Roasted Tomato Coconut Soup

I made a very ambitious recipe this week. I found this recipe for creamy roasted tomato, garlic, and onion coconut soup months ago on Oh She Glows. I pinned it on my soups/stews pinterest wall, and have occasionally gone back to look at it since then, always thinking, “eh, that looks too difficult.” Not today though! I felt inspired to exert the time and energy needed, so I went to the store to pick up 5 pounds of tomatoes, 3 garlic bulbs, and the other necessary ingredients. I followed Angela’s recipe pretty much exactly so I won’t rewrite it, but here are my steps. I’ll put my notes at the bottom.

Part of why this recipe took so long was the time required to roast the tomatoes, onion, and garlic before even starting on the real soup. The recipe called for 5 lbs of roma tomatoes. 5 lbs turns out to be a lot:

photo 1(90)

As I prepared everything for roasting, I set the oven to heat to 400°. I cut the tomatoes in half, arranged on a baking tray, and sprinkled with salt.

photo 2(88)

Like I said, 5 lbs is a lot! I also sliced the onion, arranged on a tray, and then drizzled with olive oil:

photo 4(71) photo 5(64)

Roasting the garlic was definitely the most educational part of this experience. I’ve never roasted garlic before, but it was pretty easy to follow Angela’s garlic-roasting tutorial. First, you peel off the loose layers of the garlic:

photo 2(81)

This step was actually probably the most difficult for me since I wasn’t quite sure what qualified as a loose layer and what didn’t. Aren’t all the layers kind of loose?! Then, you cut off the tip so the cloves are exposed:

photo 3(81)

Place on a sheet of tin foil and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil on each bulb:

photo 4(70) photo 1(84) photo 2(82)

Then, wrap up the bulbs and place in a small baking dish:

photo 3(82)

Once everything was prepped for roasting, I stuck it all in the oven. The onions cook the fasted, and I took them out after 30 minutes:

photo 3(87)

I cooked the garlic for about 15 minutes more (so a total of 45 minutes) and then removed them:

photo 4(77)

You can know the garlic is done if the tips are golden. I probably could have cooked it a few minutes longer, but they looked pretty good to me. The tomatoes took another 30-35 minutes still, so they were in the oven for about a total of 75 minutes.

photo 3(84)

I probably could have cooked them even longer, but I was getting a little antsy since already things were taking a long time.

My primary comment on the original recipe was that the quantities listed for the roasting stage were way too big. The recipe said to roast 5 lbs of tomatoes and three bulbs of garlic, yet the actual soup recipe only called for 3 cups of roasted tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic. There was A LOT leftover. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to eat it some other time. 🙂

To extract the roasted garlic, you basically just squeeze the bulb and and the roasted gloves will ooze out:

photo 4(73)

Make sure to let the garlic cool before you do this step! I let the garlic cool for about 20 minutes, and squeezing it was still so hot I burned my fingertips a little bit.

After taking out the necessary 2 tablespoons garlic and 3 cups tomatoes, this is all of the leftover:

photo 5(66) photo 5(67)

I combined the garlic, tomatoes, and full roasted onion in a large pot on the stove:

photo 4(74)

Added one can low fat coconut milk and 3 cups of chicken broth (this is an edit to the original recipe which uses vegetable broth):

photo 1(87)

Add two tablespoons of tomato paste and two teaspoons of garam masala:

photo 2(85) photo 3(85)

Mix it all together, bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes:

photo 4(75)

Use an immersion blender to puree:

photo 5(68)

And enjoy!

photo 2(87)

I served the soup with a side of black beans, cheese, and avocado. The soup was very good and definitely had a bit of spice due to the garam masala. There are six servings, which might start to feel like a lot for one person, but this could be a great dish to bring to a potluck!

Advertisements

Biking and El Nuevo Rodeo

Friday morning it was a beautiful spring day. Sort of like this…

beautiful Spring Day on a country road - spring Photo [source]

Okay, so I might be slightly exaggerating. But it was really nice outside and it seemed appropriate to bike to work. By 4 o’clock it had turned to this:

photo 2(49)

You might think it was just rainy, but it was actually more of a sleet/snow that turned to water when it hit the ground. Needless to say, by bike ride home was not the greatest. I was not wearing appropriate clothing and I got soaked:

photo 1(50)

Oh well! After I showered and changed, I had dinner with some friends at El Nuevo Rodeo. It’s a Mexican restaurant in south Minneapolis on Lake Street. I hadn’t been there before, but a friend of mine had a deal for them from restaurant.com. Have you ever heard of restaurant.com? I hadn’t, but apparently it’s a groupon-esque sight for just restaurants. We started with chips and guac (obviously):

photo 3(47)

The guacamole was good and had hints of jalapeno and cilantro. I ordered fajitas for my main meal. I was very hungry when the food arrived, so I forgot to take a picture. They were good though. I’ve noticed that at a lot of Mexican restaurants they give you heaping portions of rice and beans with your meal. The portions at El Nuevo Rancho were much more reasonably sized. The fajitas came with meat (I got combo chicken and steak), onions, and bell peppers. They were delicious. Others at the table got flautas, chile relleno, and chicken mole enchiladas. I tried the mole sauce. It was very rich and tasty but might be a little dense if you eat too much.

We were there fairly late, and by the time we finished our meal it was happy hour. So as not to waste a perfectly good happy hour deal, one of friends ordered the Coco Loco – malibu rum, gin, coconut cream and pineapple juice served in a COCONUT!

photo 4(40)

Everyone at the table thoroughly admired the presentation. Overall, I liked the food, but I wasn’t so smitten that I would go back here as opposed to trying the Mexican food at another establishment. If anyone knows a great Mexican restaurant in Minneapolis, let me know!

 

Curried Onions and Eggs

I have been really into eggs lately. Specifically, soft-boiled eggs. They are a great protein source for lunch or dinner, they are SUPER easy to make, and they are incredibly versatile. Since eggs last a long time in the fridge, they are especially convenient for keeping around to use when there’s not a lot of other food in the house. Last week, I was preparing to leave town for 8 days (more on that to come), so I didn’t want to buy any meat or other protein that would go bad if I didn’t finish it. So, eggs were the obvious choice. 🙂 Here is how to make the perfect soft boiled egg:

Bring water in a saucepan to boil. You will need enough water to fully cover whatever number of eggs you want to cook:

photo 2 (2)

Once water is boiling, add in the eggs. You will want to use a spoon to place the eggs into the water. If you just drop them, there is a chance they will crack by hitting the bottom of the pot:

photo 3 (2)

Cover the eggs and simmer for 5 minutes (timing is important, so set a timer). Once the eggs are soft-cooked, drain the hot water from the pot immediately and refill with cold water. Let the eggs sit in the cold water for a few minutes:

photo 3 (1)

Once the eggs are cool, peel and eat or store in the fridge. These particular soft-boiled eggs were made to be served with…brown rice, curried onions, and spinach!

photo 2 (1)

The curried onions were also an “I don’t have a lot of food in the house and don’t want to buy more” concoction, and they turned out great. All you need is one yellow onion, a little butter, and some curry powder. Heat the butter (I used a couple teaspoons) in a skillet:

photo 4 (2)

Once the butter is melted, add in a few shakes of curry powder, adjusted to your spice preference:

photo 5 (2)

Add in the chopped onion:

photo 1(42)

Cook until translucent and beginning to brown, stirring frequently (it took about 10 minutes for me):

photo 2(41)

Put everything together…

step 1

step 1

step 2

step 2

step 3

step 3

Delish! Also, as a side note, the brown rice I used here was the quick cook kind. But, instead of using regular water to cook the rice, I used coconut water with a tiny bit of coconut cream. This gave a really nice flavor and a touch of creaminess that I enjoyed. I would recommend it as a pairing with curry and other similarly spiced foods.

 

Chocolate Granola Bars

I love chocolate. Big time. Why anyone would ever choose a non-chocolate dessert is beyond me. Given my affinity for the stuff, chocolate seems to find its way into my mouth pretty much every. single. day. Luckily, I am able to control my quantities, thereby avoiding any major health issues (so far…). Also luckily, I don’t need thick slabs of cake or ooey gooey brownies. I just need some chocolate in some variety. Plain and simple. Due to my indiscriminate chocolate taste, I like to experiment making chocolate recipes on the healthier side. Or should I say, the ‘healthier’ side?

I came across this recipe for chocolate granola bars by the Marathon Mom. They’ve been on my pinterest wall for quite awhile, so I decided it was finally time to give them a shot. I ended up tweaking the original recipe slightly given that I didn’t have all the called-for ingredients in my kitchen. Bonus: they don’t require any baking! full recipe below

First, melt a half stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat:

photo 1(34)

Add peanut butter and honey, and heat, stirring frequently, until melted:

photo 2(33) photo 3(32)

Add oats, flax, and shredded coconut:

photo 4(25)

And the best part….add the chocolate:

photo 5(20)

Stir to combine:

photo 1(33)

Scrape into an 8×8 greased pan and let cool in the refrigerator until set. Once cool, divide into 8 bars. Store in the fridge.

photo 3(30)

This recipe was incredibly quick, easy, and delicious. The peanut butter and oats make the bars pretty dense, so they are a super satisfying afternoon snack as well as a chocolate fix!

Chocolate Granola Bars
makes 8 bars
Ingredients
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used super chunky)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Method
Melt butter, peanut butter, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently.
Once melted, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Scrape into 8x8 greased dish and set in fridge to cool.
Once set, divide into 8 bars. Keep in the refrigerator.