Friday, September 30, 2011

Chunky Roasted Tomato Soup

I swear to you, I have been cooking. I’ve been cooking a lot. In fact, I think I’ve been cooking more so than usual. But after being sick for roughly two weeks, school came first – that, and meetings… oh, and working out too – and taking photos was just something I didn’t have time for. I did quite a few Bento Box Snapshot worthy recipes, and I had many recipes I wanted to try in attempt to get the family out of our meal rut. However, sometimes I either had too few of the ingredients I needed or didn’t have the majority of the ingredients to begin with, so the recipes I was eager to make, photograph, and post were merely written down for another day.

There were also a lot of “What would happen if…?” moments in the kitchen. In other words, I simply threw things together to see the result of said experiment. They often turned into a “Not Quite What I Was Expecting” when it was still edible and delicious. And in some cases they were regarded as “Flops”, or "Not Quite What I Was Expecting" meals that weren’t edible or delicious at all. The latter, thankfully, happens few and far between but it still happens.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Donuts with a Banana-Almond Butter Sauce

My Bento Box Snapshots have been Stew-Salad combinations. There was the hearty beef and vegetable stew with salad. There was also kabocha soup (or puree) with almond milk mixed in for a silky texture with seasoned buttery rice, black beans, and a salad. I’ve noticed I’m not as hungry after dinner as I used to be, and I don’t feel guilty about eating when I am still hungry. So far, I’m dreaming zombie free dreams and not ravenous in the mornings.  

I have plans and deadlines for recipes this weekend, so be prepared for an onslaught of tastiness. This is where I’d laugh maniacally in a villainous fashion, but something tells me you all won’t mind it so much. In the meantime, as September comes to a close, I’d like to tell you what I’ve learned.

  1. I learned that my getting up early was the result of drinking coffee in the afternoon. Once I cut down my caffeine to the mornings, I’m sleeping deeper… and longer.
  2. I learned that my zombie nightmares were the result of my being hungry while I slept. I started eating more (either with bigger meals around 500 calories or by snacking), and I’ve yet to see a rotting corpse.
  3. I learned that eating more doesn’t mean I’m going to gain weight. It means I’m not hungry and starving myself. It also means I am back on a normal menstrual cycle (hopefully).
  4. I learned that spirulina and chlorella are great detoxifiers and have the minerals I've been lacking for much too long.
  5. I learned that I’ve been feeling detached from the people I love, simply because people are living their own lives as I am, so cooking has been my outlet in order to feel an intimate connection. (Ah, the joys of being a commuter student about to graduate in a few months.)
  6. I learned to be persistent and not to be afraid to make a flop or two. It’s a proven fact that the more you flop the more likely you’re to find success.
  7. I learned that feeling good means you’re honest with others and yourself. After the trials and errors revolving around my health, social, exercising, and eating habits, I’m not afraid to respectfully tell people how I feel.
  8. I learned that there are directions in recipes for a reason. Read every line thoroughly… and twice.
  9. I learned that socca. Is. Delicious. I haven't perfected it yet, but the Pure2Raw twins Lori and Michelle have definitely made me a lover of the stuff.

And that homemade roasted tomato soup which could be made into a bangin’ sauce that just so happens to be vegan? So yummy.

Chunky Roasted Tomato Soup

1 lb 4 oz (or 6 3.5 oz) tomatoes, halved
1 (11 oz) Red bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 (6 oz) Sweet Spanish onion, peeled and halved
4 garlic cloves
2 oz Olive oil
24 oz Water
6 oz Tomato paste
3/4 tsp. – 1 tsp. Water
1 Bay Leaf
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Lay the veggies on a foil-lined large baking sheet, and lightly drizzle the olive oil on top.
Cook for about an hour or until they are soft and bubbling. (For a more roasted flavor, place veggies under the broiler until blistered and blackened in some places.)
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the veggies into a medium-sized soup pot.
Add the water, tomato paste, salt, and bay leaf and cook on medium-high heat for at least fifteen minutes.
Remove from heat (and the bay leaf from the pot) and, while hot, use a hand blender to puree the veggies. (If you want to use your regular blender, you can do that also for a smoother soup consistency).
Serve immediately topped with finely cut basil and/or sour cream.

Makes 6 small servings (or 3 large servings).

*To make it into a sauce, reduce the water to 16 oz and add 1/2 tsp. each oregano, thyme, and herb de Provence.

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