Roasted Coriander Tomato Soup

Even though it’s now clearly fall–closed toed shoes out, down vests on–there are still tomatoes hanging on at the farmers market, or there were last week. As long as they are there, I’m buying.

Since I discovered this Orangette recipe, the only way I have wanted to cook tomatoes is by tossing them with a bunch of olive oil, salt, and coriander and roasting them in the oven until I get bored. Then I toss them on some sort of grain, or eat them with eggs, or both, as I did here. But, really, I’m in it to scrape the leftover tomato/oil/coriander drippings off the bottom of the pan and eat them with a spoon. Goodbye last-shred of dignity.

Last weekend I came home with a box of those slightly-larger-than-cherry-tomato sized heirloom tomatoes. On my way home, I decided that if I could figure out a way to turn those coriander roasted tomatoes into soup, I might be able to slurp those drippings down and make it look classy. 

I’m not sure I can call this soup is classy, but it is, in my opinion perfect. It’s incredibly simple to make, but so much better than cans of tomato soup, which are often a bit too sweet for me. I was prepared to add cream to the recipe, but by the time I was done blending it together it tasted so creamy I skipped it and instead threw in two tablespoons of slightly-past-its-prime red wine which gave it a bit of a sour kick.

We ate it with these, which are kind of like grilled cheese sandwiches for people who can’t eat gluten.

Roasted Coriander Tomato Soup (Serves 2 as a main course, but could easily be doubled.)

– 1 quart sized box of small tomatoes

– About a teaspoon of coriander and a big pinch of salt

– 4 cloves of garlic

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for roasting

– 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

– 2 large pinches of thyme

– 2 tablespoons red wine

– Salt and pepper to taste

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

* Cut tomato in half and toss with a hefty drizzle of olive oil, coriander and salt. You want all the tomatoes coated with the spices and olive oil.

* Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes.

* When tomatoes are just about done, mince garlic.

* Heat oil and melt butter in large pot.

* Add garlic to oil/butter mixture.

* When garlic is beginning to brown add tomatoes to pot being sure to scrape all the juices they have let off into the pot. Toss with garlic mixture.

* Add two cups of broth, two big pinches of thyme and pepper to taste.

* Simmer for about 20 minutes.

* Remove from heat and either blend until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.

* Return to simmer and stir in 2 tablespoons of wine.

* Enjoy.


Garlicky Habanero-Lemon Hummus


Being in my mid-late twenties means there are lots of weddings to go to and lots of people suggesting that maybe it’s time I start thinking about getting married myself. Generally, I feel a bit young for that, but when I’m using my blender for something that would clearly do better in a food processor sometimes I wonder if it’s time to cash in my relationship for a lot of new kitchen supplies. Most recently, I have thought about this while while making hummus.

I know that really no one needs a recipe for hummus so think of this post more as a plug for you to make your own hummus. I have long thought that people who make their own hummus–like my mother, for example–are kind of wasting their time. After all, there are lots of perfectly acceptable, even delicious, hummuses to be bought for not very much money. But, about a month ago I was running late for a potluck and threw a can of chickpeas into the blender with some olive oil, garlic, and a habanero pepper and suddenly I was obsessed. I’ve been making it weekly since.

The thing about making your own hummus is you really can make it whatever you want. I recommend blending some chickpeas and olive oil together and tasting it before you decide what you want to add. It tastes elemental and full of possibility. You don’t have to settle for hummus that is too oily or that includes tahini (as most store bought hummus does and which I don’t love) if you don’t want to. You can make it garlicky, spicy and sour to degrees that most people would find unacceptable.

Sure, it’s kind of a pain to make without a food processor. Not complicated, just loud. You have to hover over your blender with a spoon, pushing the chickpeas down and blending till your sick of the noise and pretty sure that, even if you are ready to register for a food processor, your boyfriend has now decided that spending a life with this kind of noise is not worth it.

But at the end of all the grinding, you have hummus for a week. You can eat it every day for lunch and congratulate yourself for having what you want instead of what everyone else does.

Garlicky Habanero-Lemon Hummus 

(If you really want hummus for a week, I would double this recipe.) 

– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

– 4 smallish cloves garlic

– 6 tablespoons olive oil

– 1/2 lemon

– 1/4 habanero pepper

– Salt to taste

* Blend chickpeas and olive oil until they form a smooth paste. (If you are doing it in a blender, you’ll probably have to push the chickpeas down with a spoon periodically in order to get them all to blend.)

* Add garlic, salt, and habanero and blend.

* Add lemon and blend until hummus is the texture you want and/or you’ve grown sick of the grinding noise.


Radicchio and Pea, Black and White Rice Risotto


The first apartment Noah and I lived in was a studio that got no sunlight. It only had a mini-fridge. I loved that apartment despite the fact that it was totally dark 24 hours a day and even though the mini-fridge posed a serious challenge to my ice cream consumption. (Nothing that couldn’t be overcome through the combined powers of a bodega around the corner and a willingness to let half a pint of ice cream melt, thank goodness.)

Our current apartment–which we moved into a mere year and a half after leaving that first place–has 4 1/2 rooms. Our kitchen not only has a full size fridge it also has a dishwasher. The kitchen has 3 drawers and 2 counter tops as opposed to none of either. Sometimes I feel like I have whiplash from how quickly our amount of space as multiplied.

Our new kitchen is airy and beautiful, but given that I’ve spent all of fifteen nights in New Haven since we moved it doesn’t really feel like home yet. Perhaps as a result I’ve been cooking constantly when I get a few days in New Haven. I have pickled peppers, confit-ed tomatoes, toasted granola, and baked ginger bread, in an attempt to make our airy kitchen a little bit cozier and the apartment feel like home. This week, I decided that standing over a pot of steaming broth and rice was the next step in the home-making process. There’s something about making risotto–maybe the fact that you need to have a pot of simmering broth going the whole time, maybe the methodical stirring–that I find comforting.

This risotto is a twist on one I made often in that first apartment. It’s a risotto of peas and radicchio–a perfect sweet and bitter combination. It’s something that you can decide to make last minute by picking up only one extra ingredient if you happen to have rice, Parmesan, and peas on hand, as I usually try to do. This time, inspired by this recent Recipes for Health article for black and white risotto, I decided to make it using black and white rice. The result was less heavy but no less cozy. As an added bonus the black rice and radicchio made the whole thing a rich purple color.

Radicchio and Pea, Black and White Rice Risotto: 

– 1 cup forbidden rice

– 2/3 cup arborio rice

– 1 cup Parmesan cheese

– 1 head of radicchio

– 1 cup frozen peas

– 1/2 onion

– 2 cloves garlic

– 1/2 lemon

– 1/2 cup white wine

– About 6 cups chicken stock

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

* Start by making the forbidden rice. Combine rice with 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Reduce heat as low as possible and leave covered for 30 minutes. At thirty minutes, if the water is fully absorbed, turn heat off and put dish towel under lid. (If the water is not completely absorbed give it another few minutes before putting towel under lid.) Let sit for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in salt to taste, but remember you are adding a lot more ingredients, some of them salty eventually. Set aside.

* Bring stock to a boil.

*Chop onion and radicchio into small pieces; mince garlic.

* In another deep pot heat oil and then add onion and garlic. Cook until onion just begins to brown. Stir in arborio rice and cook until the grains are separate and translucent.

* Add wine and stir until absorbed.

* Add 1/2 cup broth, stir until mostly absorbed. Continue adding cups of broth and stirring until absorbed until rice is soft but still chewy and broth is absorbed. You may have left over broth.

* Stir in peas.

* Stir in black rice and add Parmesan, juice of half a lemon, and another half cup of broth. Stir until liquid is absorbed.

* Stir in radicchio.

* Add salt and pepper to taste.

* Serve with more Parmesan for grating.