Friday, August 27, 2010

Tomato Fennel Soup Recipe

Tomato Fennel Soup

Photo Credit: Jon Sullivan

*Cooking oil                                        (2 tsp./10 ml)
Chopped fennel bulb (white part only)  (2 cups/500 ml)
Chopped onion                                    (1 cup/250 ml)
Minced garlic cloves                            (2 cloves)
**Chopped tomatoes                          (28 oz./796 ml)
(any kind, as long as they 
are sweet and delicious!)
Chicken stock                                     (2 cups/500 ml)
Balsamic vinegar                                 (2 tsp./10 ml)
***Granulated sugar                           (1 tsp./5 ml)
Salt                                                     (1/2 tsp./2 ml)
Pepper                                                (1/4 tsp/1 ml)

*I used olive oil. I don't use any other cooking oil. Works every time.
**The recipe actually calls for a can of diced tomatoes (with juice), but if tomatoes are in season, for pete's sake, use those please!
***I halved this recipe, as it is designed to serve six and I only wanted to serve three. It worked perfectly, three medium-sized bowls of soup. I used one sugar cube (I don't have loose sugar as I don't bake). So two sugar cubes would work for the full recipe.

1. Heat cooking oil in large saucepan on medium.
2. Add fennel, onion, and garlic. Cook for approx. 10  minutes, stirring often, until onion and fennel are softened.
3. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil.
4. Simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender.
5. Carefully process in blender until smooth.
6. Makes about 6 cups.
7. Eat and enjoy.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (not what you may think...)

Grilled Cheese is a classic. The classic comfort food (feel free to dispute!). And like all classics, whether it's a Led Zeppelin song, Beethoven's Fur Elise, or the grilled cheese sandwich, putting your own spin on it-making a cover of it, so to speak-is not only welcomed but encouraged in my world.

Yours truly enjoying an American Grilled Cheese
@ The Grilled Cheese Grill Food Cart in the Alberta Arts District, Portland, Oregon

(Yes, if it ain't broke don't fix it. But, you see, I'm not trying to fix anything, or re-create it, or say that something was inherently or at all wrong about the original. I'm just doing my thing, inspired by the one and only original. That's what I call respect.)

Anyways, my mum and I went out for a detox spa treatment today and I decided a few days ago that I was going to treat her and my boyfriend to a homemade special lunch.

The Hungarian Grilled Cheese Sandwich
courtesy of  all you need is cheese 

The menu: Tomato Fennel Soup & Hungarian Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Yum!
Total Ingredients: 10 and 4, respectively
Cost: low
Difficulty Level: 5/10 (easy!)
Deliciousness Level: 8/10 (yum!)
Customer Rating ("customers" being my mum and my boyfriend): 4.5/5 (grand success!)

Even on a summer's day (perhaps not a plus-30 one) this meal would make for a great lunch! Making soups and sandwiches are seriously fun for me; they always seem less daunting than grand dinner dishes that I take one look at and turn away from in disdain. (I was looking at a Thanksgiving cooking course the other day and as soon as I saw that a recipe for a whole oven-baked turkey was going to be part of it, well, let's just say I'm not considering that class anymore.)

The soup recipe is from Company's Coming Soups cookbook and the sandwich is from the 2010 Fall Issue of all you need is cheese. The former you can easily find in any bookstore (or Zellers, or Home Outfitters, etc.) and the latter is free in many grocery stores. I will include both recipes in a following post for your thorough enjoyment.
P.S.: This issue of all you need is cheese is dedicated to the grilled cheese, so eat your heart out from the basic Italian panini to the more decadent Curry Me Brie by Chef Paul Rogalski or the seriously luxe French Toast Grilled Cheese by Chef Melissa Craig of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Farmers Market Dinner, from beginning to end

Gosh golly gee. It has been over a month since I've posted on my blog.

As you can see, this post has to do with goods purchased by yours truly from the farmers market-the Main Street Station Farmers Market-to be precise, run by the Vancouver Farmers Markets, that were cooked and then joyously eaten by myself.

I'm toying with the idea of having a regular weekly or bi-weekly posting on the farmers markets. Thoughts?

For now, here is a photo of beautiful tomatoes from Celyddon Farms and my grocery list and farmers market dinner:

Location: Main Street Station Farmers Market

Groceries Purchased:
six organic Sunrise Apples; Golden West Farms
four-pack Tree Hophouse Butter Chicken Sausages; Beer Brats
one bag of salad mix, one head of Music Garlic, small bag of baby broccoli; Ice Cap Organics
one fennel bulb, two small sweet onions; Cropthorne Farm
two Pink ______ heirloom tomatoes; Celyddon Farms

Hole in the Wallet:
small, only $30 spent!

Farmers Market Dinner Made:
two pan-fried Beer Brats Butter Chicken sausages with fried Cropthone Farm onions and Ice Cap Organics Music Garlic, and lightly sauteed Ice Cap Organics baby broccoli! Delish!