For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Monday, December 17, 2012

SLO Roasted Soup

I recently took the plunge and signed up to run the half marathon taking place as part of the San Luis Obispo Marathon next April. 

As we all know, some training days are good and others are less than optimal. 

Over the weekend, my body succumbed to a bug that left me feeling lethargic and in need of nutrients. Funny how the body works—it always knows what it needs. 

So here is a recipe that I created based on what I craved. A spicy, delicious, make-your-kitchen-smell-good-soup served up comfort style with a toasty grilled cheese sandwich. 


Enjoy. Keep warm. Stay healthy. 

SLO ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 pounds tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 of a large onion, sliced
1 whole bulb of garlic (unpeeled)
2 jalapeños, sliced with seeds removed (unless you really like it hot!)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
32 oz. vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
4 slices sourdough bread 
Several thick slices of your favorite cheese (I used a cheddar Gruyère combination that I found at a local specialty store)
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, wash tomatoes and jalapeños. Cut out stems of tomatoes and cut in half. (If you have jumbo-sized fruit, quarter them). Slice jalapeños in half and scrape out the seeds (wash your hands afterwards!). Place the tomatoes and jalapeños in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. 

Peel and slice half an onion and sprinkle over tomatoes. Put a whole garlic bulb in the center. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place in the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. 

After time is up, sprinkle oregano over tomatoes and stir. Set timer for another 30 minutes. Stir again when timer buzzes.Remove the garlic bulb to cool. 

By this point the medley of ingredients should be getting soft, juicy, and developing all kinds of wonderful flavor. 
If your tomato mixture doesn't yet feel soft and squishy and bubbling in its own juices, set timer again for another 30 minutes. When time is up, take the dish from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. 

Get your blender out. 

Pour the tomato mixture (including juices) into the blender with 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Blend for just a few seconds (don't over-pulverize as this soup benefits from a bit of texture). Pour into a large soup pan on the stove top with the remaining broth and crank up the heat to high. 

Tear open the garlic bulb and squeeze the roasted mash into the soup. It's a messy job, but somebody's got to do it!

Once the soup comes to a boil, turn heat way down and simmer on low-medium heat, uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir and taste intermittently, adjusting for
seasonings. You might need to add more salt, pepper, and oregano depending on your preferences. 

Once the soup is simmered down and flavored to your desire, turn it down to low heat. 

Crank the oven back to 350°F. Get out a baking sheet, your bread, cheese and olive oil. Drizzle the outer sides of your grilled cheese sandwich with oil. Place 2 slices (oil-side down) on the sheet and layer with cheese. Top with the remaining bread, making sure the oil-side is up. Place in the oven for 8 minutes, then turn the sandwich for another 4 minutes. 

Remove from oven.  Ladle soup into a bowl and serve with toasty sandwiches. 

Dipping optional. 

According to Andrew Weil, M.D., he contends that eating tomatoes cooked with a little fat yields the most health benefits. 
Get some lycopene!

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