Thank you to those of you who provided great St. Louis recommendations! You have been so helpful. Greg will be a busy boy, once he gets the actual trip reason out of the way. I want to go. Sigh.
Time has been flying by so quickly that I didn’t realize last Sunday was our one year anniversary of our wedding reception (our actual one year for the ceremony was November 24th) that we held back home in Indiana. I remember things like this. I don’t celebrate it but I think recognition is nice to remind myself that I’m getting older. That’s not actually why I do it but that’s what happens when I’m sitting with Greg on the couch, in the evening, sipping some wine and suddenly, I’ll cry out “oh my god, I’m getting older” and commence freaking out. Tick tick.
Wow, I just joined reality. Hey reality, how are you doing? Not so well. Yeah, the economy…yeah…yeah…bu…hmmm (can I get a statement in)…alright, see you later. That is how I imagine the “talk” would go, like a bad meeting with a friend that has nothing going right in life.
It’s almost mid-March. My mom-in-law’s birthday was the 3rd, our reception was a year ago, my parent’s 25th anniversary is Monday and my bro/sis-in-law’s anniversary is coming up at the end of this month. We were in California for their nuptials almost a year ago and it feels like it was a month ago. That was a good time.
While reading, a few weeks ago, Peter Berley’s 2007 The Flexitarian Table, I was quite entertained but not “woo hoo, I’m on a trip” entertained. I found at least 10 recipes that I will try or have tried so that’s pleasant.
In case you are wondering what a flexitarian is, it’s someone that eats meat occasionally but relies on a somewhat vegetarian diet (there are several different forms of vegetarian diets)…so pretty much someone that is still a carnivore that eats veggies, grains, fruits, and so forth (minus over-processed foods). The label doesn’t make sense but describes me, if I were into labels. I think it describes quite a few people but I’ll get over it because despite the diet categorizing confusion, this book has some great recipes and I recommend you check it out-really check it out, I found it at my local library.
I don’t know about you but I hoard as many recipes as I like for one particular dish, such as, tomato soup, shepherd’s pie, cakes and on and on. I love how varied the ingredients can be and the resulting unique flavors of each recipe. (Sometimes something that reads well turns out to be a culinary disaster-we’ve all been there.)
I would like to share one of my new favorite tomato soup recipes from this cookbook: smooth tomato soup with goat cheese crostini. This one had me at crostini because in my mind, tomato soup goes with a cheese sandwich or some version of cheese and bread together. I doubled the recipe and made half of the tomatoes fire roasted but otherwise, it’s wonderful in its original form. After trying the soup, we were impressed with the simplicity, velvety consistency and complex-in-a-good-way meal this provided.
Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini from the Flexitarian Table
Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled (left whole)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
large pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
14 oz. canned whole plum tomatoes
14 oz. canned fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 (2-inch) orange zest (pith removed)
1 sprig fresh sage (sage really made the soup for me)
4 oz. goat cheese (I think you could just buy herbed goat cheese and top the baguette after toasting the bread.)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onions and ½ tsp salt. Stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until onions are softened. Add the garlic, carrot and pepper flakes, lower the heat to low/medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are juicy and sweet but not browned. Keep an eye on this.
Add the tomato paste, stirring, cook until the oil turns reddish orange, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, broth, orange zest and sage. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, discard the zest and sage, and puree the soup with an immersion blender or food processor, working in batches, until smooth. Add back to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Crostini: In a bowl, use a fork to mix together the goat cheese, olive oil, thyme, lemon zest and black pepper until smooth. Slice the baguette on a bias into 4 to 6 1/3-inch slices. Lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes. Spread the toasts with the goat cheese mix and serve on the side of the soup or floating on the soup.