Tomato Soup on “Meatless Monday”

I love all kinds of tomato soups, even the kind in the can!   Smooth and creamy tomato soup is fast and easy to make.  This soup can be “accessorized” with garnishes like my cheese bread croutons, creme fraiche, or even some baked bacon bits with chopped hard boiled eggs.  This is a versatile soup, it can be eaten piping hot or at room temperature.  Any way you like to eat your Tomato Soup,  here is a good, easy recipe to try.  Let’s Cook!

Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A fast, easy recipe for an all time favorite soup

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Ingredients

2 large cans, 12 oz plum tomatoes with juices (note, I used San Marzano)

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 celery stalks chopped

2 sweet onions

1 small red onion

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp  sugar

2 cups water

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

small piece of fresh hot pepper (optional)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

thyme sprigs to taste

Sea salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

heavy cream (optional)

Directions

-In a medium size soup pot, add the olive oil, garlic, and chopped onions, lightly brown the garlic with the onions stirring, careful not to burn the garlic. (If adding heat add in the hot pepper here).

-Add the chopped carrots, celery and the plum tomatoes with their juices.

-Add the water, sugar, salt, pepper, basil and thyme

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-Stir together, allow to simmer for at least 35-40 until all the vegetables (carrots and celery) are soft

-Using an immersion blender, or regular blender (in batches) blend until creamy and smooth

-Adjust salt

-If adding heavy cream stir in now

-Serve plain with Savory Cheese Bread croutons,  creme fraiche,  bacon and hardboiled egg or just with a sprig of fresh thyme

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

 

 

 

“French Onion” Potato Salad

Hi everyone, I am sure lots of my American friends are getting ready for their Father’s Day BBQ’s.  Today, I have a recipe for a potato salad that we made on my recent visit to Pittsburgh, it was so tasty we made it twice!!  You might want to add it to your menu for tomorrow.  It is easy and really, really good, it reminds me of a big bowl of potato chips with French onion dip, only lighter….Let’s cook!!

French Onion Potato Salad with Yogurt

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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A light non mayo potato salad with lots of flavor

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Ingredients

5 lb of new potatoes, note I used 25-30 little potatoes

5 medium sweet onions

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

3/4-1 cup fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley chopped

3 cups plain greek yogurt i.e. Fage

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

-Wash and scrub the potatoes, add to a large pot fill with cold water add sea salt and bring to boil, cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potato.  A knife should be easily inserted when cooked, drain and let cool

-When potatoes are cool enough to handle peel and cut into quarters or eights, depending on the size of your potatoes, you will want large bite size pieces add to a large serving bowl

-While potatoes are cooking, peel and thinly slice your onions, cut the slices in half and add to a skillet, add olive oil and cook on a low heat, the goal is to gently cook the onions until they lightly start to caramelize.  Be patient with your onions allow them to cook slowly, you do not want them to burn.  When they are a light golden brown, take them off the heat and add them to the potatoesIMG_0226.JPG

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-Add the salt,  pepper and the parsley

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Add the yogurt and mix well.  Taste to adjust the salt

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Serve and enjoy

Bon Appetito!

Mickey

 

Melon Mango Salad

Melon and Mango Salad, I came up with this idea when I wanted something a little more than just the usual prosciutto and melon that we enjoy so much during the summer months.  When I serve this salad with prosciutto, I call it “Deconstructed Prosciutto and Melon”.  Not only does this go well with thinly sliced imported Prosciutto, but, can accompany grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin.  Its sweet, tangy, spicy, crisp…. we love this salad and hope you do too!! Lets cook!

Melon Mango Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A summertime favorite takes the simple prosciutto and melon to another level

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2 ripe mangos

1 ripe Cantaloupe melon

2 scallions

1 lb cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 lime

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 tbls balsamic vinegar

1 tbls white wine vinegar

1/2 fresh red hot pepper (to taste)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)

Directions

-Peel the mango and score diagonally on both sides cut the mango off it’s seed

-Peel and cut the melon into bite size pieces place both melon and mango in a serving bowl

-Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to mango and melon

-Peel and dice the scallions into tiny pieces add to melon

-Depending on desired heat, chop the red pepper into tiny pieces add to salad

-Add the chopped basil, the juice of both the lemon and lime, both vinegars and the olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and serve with imported prosciutto or with grilled pork

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

 

 

Cheese And Tomato Stuffed Eggplant

As promised last week, here is a stuffed eggplant recipe that was not only beautiful, but tasted great.  Eggplants, always so abundant in the summer months are probably one one the most versatile vegetables, they can be fried, grilled, puréed, sautéed and stuffed. Today, we will use this deep purple vegetable as a shell to hold a tomato and cheese filling . Let’s Cook!!

Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Eggplant

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Great as a side dish, appetizer or even as a main course

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Ingredients

4 Globe eggplants

1 Sweet onion

2 Garlic cloves

1.5 lbs of ripe tomatoes

3/4 lb Scamorze cheese

Fresh oregano

Parmesan Cheese

2tbls Extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling

Fresh Basil 
-Cut the Eggplant in half, with a knife carefully leaving 1/2″ border cut along the shape of the eggplant, with a spoon,scoop out the pulp leaving 1/2 along the bottom


-Cut the pulp into cubes place in a colander add salt and let sit for at least 1/2 hour

-Chop the garlic, add 2 tbls olive oil sauté until lightly brown on medium heat

-Chop the onion, add to the garlic and sauté until onion becomes translucent, add the eggplant mix well and continue sautéing until eggplant softens

-Chop the tomatoes into cubes or in quarters if using cherry tomatoes, add to the eggplant mixture

-Salt and pepper to taste, add fresh oregano, mix well

-Take the mixture of the heat, add the scamorze 


-Line a baking dish with parchment or foil, fill the Eggplant shells with the filling and place into the baking dish generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil

-Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on oven) until eggplant shell is soft but still holding it’s shape and cheese is melted and golden


-Chop a handful of fresh basil and sprinkle on top

-Serve and enjoy

Buon Appetito!

Mickey

Meatless Monday… Chunky Lentil Stew

Another Meatless Monday, another Meatless Monday recipe. A nice, chunky lentil stew, I like to make a semi-Thai version lots of Cilantro, coconut milk to add creaminess, and  a little Curry powder for some flavor depth.  On a hot Summer day, this stew can be enjoyed at room temperature.  Try adding some avocado slices with basmati rice and you have a delicious meal.  Let’s Cook!!

Chunky Lentil Vegetable Stew

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A filling Lentil stew filled with flavor

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Ingredients

4 Carrots

1 large onion

2 Red peppers

1/2 Butternut squash

4 stalks of celery

2 scallions

1 1/2 Cup of dried lentils

1 Can of whole tomatoes

2 Cups of Vegetable broth

1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh hot pepper to taste

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 can of coconut milk

Curry powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a soup pot, add olive oil, chopped or crushed garlic lightly brown.  Add onions, scallions, hot pepper,curry powder continue to cook until onions become translucent, add lentils

Clean and chop all vegetables into bite sized cubes add to onion mixture, add tomatoes in their juice, broth, salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer for about 45 minutes until lentils and vegetables are soft

Stir in coconut milk and cilantro

Serve with avocado slices and basmati rice

Buon Appetito!

Onion Soup with Two toppings, Savory Cheese Bread or Classic Toast Topping

Two things you need when making Onion Soup, lots of onions and lots of time . Today I am making a Onion Soup and serving it with two different  toppings.  The first, is the classic version, with it’s crusty, cheesy French bread, the second version is with a large savory, thyme scented gruyere cheese bread crouton.  Give them both a try.   Lets Cook!

Onion Soup with Two Toppings

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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The longer the onions cook and caramelize the deeper the flavor

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Ingredients

For the soup:

1/4 stick of butter

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs of yellow onions

1/2 lb scallions

1 tsp sugar

1 cup of dry white wine

6 cups of broth (vegetable or beef)

1 tbls flour

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the Savory Cheese Bread:

1 lb grated gruyere cheese

1 cup of all purpose flour

2 tbls baking powder

1 tsp salt

8 large eggs

1 tbls finely chopped fresh thyme

For the Classic

Loaf of Crusty Italian or French bread

Grated Gruyere Cheese approximately 1/4 lb per ramekin (to liking)

Directions

-Peel and slice all the onions and scallions as thin as possibleIMG_1309.JPG

-In a soup pot, add the butter, olive oil and on a low heat cook the onions for 20 minutes until they become soft stirring often you do not want the onions to brown, add the sugar and continue to cook on low heat for at least another 25-30 minutes.fullsizeoutput_48

When the onions start to caramelize (turn a golden brown) add the white wine, turning up the heat, add the flour, stirring until it is mixed and dissolved into the liquid

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-Add the broth, salt and pepper to taste, continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes

-Serve with French bread or Crouton topping; both recipes below

Gruyere French Bread

Spoon the soup into an ovenproof ramekins, cut the baguette into 1- 1 1/2 ” slices (for a crunchier version) lightly toast the bread on both sides, (softer version) place the sliced  bread directly onto the hot soup, grate the cheese directly onto the bread  place the ramekin under the broiler watching closely as you melt the cheese to golden brownIMG_1323.JPG

Savory Cheese Bread Crouton

-Butter a Jelly roll pan and cover with parchment paper

-In a bowl add cheese, eggs, baking powder, salt, thyme and flour, mix well

-Pour and spread mixture onto the jelly roll panIMG_1313

-Bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes (convection) the bread should be golden brown and an inserted toothpick should come out clean

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-With a pastry ring, cut into large circular croutons, place onto hot soup

 

-Serve the Onion Soup with either the Savory Cheese Croutons or the Classic French Bread and Cheese

Buon Appetito!!

Mickey

 

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

A recipe example of “Less is More”.  I am amazed that something so simple can be so good.  I make versions of this Crunch all summer long, everyone loves it.   The first time I tried this salad was at the home of a friend, she served just cucumbers and herbs to accompany our aperitivi, what a great idea!!  This is a fun way to use all the herbs from your garden all summer long,  try it!!

Cucumber Radish Herb Crunch

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Letting the veggies sit in the lemon herb salt for at least an hour increases the flavor

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Ingredients

3 large English style seedless cucumbers or 5 firm long homegrown cucumbers

10-12 large radishes

Herbs of choice  mint, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano.  chopped yielding at least 1 cup

Sea Salt 2 heaping tablespoons course grind (*Salt is our friend in this recipe…..the salt is the most important component but it must be Sea Salt Course grind)

2-3 large lemons or lemons and limes

Directions

-Peel and Cut the cucumbers, if seedy scoop away the seedy area cut into finger size pieces

-Clean radishes and cut into halves or quarters

-Add vegetables to a bowl, add the juice of your lemons, limes or combination of both

-Add salt

-Chop together all your herbs and toss them into the bowl with the cucumbers and radishes

-Let sit in or out of the refrigerator

-Serve as snack or as a salad

Bruschetta with Tomatoes

Everyone needs to have this in their recipe boxes.  Bruschetta, this  one, topped with tomatoes (the CH is pronounced like SK,  please!!).  A grilled piece of garlic rubbed Italian style bread topped with chopped fresh tomatoes.  Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I served it along with  baby buffalo mozzarella balls as an appetizer, it was a big hit!  I like making it early in the day so the tomatoes become flavored with the garlic, olive oil and basil.  Lets cook!!

Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Basil

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Always good to have this as a go to recipe, put it in your recipe boxes

Ingredients

2 lbs of ripe plum tomatoes (* I used Piccadilly tomatoes)

2 large cloves of garlic peeled

4 tbls extra virgin olive oil (Imported)

Sea Salt course ground

1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped

for the bread:

12 large slices of Italian style crusted bread

3 tbls olive oil

2 cloves garlic crush

 

Directions

  • Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in quarters then chop into even sized pieces, place in a serving bowl
  • Add the olive oil, generously add sea salt to taste
  • Cut the garlic in quarters and add the pieces (*if they are visible you can remove them before serving)
  • toss in the basil
  • Let sit at room temperature, the tomatoes will breakdown a bit, and the flavors will develop.

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For the bread

-Heat grill pan, gas grill or the oven broiler

-In a small bowl, add the olive oil and the crushed garlic, mix

-With a pastry brush, lightly brush one side of the bread with the garlic oil and grill.  Grill or broil the bread watch it carefully it browns very fast, brown both sides of the bread

-Serve the bread oil side up and spoon the tomatoes with their juices onto the breadfullsizeoutput_3e

-Enjoy

 

Buon Appetito

Mickey

 

 

Chive Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

Here is a light take on a favorite summer side, Potato Salad.   A Meatless Monday recipe that also works for summer cookouts , these potatoes are easy to prepare, light and healthy.    I love adding lots of fresh chives, they add an light oniony crunch along with a beautiful dark green contrast.   Pack your picnic basket with, Chive potatoes,  Tangy Grilled Chicken Tenders in a Garlic, Basil Lemon Oil Marinade or Thyme-burgers  and your ready for Summer.  Lets cook!!

Chive Potatoes with Greek Yogurt

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Light and Healthy version of a Summer favorite

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Ingredients

8 large potatoes or 16 small potatoes

2 containers of plain greek yogurt (* I used 0% fat)

3/4 cups of chopped fresh chives

Sea salt fine and course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Scrub the potatoes, put them in a pot, add cold water, course sea salt, bring to boil.  Depending on the size, potato cooking time will be 10-15 minutes after water boils. The potatoes are cooked when a knife inserts easily. Drain and let cool.
  • When potatoes are cool , peel (optional), slice into large bite size chunks, place in a large bowl
  • Add the yogurt, salt (fine) generously to taste and fresh ground pepper
  • Add the chives and mix wellFullSizeRender 14
  • Serve at room temperature

 

Buon Appetito !!

Mickey

 

 

 

Grilled Eggplant with Basil, Parsley and Garlic Oil

Grilled Eggplant is a great summer side dish, cover it with lots of fresh chopped basil and parsley seasoned with garlic oil.   If you are lucky to find the long eggplant use them, if not, the large globe eggplants will work too.  Another fast and easy recipe, just give yourself time to salt the eggplant so it can expel some of it’s water before grilling.  Let’s cook!

Grilled Eggplant with Basil, Parsley and Garlic Oil

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Nothing says summer, like vegetables on the grill, try this delicious eggplant recipe, so much flavor

Ingredients

3 large globe eggplants or 6 large long eggplants

1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt course grain

Directions

-Cut the eggplant into 1/2″ slices lay them in a colander, generously salt the layers, allow the eggplant to rest for 1 hour to expel its water

-chop together the basil and parsley, place in a bowl

-add the garlic (either minced or pressed), and the olive oil to the parsley and basil leaves, mix and let sit IMG_1265

-heat the grill direct heat, medium low

-Place the eggplant on the grill, each side should take about 3-5 minutes,with tongs, carefully turn

-Place the hot eggplant on a platter and pour on the herb oil mixture, try to coat all the pieces with the herbs

-As the eggplant sits it will absorb the oil and herb flavors, can also be served at room temperature

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Buon Appetito!

Mickey