Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tomato and red bell pepper soup

i personally dislike bell peppers, but oddly, i LOVE this soup!!! that's how delicious it is.

2 large red bell peppers
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 1/2 cups fresh vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 14-oz cans plum tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 scallions, finely shredded, for garnish
crusty bread, to serve

preheat broiler. halve and seed bell peppers, arrange them on broiler rack and cook, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until softened and charred.

leave to cool slightly, then carefully peel off charred skin. reserving a small piece for garnish, chop bell pepper flesh and place in large saucepan.

mix in onion, celery, and garlic. add the stock and bay leaves. bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. remove from heat.

stir in tomatoes and transfer to blender. process for a few seconds until smooth. return to saucepan.

season with salt and pepper to taste and heat for 3-4 minutes until piping hot. ladle soup into warm bowls and garnish with the reserved bell pepper cut into strips and the scallion. serve with fresh crusty bread.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

I probably make this at least once or twice a month. It is always a comfort food hit for the boys. It's quick and easy to prepare, all you need to do is pop it in the oven about one hour before serving. It's also great to make ahead of time and freeze.


1 1/2 pounds lean ground meat (I switch between beef and turkey)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 envelope onion soup mix
crushed saltine crackers, about 25 squares
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly ground meat, milk, eggs, onion soup mix, and crackers.

In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar and ketchup. Divide into two equal parts. Add one part to meat mixture, and save other part for topping.

Place meat mixture in loaf pan into even shape. Spread the leftover brown sugar and ketchup mixture on top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for one hour or until juices are clear.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Berry Compote

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit.  According to them, it should accompany Grand Marnier French toast.  However, since berries are full of antioxidants and deliciousness, I put the compote over everything from oatmeal to vanilla ice cream with white chocolate cookies.  I never use the cornstarch and usually omit the sugar (especially if the berries are frozen).  Measuring is really not necessary with this recipe.  You don't need more than a splash of rum, and you won't miss it if you take it out for the children (they might need the sugar, though).

1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 tbsps cornstarch
2 tbsps water
6 cups mixed fresh berries or thawed frozen mixed berries