Facebook Tomato Soups

A friend asked for quick, easy tomato soup recipes for her son to try making for himself. These are what were offered in 30 minutes.

1. Bake tomatoes in oven with garlic and onion, once cooked put in blender with chicken stock and purée til smooth. Stir over low-med heat for 10-15mins until reduced.  Add basil, too.

2. 4 large tomatoes, cut them in 4 sections. Dice an onion, you could add garlic for taste, spices of your own taste, and a chicken broth cube. Add water, boil until all ingredients are tender. Blend in a blender… add some whipped cream. Enjoy

3.  2 Onions, 1 clove garlic, small potato, pound of tomatoes or more, squirt of tomatoes paste. Sweat onions and garlic in butter 1min. Add tomatoes and cook for twenty mins with chicken or veg stock cube. Try and get as many of the skins out while it’s cooking then blend.xx

I’m going to play with this later.

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Pickled Okra

1 pint jar packed tight with small, whole okra
Boiling vinegar
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes

Stuff a clean jar with whole okra, dump in the red pepper flakes, cover with boiling vinegar, screw on a clean, new canning lid. Flip it over so the heat from the vinegar seals the jar.

I have been reminded that a little garlic, whole or sliced, is a nice addition.

I think I waited a week before I tried the first jar and they were lovely.

Watermelon Pickle

All pink removed, parboiled for 45 minutes.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1/2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.


Watermelon rind pickle isn’t a tradition in my family.  I’d heard of it but didn’t taste it until I was an adult.  To my surprise, they are very much like my Nanny’s sweet cucumber pickles. I have a friend who remembered them fondly from her childhood.  But they were made by her aunt’s friend and she never got to see how they were actually prepared.  We decided to see if we could figure it out.  She collected rind from friends so that we didn’t have to wait for me to get around to eating a watermelon and I started playing in the kitchen.

The internet was only slightly helpful.  Everybody does it differently.  I tried to determine common denominators (they are few) and went from there.  What you see above is what Diane and I decided is our preference.  I am putting the experiments here to share what I tried and know to be tasty or a really, really  bad idea.  Save yourself a couple of failures.

Each experimental batch used about 2 c of watermelon rind with the pink and the skin trimmed off (unless otherwise indicated). This gave me a pint and a half to taste.

1) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
4 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice

1 hour at medium heat/simmer.

Rind did not get clear and I got tired of waiting for that to happen.  Got incredibly sweet raisins. Threw the whole thing out. Water appears to be necessary.

2) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice
30 minutes on medium/simmer

These were good but not clear.

3) No brine. Parboiled. After an hour and a half, the strong white was gone and I was tired of messing with it.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

4) Didn’t take off all the pink. Didn’t parboil. Didn’t brine. (This is the Alton Brown variation.)
Solution:
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c vinegar
1 1/4 c water
2 Tbsp pickling spice

Bring soln to a boil, add rind, bring a second boil, let sit for 30 minutes, jar up.

This is spicier than the others and less sweet.  Diane doesn’t actually like watermelon, just the pickles and thought it was nasty because she could taste the watermelon.

5) All pink removed, parboiled for 45 minutes.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1/2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

After this, I was done.  To my great delight, this was it.  When Diane tasted this, her eyes lit up like a menorah on the 8th night.  We’re set.

Pizza!

My friend, Tiffany, shared this.

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 teaspoon white sugar (or Splenda®)
• 1-and-a-half cups warm water (about 110° F)
• 1 tablespoon/packet active dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1-and-a-half cups all-purpose flour
• one-half cup of cornmeal (My personal tweak — makes the crust better!)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.

Stir olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the flour and cornmeal until dough starts to come together. Tip dough onto floured surface and knead until all the flour has been absorbed and the ball of dough becomes smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl (I coat the sides of the mixing bowl I used, rather than dirty another bowl), cover with a kitchen towel, and let stand in a warm place until the dough doubles in size (about one hour).

Tip dough back out onto floured surface and divide into 2 halves for thin crust pizza, or leave whole for a deep-dish style pizza. Form into tight ball(s) and let rise for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both fists and gently pull edges outward while slowly rotating the dough. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well-oiled pizza pan or screen. Spoon your favorite sauce (I make my own from canned tomato sauce, minced garlic, chopped onions, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) onto the crust, then add toppings (meats, veggies, cheeses). I use cheese with 2% milk fat, for less saturated fat; it’s healthier, and better for one’s cholesterol numbers.

Bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness, how fast your oven cooks, and how crispy you want your crust). Ideally, the crust should be crisp and golden at the edges, and cheeses should be nicely melted on top.

Enjoy!

Pickled Beets

Recipe from a friend: 

3-4 pounds beets
1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar
2 or 3 cloves of garlic.

Bake the whole, washed, beets in a (I forgot to look at this, but
this is about the only temperature my oven knows) 350º oven until done-
-longer than you think, an hour or a little more.  On a cookie sheet
or a broiler rack.

Towards the end of this time reduce the 1 1/2 cups of vinegar on top
of the stove down to 3/4 of a cup.  Keep watching it.  Too much below
that and you end up with burning carbon.  It's pretty nasty, and
Balsamic Vinegar is too expensive to waste.

Peel and chop the slightly cooled beets, put into a bowl, add (and
toss with) the still-hot vinegar and finely chopped garlic.

Pungent and wonderful.

Cheater’s Chicken Pot Pie

This is a recipe from my meat-eating days.  It is wonderful for people who don’t think they can cook and can’t really afford to eat out all the time.

Look by the whomp biscuits in the refrigerated section of your grocery and get a box of pie crusts. They come 2 in a box. Get some boneless chicken (2 breasts, 1 breast and 2 thighs, 4 thighs, whatever variation appeals to your taste buds.) 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. (if you don’t like COM, use cream of chicken) 1 can of either mixed vegetables or peas. (Or a cup of frozen) That’s one of those whichever-you-prefer things. I liked peas with mushrooms or peas with pearl onions.

Put one crust in a pie pan. Start the oven preheating to 350ºF. Cut the raw chicken into bite sized pieces. Drain the vegetables and mix all the chicken, veg and soup together and dump it into the pie crust. Put the second crust on top and pinch the edges together. (That’s why you want that kind of crust instead of the frozen ones.) Cut a couple of vent holes in the top. Put the pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch any leaks.

Bake it for an hour or until the entire top is golden brown. (Depending on your weather that can be plus or minus 10 or 15 minutes.) Let it sit for about 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven.

Even if it isn’t perfectly beautiful, it is tasty and filling.


My friend, Tiffany, gave me this variation:

In the absence of the pie crusts which Kitty mentioned, you can make Chicken Pot Pie the way I do it. Get all the ingredients mentioned in her recipe and put them in a deep baking dish.

Then, place the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 stick margarine

Stir together in the mixing bowl, then pour the mixture over the other stuff in the baking dish (but don’t stir again after pouring it over).

After baking at 350ºF for 50-minutes-to-one-hour, you will have a pot pie with a soft, biscuit-like topping instead of a flaky crust! :ello_smiley:

Oh, and if you only have “plain”/”all-purpose” flour instead of self-rising, just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a couple of generous pinches of salt.

Cilantro Chutney

Instructions from my co-worker, Vinu Patel, because you cannot stop cilantro from  growing in our herb bed:

Handful of cilantro.  (The way he held his hand looked like about 2 cups.)

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, 2 if you like it hot.  (That’s too much for him.  He thinks one is plenty if you use jalapeno.  If you use the long, red Indian pepper, use 2.  HE thinks they aren’t as hot.)

Little salt.

Little sugar

Little lemon juice. according to your taste. Less salt than lemon and sugar. (I would start with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp each of lemon and sugar.  He held his fingers about an inch apart when he was telling me)

If you have, a little fresh ginger and little cashew nut.

Taste it and adjust it how you like it.