Tag Archives: peppers

Chilled Soup for Dr. Suess

10 Apr

Chilled Tomato and Yellow Pepper SoupAt the end of the month I will be catering a large VIP event for the school that I work for. The PTO holds an annual auction that has an option that allows you early access to the event plus cocktail and appetizers. In the the past this event has been catered by the PTO. Usually a parent steps in and takes on the job. However, this year, they’ve asked for my help.

I’m very excited for the opportunity. You see, I have also donated a dinner party to be auctioned off at the event. Last year, my dinner party sold for $800. And that was without anyone tasting my food. This year, since I’ll be doing the event prior to my dinner party coming to the table for bidding, I’m hoping to raise at least $1000 for the school.

I’ve been given free reign of the menu, with one catch. The theme of the auction is Dr. Suess and so the foods should be colorful and whimsical. On the menu I have things like; green eggs and ham (wasabi deviled eggs with crispy prosciutto), Bratwurst sliders, Black bean and green chili empanadas, a fruit and brie display, cheese ravioli with deconstructed pesto, chilled shrimp with bloody Mary cocktail sauce, and the recipe I tested tonight, chilled tomato and yellow pepper soup.

I always love being at events that pass soup. I’ve had tomato soup served in martini glasses with a pimento cheese garnish, gazpacho, and minted pea soup. There are the fruit soups (a.k.a smoothies) and other chocolaty liquids served in mini bowls or shot glasses. I just think it’s refreshing and unexpected. I knew I wanted to do a colorful soup and I knew I wanted it to be layered. I love chilled tomato soup. It’s light and refreshing and so different than the thick cloying tomato juice that you are probably thinking of. I also love yellow peppers. They are sweet and juicy and taste delicious. Viola! The soup concept was born.

For the Tomato Soup:
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Concasse 2 beefsteak tomatoes
Step 2: In a hot saute pan, heat 1/2 a medium shallot and 1/2 garlic clove
Step 3: When the garlic and shallot start to become arromatic, add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

For the Yellow Pepper Soup:
2 large yellow bell peppers
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 med shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Roast the shallot and yellow peppers in the oven for 30 minutes
Step 2: Put the peppers and shallots in a plastic bag and zip shut until the peppers are cool enough to handle
Step 3: Peel the peppers and add everything into the food processor
Step 4: Puree in a food processor
Step 5: Season to taste
Step 6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour

Gently layer the tomato soup on top of the pepper soup. I like to serve soup for a crowd in shot glasses. It’s fun and little so your guests don’t feel like they are eating too much before the main meal. I garnished with basil oil and a few leaves. On the night of the event I think I’m going to garnish with chive oil since the basil oil has a tendency to blacken if not properly pureed.

I think this one is a real winner.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Gorgeous Soup

3 Dec

So I had all of these peppers roasted from earlier this week, and although I had been playing with them, roasted red pepper soup sounded like a great dinner tonight. After work, I picked up a few small balls of mozzarella and melted them on top of toasted french bread.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 cups roasted red peppers
1 small shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 spring fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup cheery tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Garnish:

Balsamic reduction
Toasted crostini with melted mozzarella

Sauté garlic and shallot in hot olive oil. Add in peppers and cook for 10-20 minutes. Add in stock, paprika, and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes and puree with an immersion blender. Serve hot and garnish with crostini and balsamic reduction.

The soup was beautiful in it’s simplicity. Sweet and slightly spicy. The vinegar added enough acidity to compliment the sweet peppers but didn’t overwhelm the soup. The crostini added crunch and the cheese added a bit of chew and fat that helped the flavor of the soup linger on the palette.

In the past I have communicated my love of soup, but tonight, it seemed to be the perfect answer to the dinner question.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

Roasted Red Peppers

1 Dec

Making roasted red peppers at home is super easy. Before I learned this simple technique, I would spend upwards of 3 to 4 dollars on a small jar of roasted red peppers at the grocery store. I know that buying red bell peppers in the produce department isn’t exactly cheap, but if you can get them in bulk at the farmer’s market, making your own roasted red peppers is the way to go.

Give your peppers a good wash and heat the oven to 375. Toss the peppers in a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the skins are starting to brown and blister. This same technique can be used on any type of pepper and is particularly fantastic when roasting poblano peppers and jalapeños. So now you have the hot peppers and what do you do with them? Well the easiest thing is to transfer them to a glass bowl (using tongs of course) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool to room temperature and then gently separate the skin and seeds from the flesh. Once the pepper is peeled, it’s ready to use.

I like to use mine is all different ways. This afternoon I sliced a few up and then tossed them into linguini and broccoli rabe. They are fantastic on a sandwich, with grilled chicken, provolone and arugula. You can also swirl these bad boys into soup and toss into a salad. But one of my very favorite ways of using roasted red peppers is in romesco sauce.

Romesco sauce is a traditional Spanish sauce or dip that is similar to pesto. All you have to do is puree 1 roasted red pepper with 1 tablespoon of almonds, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 clove of garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Serve this as a dip for vegetables, or chips. It’s also great on pasta, mixed into mashed potatoes or polenta and as a topping on steak or fish. Honestly, how many sauces work on both fish and steak?

Next time you’re looking for a simple way to save and a great ingredient to spice things up, try roasting your own peppers.

Always thinking of the next meal,

-Katie

Yes, I do love sausage

10 Nov

IMG_0935One of my favorite all time meals is sausage and peppers. It’s rustic and beautiful. The sweetness of the peppers and the onions make the spices in the sausage sing. A match made in heaven.

When I make my version I use plenty of mild Italian sausage with lots of fennel and black pepper. I made this last batch when I was up visiting my brother. On his recommendation, I went to this little Italian market called Lino’s. If you are in the neighborhood, it’s a must. They make 3 different kinds of sausage in house. I bought the mild and was delighted to find huge pieces of peppercorns, garlic and fennel seed inside. They also used natural casings so when the sausage cooks, it makes the sausage crisp up on the outside. It was also very moderately priced at 2.29 per pound.

Back to the recipe. I like to make lots of extra onions and peppers to go with the sausage. Maybe it’s the idea that if I eat more vegetables I won’t feel as guilty eating the sausage. When making the dish for more than 2, adjust the ratios as necessary. Here’s what I do:

Sausage and Peppers

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 large red bell pepper, julienne
1 large green bell pepper, julienne
1 large yellow onion, julienne
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the sausage into 2-3 inch pieces and sear in a hot pan. Let the sausages cook for 10- 15 minutes and then remove from the pan. Add the peppers are onions into the pan to sauté. Let cook until soft and season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage back into the pan and heat through.

Now, how do you complete the meal? Well I serve mine with my mom’s recipe for garlic roasted red potatoes. But you could certainly serve it over pasta, or rice. It is also fantastic served on a hoagie roll with a little brown mustard. Like I said this a rustic dish that should be treated that way. No need for fancy sauces or plating. Just serve it. The flavors are warm and hearty. Great for the cooler nights of late fall and early winter.

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie