Tag Archives: Garden

Summer-Meets-Fall Tomato Soup

To me, nothing says fall like the return of comfort foods like soup and chili.  Not only can you pretty much include whatever ingredients you like but they’re easy and can be made in big batches for yummy leftovers.

Since tomatoes are still in season and plentiful in both stores and gardens, homemade Tomato Soup is one of my favorite summer-meets-fall dishes. I wasn’t always a huge fan of tomato soup but I discovered that a freshly flavored (and healthy!) homemade version is impossible to resist.


Summer-Meets-Fall Roasted Tomato Soup
2 lbs fresh tomatoes, mix of Roma, vine-ripe (whatever looks good)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sherry
1/2C half & half
4 Tbsp butter
2 bay leaves
fresh basil, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 450. Roughly chop fresh tomatoes and onion. Mix together on a baking sheet with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 minutes until peeling and soft.
Move the tomatoes, onions and garlic to a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat on med-high. Add canned tomatoes with juices, broth, butter, bay leaves, along with vinegar and sherry, to taste. Use a potato masher to smash up the chunks and simmer on med-low for 10-15 min.

Remove the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Or use a standard blender/food processor and work in batches to puree soup to a semi-smooth texture. Add half & half and basil, stir well. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Return to your childhood by serving with grilled cheese! Let soup simmer while you make your sandwich and garnish soup with parmesan cheese to serve.





Filed under Cook, Garden, Main Dish

Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Panini

It is just about the end of tomato season and the last of my tomatoes have all decided to ripened at the same time. This has, of course, caused my family to go on a week long tomato eating binge because I can’t stand to see any of them go to waste.

One of my favorite end of summer meals to use up these mouth watering beauties is a tomato and fresh mozzarella panini. They are quick, easy and oh so good.

You only need 3 ingredients.

Fresh tomato moz- small

Ok, well 4 if you include butter or olive oil.

Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Panini


Fresh Mozzarella

Crusty French bread

Olive oil or butter

Just cut up some good French bread and slice up your tomato and fresh mozzarella. I usually seed my tomatoes by cutting them in half and giving them a good squeeze over the sink so they don’t make my bread soggy.

Then layer your tomato and mozzarella slices in-between the bread, butter or oil the side you will grill and grill them up in a grill pan or Panini press. If you don’t have either of these, then just grill them up “grill cheese style” in a frying pan.

Fresh tomato and motz sandwhich - small

They are the perfect end of summer sandwich.


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Filed under Cook, Garden, Quick & Easy

A Slice of Garden? Yes, Please!

Zucchini can be a crazy little plant. Last week, after zucchini pasta, zucchini quiche and eight loaves of zucchini bread, I found myself wracking my brain for ways to use the unending pile of squash sitting on my counter. Desperately I wondered “if it works in bread, could it work in a pie?”

A pure zucchini pie seemed like a stretch so I strolled around the farmer’s market until I came across a bag of small baking apples.  Yes!  It would be apple pie but not! Toss in some fat, juicy raspberries and suddenly it would be not only a great use of my garden bounty, but a “haute” apple pie for my first post – slightly offbeat and definitely desirable.

091409-1Apple-Raspberry-Zucchini Pie

Double Pie Crust:
(or feel free to use your own crust!)
3C flour
1 1/4C shortening
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1C ice water (you may not use it all)
1 egg, beaten

1 bag of small, tart apples; peeled, cored, thinly sliced
3-4C zucchini; peeled and thinly sliced
2 pkgs raspberries
1/2C sugar, plus extra for dusting
¼C brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375. Peel, core and slice apples and zucchini, keeping slices of similar thickness for even baking.  Place on baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice.  Toss over zucchini and apple slices, coating evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes or until fruit is slightly soft.  Let cool while making your crust and gently stir in raspberries.

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Separately, combine vinegar and ice water.  Cut the shortening in grape-sized chunks into the dry mixture. Begin adding water to the dry mixture, 1-2 Tbsp at a time as you use your hands (take off any rings first!) or a scraper to work the shortening into the flour.  Continue adding water until all the flour is worked in and dough holds together but is not  sticky (you may not use all the water).  If dough gets too sticky, dust in more flour.  Divide the dough into 2 balls and place each ball between 2 sheets of floured waxed or parchment paper.  Roll out each ball with a rolling pin until it is flat and large enough to cover a pie dish.091409-2

Place one rolled crust in the bottom of the pie dish and pour in the fruit filling.  Gently place the second sheet on top.  Pinch together the edges of the two crusts using your thumb/forefinger and other thumb to push the crust into a “U” shape.

Use a knife to create 6 ventilation slits in the top crust.  Brush a beaten egg over the crust and dust with sugar.  Bake at 375 for 45-55 min. until crust is lightly golden in color, rotating the pie after 25 minutes for even baking.

The verdict: Delicious!  The zucchini really takes on the flavors of the other fruit and has a consistency that’s nearly identical to the apples.  It received positive reviews from my husband’s pleasantly surprised family.


Filed under Cook, Garden, Treats