roasted tomato basil soup and lemon basil gnocchi.

I’m not a huge fan of being approached at the gym. This dates back to my middle school days, when I would rollerblade around my lake and get honked at by creepsters with Ms. Frizzle fetishes. That’s never been the kind of attention I enjoy but at all. Also, I don’t like people looking in my general direction at the gym, or using and/or thinking about being interested in using any equipment I’m  looking to use at my leisure. I have rules.

A couple of nights ago, a trainer approached me mid-arm machine rotation. My first inclination was to hit him with the steely eyes until he cracked under the awkwardness, but his intro language was impressive. He was all, “I’ve been noticing that you’re in here every night doing the same things.” We started talking, and like five minutes later, I’m sold. So it’s something I’m considering, because my weak attempts at variety are…weak. For instance, I’ll move from the treadmill to the cybex one night out of the week. Also, I’ll do crunches now when before I was all kinds of opposed. It’s pretty clear I need a several hundred dollar boost :-/

Last week, I made some butternut squash and parsnip soup that I’m still bragging about. It was just about the most delicious thing ever, and it took me mayybe 45 minutes to make. I started with half an onion, which I chopped and cooked up in a giant pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I cooked these for about five minutes, and then I added chopped butternut squash and about three chopped parsnips. I cooked them all in the pan for about 15 minutes or so, and then I added 3 cups of vegetable stock, a couple tablespoons of butter, and salt and pepper. I brought it all to a boil, and then I reduced it down to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then, I hit the whole mix with my immersion (aka handheld) blender, which is like the poor man’s version of a food processor. Except it’s, like, infinitely better than switching hot soup back and forth in order to puree.

I brought it back to the stovetop, and then I added 1/4 cups of light cream to the pot. I’m pretty sure I’m the last person to discover how delicious cream makes soup, but it was just about the thickest most amazing thing I’ve ever created.

In other news, I’ve noticed a major shift from Mexican to Italian foods in my cooking repertoire as of late. I’ve been getting down with some pasta dishes, risotto, gnocchi, et al. The 20 degree weather that “feels like 7” is making me a total comfort food lovah.

Last night, I made some delicious gnocchi and roasted tomato soup. The gnocchi took like 5 minutes, but the soup was extra needy and took MUCH longer. I started by roasting some pearl tomatoes in my toaster oven with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Apparently using fresh tomatoes for soup is really unconventional, but aren’t they lovely?:

I sauteed half a Spanish onion in my giant pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, two cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. Once those softened, I added in my tomatoes with a cup of veggie stock and 2 cups of water, 1.5 tablespoons of butter, and a little chopped basil. I brought it all up to a boil and then took it down to a simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I boiled some salted water, and then added my gnocchi. They cook up all delicious like in just 2-3 minutes, so when they floated to the top I knew they were good to go. I drained them and then tossed in some olive oil, lemon juice and chopped basil, and then I topped it all off with some red pepper flakes. I have to have my spicy.

I immersion blended my tomatoes and such, which took so much longer than expected. I feel like it would have taken less bicep exertion if I used canned tomatoes, but I am a fan of worlds colliding. I brought the pureed soup back to the stovetop, to which I added 1/4 cup of light cream.

Kind of incredible, although they’re both a little camera shy. See below:


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December 2009
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