I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside, all I want is soup to warm me up! Tomato soup is one of my favorites, but so many soups have either a lot of sodium, a lot of fat, other additives I’m not too happy about, and a lot of dairy, which I usually try to stay away from for personal health reasons. That’s why I love to make tomato soup at home! It’s simple, delicious, and I can put exactly what I want in it. And this creamy, slow-roasted tomato soup is full of layers of deep, mellow flavors from roasting the tomatoes, garlic, and basil, plus a little sweetness from a special ingredient! It’s healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free and the perfect soup to warm you up on a cold winter day, sandwich or no!…
I’m still on the “fresh beginnings” bandwagon with this post. And if you’re looking for fresh, this salad is it! Light, fresh, refreshing with the bright flavors of citrus, the mild flavors of butter lettuce, and a beautifully light vinaigrette. This has to be one of my favorite salads of all time and because I’ve been craving salads lately, I’ve made this over and over again in the past two months. Whether you’re eating healthier because it’s January, or you just like salads, this salad is perfect!
If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-make Thanksgiving side dish, you won’t find a better one than these herbed smashed potatoes! And you will definitely not be missing out on taste just because you’re going for simplicity instead of slaving for hours over the stove or using a gazillion ingredients (which is sometimes what it feels like).
The first time I had romesco sauce was on a trip to San Francisco to visit old friends. We had lunch at Greens, a well-known vegetarian restaurant at the Presidio. I ordered their roasted veggie slab, an enormous freshly-made ciabatta sandwich piled high with roasted veggies. To this day I remember how amazingly delicious that sandwich was and how beautiful the view of the bay and the Golden Gate from our table next to the big picture window (no fog that day).
Besides the ciabatta and the perfectly grilled vegetables, what really made the sandwich so memorable was the romesco sauce. It was this perfectly sweet, yet savory, yet slightly spicy spread that added an entirely new dimension to the sandwich.
Thus began my love affair with romesco sauce.
Romesco sauce, or salsa romesco, is Spanish in origin, specifically the Catalonia area in North West Spain. Legend says that the fisherman of Tarragona (the specific town in the Catalonia region from which romesco is supposed to come) would make this sauce with a mortar and pestle to eat with the fresh catch of the day.
It’s rich, creamy, and absolutely full of bright, sweet-roasted-savory flavor. It’s such an amazing addition to any meal you can roast on the grill, like vegetables, chicken, beef, corn on the cob, broccoli, in a salad, on a roasted veggie sandwich… (I should probably create a recipe, come to think of it…). Also, of course, it goes well with fish. One word of caution: because it’s such a strongly flavorful sauce, I wouldn’t use it with anything too delicate, like a mild-flavored white fish. The romesco would just end up being overwhelming and the only thing you could taste.
It also lends itself perfectly to the inclusion of farmers market produce, especially tomatoes and peppers. It’s what I used to make the romesco in these pictures. It just adds that special addition of sweet (and sweet pepper) flavor. Thus, this farmers market romesco.
I admit, this recipe isn’t as simple as most of the recipes I post here—definitely not a set-it and forget-it type of sauce. You have to prep and roast many of the ingredients. It’s absolutely worth it, though, and if you’re already grilling, why not add a few more ingredients?
There are also two ingredients you may not have but are pretty essential to give this recipe its taste—smoked Spanish paprika and sherry vinegar. The smoked paprika gives the sauce a deeper, smoky flavor and the sherry vinegar gives a slightly acidic but mildly sweet addition. A vinegar like balsamic would be too strong, in my opinion.
Also, you’ll need to roast peppers and peel them. If you need more information, you can look at the blog on roasting green chile and follow the instructions there—the result will be the same no matter what pepper you use.
- 1 slice of day-old crusty bread (gluten free works very well if you so desire)
- ¼ C of almonds
- 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 tomato (or a cup of little ones)
- ¼ C. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
- Salt and Pepper
- Toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat, stirring often, until just golden.
- Toast the piece of bread until golden.
- Roast the peppers and tomatoes on the grill or under the broiler until soft or, in the case of the peppers, charred all over, about 20 minutes (but check often).
- Put the peppers into a plastic bag or into a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skin from the peppers along with the core and seeds.
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. You can add any seasoning to taste.
- Romesco sauce can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
It takes a bit of prep, but I promise it’s completely worth it–we’ve been eating the batch I made last week on pretty much everything–no joke!
‘Till next time!
I really love baby bok choi. It’s such a versatile vegetable and its mild taste lends itself to a variety of flavors and cooking techniques. And during Meyer lemon season, I love adding the bright, tangy/sweet juice and zest to almost everything (this mix between a lemon and a Mandarin orange can be found in stores from late fall through early spring, like squash!).
This recipe for baby bok choi with Meyer lemon makes for a bright, citrusy, savory mix that makes my tastes buds dance. The Meyer lemon juice adds a perfect note next to the mild bok choi and the spices, and the slight bitterness from the char combine perfectly for a burst of flavor!…
This sweet and spicy maple roasted butternut squash is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty with a pinch of heat. Roasting brings out the deep color and richness of the butternut squash, and the crispy edges from roasting add an extra layer of flavor. It’s a perfect fall side dish next to almost anything, even mixed in with a salad!
Summer means an enormous bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables in supermarkets and in farmers markets. Right now in our fridge we have a huge carton of ruby-red cherries, organic strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and a watermelon on the counter just waiting to be cut open.
I think I get abnormally excited about summer produce. It’s all just so fresh and bursting with unabashed flavor. It’s perfect to eat on the back patio in the cool of a late, lazy summer evening melting into night.
Yes, I am that person who waxes poetic about food.
So, as promised in my spring produce blog back in April, here is my guide to what’s in season during the summer months!…
What? No Tips for Cooking Dried Pasta ?
I know, I know. But I’m going to take a short break from the Pasta Primer because 1) I’m in the middle of moving kitchens (and will be for a few more weeks-it’s a long story), and 2) because my pasta maker is still packed away somewhere. It’s also why posts are going to be every two weeks for a little while.
So, as promised in the spring produce blog, next week will be all about summer produce. Before that, however, I thought I would cover the basics of organic food. The very, very basics.
Buying organic produce and other foods can be a touchy subject depending on who you talk to. My goal here is to give you information so you can start on your own path to figure out what’s best for you and for those you cook for….
So Cinco de Mayo is coming up (can you believe May starts on Friday?!). We don’t really celebrate it because 1) it’s a Mexican holiday vs. New Mexican, and 2) I’m not the biggest fan of going out and dealing with a lot of crazy (and probably drunk) people. So yeah. But, for those who want to celebrate at home or have a party to go to (on May 5th or any other time), here is an incredible recipe for fresh, flavorful, and delicious guacamole!
I mentioned it in last week’s blog about spring produce, but we absolutely adore asparagus in our house. We get (probably unnaturally) excited when the first bunches of thin, woody green shoots appear in the grocery stores. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we buy asparagus nearly every time we go shopping throughout asparagus season.
We throw asparagus into stir fries, eat it with eggs on the weekend, boil and shock it and throw it into salads. I’ve even made asparagus soup.
Our favorite way to have asparagus, however, is roasted. It’s quick, super simple and tastes, so, so good. Really! It’s only four easy steps….