Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quick Tomato Soup

Native to South America, it took a little time for this fruit to gain acceptance as a food (treated as a veggie today) in the U.S. and Europe. Today, the tomato is an integral part of our lives and many of the worlds cuisines. Sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and sweet basil is one of my favorite summer side dishes. Look at the other recipes that depend and rely on a few good tomatoes to build character in a bowl....gazpacho, minestrone, ratatouille and of course, tomato soup.

For the soup
4 cups tomatoes
1/2 C. medium chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
1/4 C. chopped carrots
32 Oz. of chicken broth, I used low fat
1 t. salt
3 T. butter, salted
3 T. all purpose flour

Gently saute the onion, celery and carrots until soft. Add tomatoes and simmer ten minutes. Add (cooled) cooked ingredients and process until smooth. Add flour and butter to medium size pan to make a roux. Whisk continuously while adding 1 cup of the broth. Slowly add the rest of the chicken broth, stirring well. Incorporate the tomato base to the broth and simmer.

This soup takes very little time to prepare.....so tasty with some warm, crusty French bread.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh Sweet Madeleines

There are two cabinets in my kitchen that I avoid with a passion ~ where the pans are....(Connie Francis came to mind). I never seem to be able to keep the pans organized or lined up! This afternoon, I decided enough of this clanging around every time I go to grab one and to my surprise, I found my Madeleine baking mold. It's the silvery silicon model, but still remains top on my list for being able to remove the delicate cakes without harming them.
The recipe I followed came from 101 Cookbooks.com. I was particularly interested in the butter method that was suggested. It worked like a charm.....for a fleeting moment I imagined myself in Paris, parked on a sidewalk somewhere, sipping coffee, savoring my little cake and watching the day go by.

The part about the butter was interesting. I usually just melt the required butter and toss it in. This time, I melted 1 1/2 sticks of butter on a medium fire and heated the butter until it turned brown and gave off a nutty, delicious aroma, taking about 20 minutes. I kept repeating to myself, "I am actually frying this butter."Indeed I was! Then using a paper towel, stuffed into a mesh strainer, I removed the solids that appeared from the liquid unsalted butter. The butter was clear and hot and needed to cool to room temperature. I loved the aroma! When the butter had cooled, I gently folded it into the egg and flour mixture, stirring just enough to bring everything together.
The outcome was better than I hoped for. I even managed to stuff one, the Madeleine that is, into the mouth of my favorite UPS person as he handed me a package at the door, a package from my French sister...........

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ah, modern technology!

When camping in the Serengeti, you won't always find the modern conveniences of home, but it worked perfectly! This was our chef, amazingly talented with limited means, but consistently creating the most delicious meals. The dish washing crew really kept things shinning!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Coffee Time in Tanzania

The ladies in this picture have gathered the dried coffee beans from the drying and sorting boxes and now the beans are ready to be shipped and roasted. Of course, I had to have a cup first! No modern means of production in sight~just a lot of hard back-breaking work for hours at a time.