28 April 2010

Roasted Tomato and Rice Soup

If there was ever a soup to be described as Mmm Mmm Good, it is the New England Soup Factory's Roasted Tomato and Rice Soup. It is absolutely delicious and totally worth the 2 hours it takes to make!

If you enjoy it, get the cookbook
! There is lots of goodness in there.

Roasted Tomato and Rice Soup
(by Marjorie Druker and Clara Silverstein from the New England Soup Factory)
Makes 10 servings

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 12 medium plum tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsps olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white rice, uncooked
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • 3 Tbsps butter
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • Roasted plum tomatoes
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 2 Tbsps chopped fresh basil
  • 2 ½ cups cooked white rice
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Directions for Roasted Tomatoes
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Hull tomatoes and slice in half
  3. Place the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl
  4. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  5. Place the tomatoes in a small roasting pan and roast in the oven for 50 minutes
Directions for rice
  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Reduce heat and add rice
  3. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes
Directions for soup
  1. In a stockpot melt butter over medium-high heat
  2. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery
  3. Sauté for 10 minutes stirring frequently
  4. Add the roasted tomatoes and continue to sauté for 5 minutes
  5. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, stock, and tomato juice
  6. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium.
  7. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes
  8. Add basil
  9. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or working in batches with a regular blender until smooth
  10. Place the soup back into the pot if using a regular blender
  11. Add the rice and season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper
  12. Stir so that the rice is evenly distributed throughout the soup
  13. Sprinkle each serving with cheese

26 April 2010

Lentil Stew - a twist!

This here recipe was donated to the good folks at Mad Tasty by Shawn Westendorf. Sounds great and healthy...can't wait to try it!

A new take on lentil stew!

Lentil Stew

1 cup pink lentils
1 chopped celery root
4 chopped jeruselem artichokes
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 lime
1 chili pepper
2.5 cups broth
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 handfuls fresh cilantro
3 large leaves of swiss chard

In a saucepan, slowcooker, dutch oven, cast iron pan...etc... combine celery root, jeruselem artichokes, onion, garlic, ginger, lentils, and chilli pepper with broth. I guestimated the amount of broth, I just used enough to cover the dry ingredients about an inch. Cook on low for 1.5 hours, ( or all day in the slow cooker) or on high if you have less time but just enough till the lentils are soft (probably 25 minutes). My veggies were sitll a little crunchy but I like it that way. When stew is cooling, add fresh cilantro, swiss chard, and lime. stir until swiss chard is soft and cooked. Serve with a dallop of yogurt, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge, with a sprinkle of cayenne or paprika on top. Enjoy!

Oh, and I soaked the lentils in Kombucha for an hour first, they soaked it right up! This helps the digestive system break down the lentils. Optional!

22 April 2010

Can you Quiche Quiche?

Quiche is definitely one of those easy and versatile dishes, after all most ingredients taste lovely wrapped in a blanket of eggs and cheese! With all this great weather, the first thing I did was load up on fresh veggies to grill and realize a few days later, I had cooked up way too many for any one person to eat and not turn into one themselves.

Using my standard recipe, I made a yummy easy lunch creation:
- Preheat oven to 425 F and grease a pie dish liberally
- Cut the crusts off of 5 pieces of whole wheat sandwich bread and lay down on the bottom of the pie dish
- Pile on the grilled veggies (sliced and seasoned with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, then grilled until cooked through and slightly charred)
- Add a cup of grated cheese - for this is just used the regular old parmesan cheese out of a can and it worked great!
- Beat 4 whole, large eggs really well with 2 tbls of low fat milk. Pour over the veggies and cheese
- Bake for 35-45 min until set and browning on top, allow to cool for 10 min before serving

And Voila!

Chef's notes: for meat lovers, bacon, onion and chedder cheese makes a great alternative; for an asian flavor, use sauteed, shredded carrots, red cabbage, green onions in sesame oil and a bit of rice vinegar, and use chopped cilantro instead of the cheese.

21 April 2010

Movie Recipes!

Have you ever been watching a movie, only to wonder to yourself, "What are they eating and HOW do I make that for myself?"

Well, now you can look through a growing catalog of movie recipes at www.movierecipes.net! Try the Lingonberry Pancakes from The Big Lebowski, Eggs in a basket from V for Vendetta, Cherry Pie from Waitress, and more!

19 April 2010

full irish vegan

We appear to have slowed down a little here at mad tasty, if you've noticed, so apologies for that.  I do think Jade's epic post below this does make up for that somewhat, so I won't pity our readers too much.

If you're on the lookout for more tasty eats, do check out Full Irish Vegan for both inspiration and lovely photos.  I do love that the blog immediately tackles that dreaded fear that one could never have a full on fry again.

16 April 2010

The Butter Apologist

Hallo friends. Jade Sylvan here. I'm taking a break from my usual bloggy endeavors at The Broken Watch and The Boston Healing Blog to bring you the tale of an epic meal.

I love my family to the point of obsession. However, like many ambitious clans these days, we are spread out all over the country, and don't get to see each other too often.

This spring, we all got together for a joint birthday party for my dad, my brother, and my sister-in-law.

My sis-in-law Val and I decided to show off our gender-normative proclivities by cooking a flashy dinner for everyone.

The menu:
  • salmon with butter shallot sauce
  • buttered poppy seed smashed potatoes and parsnips
  • swiss chard, garlic, and shallot sauteed in butter (are we sensing a theme here?)
  • tossed salad of butter lettuce (just to keep things in the family), spinach, mung bean sprouts, slivered almonds, olives, and artichoke hearts with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil
Tangentially, I recently had a debate with some of my friends about which was more essential, butter or cheese. I think I was the only one who said butter, and the cheese-supporters were disturbingly truculent while defending their dairy product of choice.

It's not that I have anything against cheese. I just feel that it's overused in American cuisine, oftentimes to mask the fact that a dish doesn't actually taste very good. Butter, on the other hand, enhances flavor with the smooth subtlety of a jazz accompanist. Allow me to offer this meal as my argument.

First of all, before we could do anything, we obviously needed cute aprons...

... and champagne.

That's Dad's job. Isn't he cute?

Aprons and champ donned, we were ready to do some cooking.

We had all the raw ingredients.


Potatoes and parsnips:

A bunch of veggies and a crap load of butter. [not pictured]

I'm not so great at giving recipes or cooking instructions, since my general cooking motto is "Throw a bunch of stuff together until it tastes awesome." Fortunately, my brother John, optical-physicist-cum-photographer, was there to take photos. Since a picture's worth a thousand words, I hope you can get the general gist of things by browsing through the ensuing FOOD PORN.

Just look at them glisten.

The potatoes are easy. You boil a bunch of potatoes (I used my two favorite, red and yukon gold) with a bunch of parsnips (I peel the parsnips, but not the potatoes), then when they're soft you SMASH them with a crap load of butter, cream, salt, pepper and poppy seeds.

My grandma said they were the best potatoes she's ever had in her life. She's 83. Just sayin, she's had a lot of potatoes.


This look of utter glee only graces my visage when I'm smashing something.

Then I chopped the garlic for the chard. I do this thing where I (you guessed it) SMASH the garlic clove before I peel it, which makes the whole peel come right off.


While I was doing that, Val was starting on the butter shallot sauce, which is exactly what it sounds like.

And just look at the chard.

Totally helps that my mom's cookware is gorgeous.

Oh, and somewhere in there salmon was made...

... and a salad was made...

... with Butter looking nobly on.

There was nothing left to do but dish it up...

... and serve.

No cheese necessary.

14 April 2010

Nana Molloy's Blueberry Muffins

My Nana used to make the best blueberry muffins in the world. They were delicious.

Her recipe originally hails from the Jordan Marsh bakery that was on the first floor of the Jordan Marsh department store in Downtown Crossing. Jordan Marsh was the country's first department store. It opened in 1861 and was truly the picture of one-stop shopping. In 1988, Jordan Marsh was purchased by Macy's and the bakery was closed forever, but the recipe will live on in our family.

Nana's Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (1 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Line muffin pans with baking cups
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt
  4. Mix together butter, sugar, and eggs
  5. Add dry ingredients to butter, sugar, and eggs in 3 additions. Alternate additions with milk.
  6. When well mixed, fold in blueberries
  7. Spoon into lined muffin pan
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes

09 April 2010

Blue Cheese Brown Rice "Risotto"

Blarg. I've been too busy to cook recently which, for those who know, doesn't make me happy. I had a night off this week so I was psyched to give a go at some ho'made cookin. Yeah. But... by the time I actually got around to cooking dinner, I was so tired and scattered that it was mostly scrambling and cursing trying to make something out of whatever bits of food I had around the house. One of the concoctions was actually delicious and amazingly simple.

I took one bag of frozen brown rice, like the kind pictured above, cut a slit in the top of the bag and boiled the bag in about 2 inches of water for 2 minutes. Then I carefully fished the bag out of the water and dumped the rice from the bag into the boiling water. I added a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, about two tablespoons of blue cheese, three tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and a heaping teaspoon of ground sage. Then I stirred this into the boiling water until most of the liquid had evaporated (4-5 minutes). I then added a teaspoon of flour, stirred well (about another 2 minutes) and took the mixture off of the heat.

The end result was unique and delicious and tasted like creamy risotto you would get in a restaurant!!!

07 April 2010

Do you bring your lunch to work?

Since I was in grade school, I have always been a brown-bag lunch kind of person. In school, it was because I didn't like the cafeteria food. In college, I would steal food from the dining hall due to my college student poverty. Now, in the working world, my decision to continue to bring my own lunch is a combination of saving time, saving money, and being comforted knowing what exactly I am eating. I have always been a snacker, too, so I bring a bunch of stuff to keep me going through the day.
I am also a creature of habit, so the above picture pretty much represents what is in my lunch bag each day. I'll have yogurt in the morning, sometimes with granola. Then, for a mid-morning snack, I'll reach for the Odwalla granola bar (Berries GoMega is one of my favorites but their Banana Nut is great too). Lunch is usually a salad of some sort of one of those portable soups you can get from Healthy Choice. Then the rest of the contents (usually consisting of fruit, nuts, some kind of sweets) are spread out over the day... not pictured is my iced coffee which I also usually make at home in the morning. And I try to keep a full candy dish at work since I can't go a day without the stuff! Moderation is key.
Do you bring your lunch or buy your lunch? What do you eat during the work day?

06 April 2010

Manhattan Cupcakes

Last year for a friend's birthday cocktail party, we decided to combine the two best things about birthdays - cake and drinking - by making these gin and tonic cupcakes.

This year we wanted to turn that brilliant idea into a tradition. The only problem is that there's a dearth of cocktail cupcake recipes out there -- only these few from Baking Bites seemed up to our standards, and even they are pretty mainstream. Our bag is classic cocktails, and we really wanted to try something a little different. So we made it up.
The cocktail: Manhattan (2 oz whiskey, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, shaken and strained, garnished with orange peel and a maraschino cherry). The origin recipe: Burnt-Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes Now, our recipe isn't perfect yet, so we're looking for another excuse to make these and tweak them a bit. They don't have quite as strong a whiskey flavor as we're looking for, but they're delicious nonetheless.

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons whiskey

1 tbsp milk (in the future, we're thinking of substituting whiskey here too)

Preheat the oven to 400F and start burning your butter. Put it in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring all the time until it turns dark golden color. Take the pan off the heat and let the butter solidify, but stay soft.

When the butter is solid but still soft, put all the cake ingredients except the whiskey and milk in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth batter. Add the whiskey and milk down the funnel, pulsing sparingly to form a soft, dropping mixture.

Divide among lined cupcake tins, and cook for 15-20 minutes for regular-size cupcakes, 8-10 for mini.

We used a basic cream cheese frosting to top these (buttercream would be too much, well, butter for these cakes) with one little difference: sweet vermouth. That's an integral part of a Manhattan, and we were pretty excited about figuring it into the cupcakes. However, it turns out that the vermouth makes the frosting too sweet, so it's best to leave it out until we do a little more research.

Frost the cupcakes and top with just a little orange zest and a sliver of maraschino cherry.

And if anyone knows of any cocktail baked good recipes, or a way to figure in bitters, please send them our way.

05 April 2010

food stuff: boiling egg fun

in honor of easter (yesterday), i thought i would put up some tips on hard boiling eggs, thanks to the kitchn. it was only a few months ago that i even realized there was a difference between hard boiling and soft boiling eggs - i'd never even thought anyone would want a soft-boiled egg. check out this post about hard boiling egg fun and this post about a tip to date hard boiled eggs for maximum freshness. here is another tip for getting the perfect hard boiled egg. and finally, what to do with leftover hard boiled eggs.

so, this raises the question: did you hard boil eggs to decorate this year? and after you decorated them, did you eat them? or what is your favorite way to eat eggs?


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