Well, since my last post, I've sold my house, found a rental, packed up and moved to a new town, unpacked, made curtains for 5 windows, celebrated Christmas, New Years, Stella's, Scott's, Claus's and Kourtney's birthdays. But truthfully, I had a ton of help with all of it (except the curtains--although Bill did hang the rods). So I have been busy but we've still been eating. Here is a spicy tomato soup that is easy and quick with ingredients from the pantry. It is great to serve with a salad or sandwich as a meal or as a beautiful starter for a more elegant dinner.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
3 cans (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons raw sugar (depending on how sweet the tomatoes are)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
Unsweetened whipped cream or sour cream for garnish (omit if vegan)
Heat a pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion and stir to cook for 3 or 4 minutes. When onion becomes translucent, add tomatoes and spices. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often and reducing heat to maintain a slow simmer. Using a hand held blender, puree the soup and adjust seasonings before serving. Top each portion with whipped or sour cream and pass hot pepper sauce around the table.
Hints: Leftover soup will get spicier the next day. Use fresh tomatoes if you like. And fresh basil in season. I often add a bit more salt to balance the sweet flavors. Hand held blenders are wonderful but you can puree in batches in a regular blender--just be very careful with the hot liquid.
Sophie's Fresh Mozz Sandwiches
2 slices rosemary olive oil bread per sandwich (or other artisan type)
1 to 2 ounces fresh mozzerella
butter or olive oil
balsamic glaze, optional
For each sandwich, place sliced mozzarella between bread. Grill with butter or olive oil on a hot griddle. Glaze can be put into sandwich on mozzarella or on top when serving or as a dip.
Hints: I use the back side of my waffle iron plates (they are reversible) but Soph makes these with a George Foreman grill. A Panini maker would work great and an old fashioned skillet works fine--just flip the sandwich once.
Cooking makes a strange house a home faster. Meals like this that are flavorful, aromatic and soothing work best. Easy and familiar recipes help you get used to the nuances that every kitchen has with the least frustration. Sitting down with family and/or friends for an enjoyable meal also helps you feel at "home".