Category: Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes or Back Porch Gifts are Best

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes or Back Porch Gifts are Best

Food-Soup, Zucchini

Fresh sliced cherry tomatoes are hidden at the bottom of the bowl for a surprise.

There may be more recipes for zucchini than anything else at this time of the year.  Long gone are the tiny, tender and sweet pencil-slim squashes of early summer.  Here now are baseball-bat sized –could I say clubs?–appearing on back porches, in countless loaves of bread, stuffed and broiled, or any of the above.

My basil died while I was gone.  Market had plants 3 for $10 this week. I’m starting over.

Since zucchini is my favorite vegetable, perhaps after asparagus… or maybe green beans…I just don’t care.  I’ll buy or take all I can get and never be tired of it.  Shredded, mixed with egg, onion, and a bit of flour, it’s a supper pancake served with grated cheese.  Slit open, scooped out — the moist innards sauteed with onions, garlic, and pepper–and refilled, I’m thrilled to stick it under the broiler under nearly burned and definitely crispy.  But what I really love to do is make soup.  Any kind. Especially with lots of fresh herbs  Which you knew.   (And the new soup book, Soups & Sides for Every Season truly is done! Available through amazon.com. (edited September 18, 2014)

If it’s a warm day, start early, and chill this soup.  Serve it from a pitcher under the trees in the yard with an icy-cold glass of rosé or pour it into a thermos to take to the park.  Warm it briefly and serve it in the dark of the cool basement watching “The Newsroom.”

Flowering dill.  If you live where dogs take a lot of walks, wash your herbs carefully!

Maybe you’ve been lucky and found some zucchini that somehow–perhaps anonymously– made its way onto your back porch.  As did I yesterday. Actually, I did know mine was from my Victory Garden next-door neighbor.  If not, grab an inexpensive basket full at the market.  Here’s how:

Saint Paul Mac-Groveland bounty

creamy zucchini soup with parmesan and cherry tomatoes

This simple, herb-filled soup is lovely hot or cold (see Cook’s Notes) and contains a surprise of fresh tomato added to the bowl just before serving. The tomato cooks slightly in the hot soup or provides even more textural contrast in the cold.  Along with some sliced fresh vegetables or whole wheat toast, this is a complete summer meal.  While it does contain some half and half and grated Parmesan, the calories are fairly low if you’re serving no other protein.

For vegan option, use vegetable broth and omit cheese and half and half.

               8 servings             3 Weight Watchers Points Plus              160 calories

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons each fresh basil, dill, and thyme, minced plus extra julienne basil for garnish*
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan cheese and half-and-half or light cream (omit for vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, assorted colors (can used chopped larger tomatoes)
Briefly heat (30 seconds) 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and olive oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrots; season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Stir in basil, thyme, parsley, dill, and bay leaf.  Let cook, stirring often, 5 or 6 minutes or until softening, adding garlic during last minute or two.
 

 Add zucchini and potatoes; heat through.  Pour in broth, cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender–another 15 minutes or so. Remove bay leaf. 
 
Using an immersion blender, puree in pot or very carefully pulse in batches in a blender or food processor and return to pot. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Stir in Parmesan and half and half, if using, and warm through.  Do not boil. 
 
Add a few fresh sliced or chopped tomatoes to each bowl; ladle soup over tomatoes.  Garnish with reserved basil.  Serve hot.

*Most any one herb or any combination will work if you don’t have all three in the garden.

Cook’s Notes:  For cold soup, let come to room temperature after adding cheese and cream, if using.  Chill for 8 hours or overnight, and garnish with tomatoes and basil when serving.
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For more great zucchini recipes, download  Lydia Walshin’s gorgeous new little and delightful zucchini ebook:
 
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Two-Dog Kitchen
 
At our Colorado house, Tucker (75 pounds) in neighbor Mike’s loving lap.
Sing a new song,
Alyce
38 Power Foods, Week 14 — Tomatoes — Photos from my Tomato Gallery

38 Power Foods, Week 14 — Tomatoes — Photos from my Tomato Gallery

Julia’s 100th Birthday post:  Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Spinach and Tomatoes
Just for fun this time, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tomatoes and tomato dishes  from both of my blogs …  Enjoy my crop!

Farro Salad with Canned Salmon (not on the blogs yet)

Egg and Egg White Omelet with Cottage Cheese on Toast

Basil-Tomato Egg White-Egg Omelet (not on blog)
My Little Shop of Horrors 2 Cherry Tomato plants

BLT Risotto

Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Guacamole Soup from my upcoming book, 30 Soups in 30 Minutes

  

Grilled Chicken Salad with Boccacini and Asparagus
Grilled Fish with Asparagus on Greens
Just making sure you’re looking.  No tomatoes, but a favorite picture!

Bacon Caprese with a Green Bean and Mustard Vinaigrette at Center
Linguine Caprese (from last Monday)
Grilled Eggplant and Sausage Pasta–made totally on the grill

Lunch Counter Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomato

 

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato under Grill Press

Proscuitto Caprese with Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Parmesan Chips (not on blog yet)

Closeup of above

My ribs.  My sauce.  Dave grills!

Rice and Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Egg White – Spinach Omelet with Salsa and Fresh Tomatoes

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato Sandwich

 

Chicken-Guacamole Salad with Fresh Lime Vinaigrette

Plain old tuna salad for Dave’s lunch
Diana Kennedy’s salsa

 

Sauteing cherry tomatoes for salad–I use the oil for the dressing
Eggs, tortillas and fresh salsa for breakfast
Fried Egg and Potato Salad

Not blogged, but Dave baked these breadsticks (made from my pizza dough) on the grill!
This is just any old salad, though it tastes just the opposite with Minnesota tomatoes.

Meatball Subs
Walleye Salad

Poached Egg Chef’s Salad

Egg Salad
Fish baked in tomatoes

These (above and below) are part of the BLT risotto preparation.

Tapenade Salad (w/ lemon vinaigrette)–a summer favorite of mine

Sole on Leeks with Salad  (also on Food52)
Ratatouille

Alyce’s Homemade Tomato Soup with Fried Cheese
Tomatoed Cod with Spinach
Ratatouille-Steamed Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Spinach

For information on the wonderful things tomatoes do for your body (besides make it happy,) visit LiveStrong.   Thank for reading the blog today!
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I blog with a great group of food writers on Fridays as we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: 

  Read more about beautiful tomatoes this week at these sites:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Anabanana – adobodownunder.blogspot.com
Alanna –  http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/
.
Join us:

If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
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These are my own recipes (with noted exceptions) and can be found on this blog or on my blog Dinner Place, Cooking for One. unless otherwise noted.
Photos/all copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012

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two dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

Today’s activity:  brush, trim, bath, shake, dry on back porch, brush.   Repeat.  Don’t like it much.

Sing a new song,
Alyce

38 Power Foods, Week 11 — Spinach — B"L"T Risotto

38 Power Foods, Week 11 — Spinach — B"L"T Risotto

Bacon, Spinach (the “L”), and Cherry Tomato Risotto
As a kid, spinach was not my thing.  It was that slimy stuff Popeye ate.  I didn’t care if he was strong.  If I had to eat spinach, I didn’t want to be strong.  I wanted nothing that slid whole cloth out of any can.
My own first child adored spinach.  By then, we’d reached the American culinary stage of  gorgeous gooey-cheesy baked spinach casseroles with crispy crumbled crackers on top.  Enabled by grocery store freezers filled with vegetables year-round, we chopped, mixed, added soup or cheese, and threw stuff into ovens to our heart’s content.  We were eating vegetables, weren’t we?  And we liked anything with cheese or sour cream or dried onion soup mix.

Fast forward to our awakening to spinach as a cold-weather vegetable.  To Fed-Ex produce departments continually full of the dirty stuff.  (Spinach was filthy then and still is if you grow it yourself or buy it at the farmer’s market.)  Press again and see the last few years of  clean “baby” spinach in plastic boxes we don’t know what to do with.  (Whole Foods recycles them, by the way; our own recyclers don’t.) 
However we’ve had spinach, it’s been pretty good for and to us.  Full of iron, vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene and vitamin K, this dark leafy, inexpensive and accessible green is beautiful!
Here spinach is mixed with baby kale for a powerful side.
I eat spinach nearly daily:
Herb-Spinach Egg White Omelet

If I don’t make an egg white omelet, I make salad or have spinach instead of lettuce on a sandwich or..

Alyce’s Tomatoed Cod on Fennel with Sauteed Spinach

 I might pair it with fennel as a side for my fish.

Yesterday, my tomatoes (volunteers left on their own for the summer) were picked by a neighbor and deposited on my back step.  She knew I’d been away; she’s a gardener.

These were volunteers from the yard and driveway.  I left them to see what’d happen over the summer. They took over the side bed.

Hybrids ready to eat; they were pretty tasty!

 Hot on the back porch, the tomato scent wafted dizzily through me when I reached down and picked up the container.  What to do with them besides pop one (ok, three) in my mouth as is?

My larder isn’t full yet; we’ve only been home from Colorado for a couple of days.  I did, however, have bacon in small packages in the freezer (one of my mainstays), rice in the pantry, and spinach (which serves as the L in BLT) in the frig.  Way back in the corner was an old chunk of Parmesan our house sitter hadn’t eaten.  B”L”T Risotto was born.  Need I tell you this was the risotto from heaven? (Neighbor got a bowl, too.) Try it today:

b “l” t risotto

2-3 pieces bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
1T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup white wine
4-5 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Set table before you begin.

  1. In a heavy 4 qt saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until nearly crisp and remove to a paper-towel lined plate leaving bacon fat in pot.  Set aside.   Add butter and onion to the saucepan.  Cook 4-5 minutes until onion is softened; add garlic and rice.  Stir in crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.  Stir well to coat rice.  Cook 1 minute or so. 
  2. Add white wine; raise heat a bit.  Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until wine is absorbed. 
  3.  Add 2 cups warm chicken stock and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.   Repeat.  Add last cup of broth (if rice is still too hard to eat–you want it between al dente and fall-apart tender.) Please relax about constantly stirring the risotto.  Pour a glass of wine, turn on the music, and stir only as necessary.
  4.  Stir in tomatoes, Parmesan, spinach, and reserved bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  
  5. Serve hot with steamed green beans or asparagus. (See below.)   Pass black pepper at table. 

I liked a crisp grassy Sancerre with this, but I like a crisp grassy Sancerre with almost anything.  Chardonnay, which is lovely with creamy dishes, would also drink.

    Note re seasonings:  The heat of the crushed red pepper is one that will build in your mouth as you eat the risotto; be careful not to add too much black pepper at the end.

    Cook’s Note:  For ease of preparation, here’s how I do the asparagus or beans in the microwave while the last cup of broth is cooking away in the risotto pan:

    Just 2 minutes for rinsed (no more water) asparagus on high:

    Beans will take a couple of extra minutes unless they’re haricots verts.  Add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of pepper.

    Sing a new song; eat risotto, too,
    Alyce