in the Rogue Valley has been relatively mild, I am ready for change.  As I look around my yard, I see that the lilacs have started to form buds, the willow tree is starting to change from brown to a light shade of green and my little crocuses started to flower. My koi fish who lay dormant for months are starting to surface and are swimming to the sides of the pond.  Spring is near…

Crocus

Spring brings wonderful vegetables such as asparagus, colorful chard, bright green spinach and tender lettuce.  I especially love asparagus.  Unfortunately, my husband hates asparagus. The poor man, I sometimes think that he suffers needlessly.  When Bruce married me he neglected to read the fine print that said “Tessa really doesn’t care what Bruce thinks about asparagus, she is going to cook it anyway”.   Luckily for my son, I taught him at an early age to always read the fine print :).

Fresh Asparagus

When selecting asparagus, always look for firm tightly closed tips.  If it does not look or feel fresh, it’s not.  Don’t bother buying it.

My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque is one fabulous way to serve asparagus when it is fresh and in season.  I oven roast the asparagus and cippolini onions and then blend it in a light chicken stock with potato and tarragon.  Cippolini onions are a variety of Italian onions that I recently found at my local food co-op.  They are mild in flavor and good for roasting. If you can’t find cippolini onions, use half an onion.  My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Soup is a delightful first course or an easy lunch served alongside your favorite sandwich or salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound asparagus spears (washed and woody part of stem removed)
  • 2 cippolini onions (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 white potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon leaves
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  On a small baking sheet toss the asparagus and cippolini onion in the olive oil and salt.  Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile in a medium sized sauce pan add your chicken stock, potato and spices.  Cook on medium heat until potato is tender.  Add your asparagus and cippolini onions to the pot.  Take a hand blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Dish up and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Peruvian Bean Soup

Peruvian Bean Soup

I am one of those people who makes it a habit to “troll” the grocery store looking for ingredients that I have never used before to share with my family.  Yesterday I found some dried Peruvian Beans in the Latin section of my favorite store.  Peruvian beans are also known as Mayocoba Beans, Peruano Beans or Canary Beans.  Peruvian Beans are a yellowish ivory color and are similar in texture to a pinto bean when cooked.  Quite frankly, I’m surprised that I have not noticed these wonderful little beans before.  Now that I have found and tried them, I am  a complete fan.  Love them…

Peruvian Beans

Sunday afternoon is the time when I like to prepare lunches to eat during my busy workweek.  While at work, I try my best to avoid fast food during my lunch hour.   I have found that it is quicker and so much healthier to have home cooked foods prepared in advance that I can bring to work with me that I can simply toss in the microwave and heat.  No fuss with take out, tastes great and it’s even easier on my pocketbook.

My Peruvian Bean Soup is hearty, easy to make and good for you.  It is similar to a navy bean soup with ham but is a bit different for the soup is golden in color and there’s a smidge of heat from the jalapenos and cayenne pepper.  It’s really good!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound dried Peruvian Beans or 1 1/4 cup (soaked overnight)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with cilantro and chopped red pepper

Begin by washing and picking over the Peruvian Beans.  Soak in about 4 cups water overnight.  Rinse well before adding to the soup.  Add all  ingredients to a medium sized pot.  Cook covered until beans are tender or to your liking. My beans took about 2 1/2 hours on low.  Makes about 6 servings.

Chicken Cabbage Soup

Chicken Cabbage Soup

Today was a day that was all about simple foods with simple flavors.   I was in the mood to make a pot of chicken soup but I wanted it to be a bit different than my usual recipe.  I thought of incorporating tender cabbage instead of noodles or rice.  I’m glad that I did.  My chicken cabbage soup is light, delicately flavored and includes some of my favorite Asian ingredients such as soy sauce and mirin.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Grab a large sauce pan and add all the ingredients with the exception of the cilantro.  Cook until the vegetables are tender.  Ladle up and garnish with the cilantro.  Makes about 6 servings.

Kale and White Bean Soup

Kale and White Bean Soup

It was cold and rainy yesterday… and I was stuck at home.  I did not feel like watching TV.  I already read the paper.  And I did not feel like solving another Sudoku puzzle.  There was no doubt that I was “bored out of my gourd”.   So, later on that morning I thought it would be a good idea to make a healthy bowl of soup for lunch.  I had some beautiful blue potatoes tucked away in the back of my fridge and a bunch of gorgeous purple kale in the crisper drawer.

I had never cooked purple kale before and when I saw it at my favorite store, I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous dark color.  I just tossed it in my basket and headed straight to the check stand with my prize.  I did not have a clue what I was going to do with it, all I wanted to do was try it.  And, I’m glad that I did…  The soup tasted wonderful.

In addition to learning about cooking kale, I learned a bit about blue potatoes.  Blue potatoes are beautiful.  Blue potatoes look cool.  Blue potatoes are different and if you plan on cooking blue potatoes in a soup or stew it will eventually turn everything in your soup a funky blue color.  I figured that out today after wanting have another bowl for lunch a day after I made the soup.  I opened up the Tupperware container and was quite shocked at the color change.  The soup tasted great but the visual appeal was nonexistent.  So, word to the wise…  Unless you intend to make a dark blue soup, omit the blue potatoes.

My Kale and White Bean Soup is tasty, hearty and delightfully vegan.  It has tender bits of purple kale, potatoes, great northern beans, red bell pepper, thyme and tarragon in a savory organic vegetable stock.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups purple kale (rinsed, stems removed, chopped and packed)
  • 2 cups waxy type potato (diced)
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (15 ounce) great northern beans (rinsed well and drained)
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/3 cup red pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 dashes Maggi seasoning
  • 2 pinches white pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Begin by cooking the onion and olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat until the onion is translucent.  Add the vegetable stock, potatoes, tarragon, thyme, Maggi seasoning, and white pepper.  Cook covered for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the purple kale, beans and red onion.  Cook until the kale is tender another 20-25 minutes.  Taste the soup.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.  Makes about 2 quarts of soup.  Serves 6 -8.

 

 

Mixed Bean Soup

Mixed Bean Soup

It’s been two weeks into 2012 and I am happy to say that I am doing a fairly good job of living up to my New Year’s expectation of being less wasteful in the kitchen.  Often times when I make soup from dried beans that I purchase in those little plastic bags, I have some leftover beans.  So, I keep a jar in my cupboard just for that purpose.  I toss the leftover dried beans into the jar and I give it a gentle shake to mix them up, taking care not to break the beans.

My little jar of mixed beans is proof that cooking a great bowl of soup is not rocket science.  Every time I make my mixed bean soup, it is not exactly the same as the last time and in fact may taste a bit different than the last time I made it depending on the mixture of the beans.  I say so what and who cares?  The point is to use what you have, make it taste great and be less wasteful.

I bet you may be wondering what’s currently in my mixed bean jar?   There are some black beans, pinto beans, brown lentils, great northern beans, split peas both green and yellow, lima beans, black eyed peas, garbanzos, and red beans.  After I shot this photo, I removed 2 cups of beans from this jar for my soup and  I then tossed in some Anasazi beans and lima beans for later use.

My recipe for Mixed Bean Soup is hearty, good for you and very easy to make.  You can use whatever mixture of dried beans you have on hand or if you want, you could buy a more expensive premixed blend of beans.  My Mixed Bean Soup has Italian style tomatoes, beef stock, onions, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, cumin, and I even tossed in a bit of leftover ham that was tucked away in my fridge.  You could even make this in a slow cooker if you would like.  Just toss in all the ingredients, place on low, cover, and walk away for about 8 hours.  Cooking time may vary depending on the type of beans that you use.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried mixed beans (picked over and soaked in water overnight)
  • 2 quarts of beef stock (use more if desired)
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of Italian style crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrot (chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped ham (optional)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Place all ingredients in a large pot.  Cover, cook low and slow for about 2 hours or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally. Be sure to taste the soup and correct your seasonings.  Dish up, garnish with parsley and serve.  Makes about 8 servings.  Can be frozen for later use.

Note: This is a really good recipe for busy college students.  It’s easy on the wallet and you can get a few good meals out of this…