Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cherry Blossom Cake . . .

My sweet little niece turned a whopping 3 years old on Monday and celebrated with a Mulan themed birthday party. She asked me to make her "happy cake" with pink flowers on it . . . so we went with a cherry blossom themed cake to tie into the Mulan party.
Finals week is upon me so I will hopefully find myself in the kitchen more once this semester is over!!! I plan on doing some serious canning this summer . . . but hopefully I will do some serious cooking too! Happy cooking all! I hope spring is treating you well and that the allergy season passes quickly!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup

I came home from class freezing and craving soup!!! I browsed my kitchen and pantry and decided to live it up with homemade tomato and a toasty grilled cheese.
Eating grilled cheese is a rarity at our house since my hubby is not a fan of melted cheese (sigh . . . I know . . .) so this is my idea of living it up . . . homemade soup goodness and a buttery, toasty, melty sammie! I love making soup like this because the better the ingredients you use the better it tastes . . . and it is a great opportunity to concentrate on simple but DELISH flavors such as caramelized/roasted garlic, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes. This soup is easy, cheap and yummers!Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup
Recipe by: Emily
1 14.5oz can of Diced Tomatoes (I used petite diced . . . cooks faster)
1 14.5 oz can Italian Stewed Tomatoes (or you can use just 2 cans of diced)
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
2-3 cloves of Roasted/Caramelized Garlic (or 2 cloves of raw garlic minced)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Chopped Sun dried Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Chopped Basil
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 Small Onion, diced
Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and brown sugar. Cook onion until it begins to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Allow to cook until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and they look "dry" and shiny, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and basil and cook for a minute. Add the chicken broth, water, and Italian tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree with a hand blender or in a blender.

2. Return pureed soup to the pot and simmer until desired thickness is reached. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!
Adding a pinch of sugar at the end really brings out the tomato flavor, as does the balsamic vinegar bring out the acidity of the tomatoes and balances the flavors nicely.You can also add 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the end if you like.