Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meatless Monday: Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup



Yes, dear readers, I am one of those suburban moms who convinces herself that she has a life because she is in...a book club. It's pathetic, I know. But at least my book club actually reads the book assigned, and we avoid the Oprah recommendations. It's piss-small solace, but it's enough for me.

The Divas Book Club meets every six weeks at Chez T. It wasn't always so; members used to rotate turns hosting. But then I gave birth to Miss M. and started having "babysitter issues." In short, there were extremely few people willing to babysit my almost 4-year-old with "newborn anger" and a needy baby. I kinda didn't blame them. I didn't want to watch them, either.

Thus, I ended up hosting every time. I provide the basics: soup, salad and bread. The other members bring wine, appetizers and dessert. It works pretty well, although the lax attitude towards the RSVP in Colorado once led to a meeting with soup and about 10 desserts. But believe me, nobody complained.

In the four years that I've been making soup, several challenges have been thrown into the mix. One member was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Another couple of members are cutting meat from their diet. Suddenly, the good old Chicken Noodle standby was no longer an option.

It's been an interesting transition, but I enjoy the opportunity to try new recipes out on them. This is the one they always come back for.



Zingy Roasted Tomato Soup



4 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and halved
1 medium onion, diced
1 quart vegetable stock
1 10-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup half and half (optional)
Creme fraiche or sour cream and fresh chopped parsley to serve

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place the fresh tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast until charred, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.

In a large stockpot, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and heat on medium-high. Saute onion until translucent. Add stock and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Add roasted tomato, garlic and jalapeno to pot. Simmer 15 minutes. Add roasted red peppers and cumin; cook 5 minutes more. Cool slightly, then blend with an immersion blender. If using, stir in half and half. Bring gently back up to simmer and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls with sour cream and chopped parsley.

43 comments:

  1. The soup sounds perfect for these cold winter nights.

    So, what's the book you're reading now? (I love the name of the club! My philosophy is that if you're in anything with the word "diva" in it, you do have a life!)

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  2. Sounds warming and delish! I can just imagine dipping my grilled cheese in it :) And I actually want to be in a real-life book club where people meet in real life (as opposed to on the computer. duh).

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  3. The soup sounds perfect! Looks good too.

    Our book club is Tuesday and my turn to bring treats. The host provides drinks and 2 or 3 peoples brings snacks and such. We never do Oprah books, not our style. We each read what we like then talk about the books we've read. Some girls read 4 or 5 books, then there's April and me who are lucky to finish one. One time we all read The Secret Life of Bees.

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  4. Okay, this looks delish. (And I am a vegetarian so I'm glad to benefit from the fact that some of your book club members have decided to go meat-free.)

    I am in the world's worst book club. No one reads the book. Ever. Except for me. I'm a good girl that way. Maybe I'll start commuting to Colorado and join yours...

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  5. i LOVE tomato soup.
    roasted tomato soup? all the more.
    mm looks awesome dear :)

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  6. Looks delish...but hey it's not Monday yet :)

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  7. Just the look of this is enough to make me want to crawl in, warm up, swim around, hunker down, and hibernate RIGHT THERE for winter.

    For the sake of propriety (and cleanliness) I wouldn't do that. However, I will wish I were capable of making this soup. Looks incredible. AND it's red.

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  8. I wanna be in your book club!!!! Not fair!

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  9. Your book club sounds amazing. I have a book to recommend for your May or June soiree :)

    Moliere said, “I live on good soup, not on fine words.” I love good soup. And I love fine words. Here, I get both!

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  10. Ooo! A book club! What're you reading?

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  11. I'm pretty sure just reading about this soup has helped cure my cold. Of course, I skipped the line with the jalapenos. Baby food, remember?

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  12. *Laughing* yeah, I know it's not Monday yet but Monday mornings are a FreakShow here (and it's gonna be 2 degrees in the morning, which means extra layers) so I thought I'd get a leg up!

    This month, we read an awesome book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Usually, we pick paperbacks, but we were so excited about this one that we made an exception. Worth it. I stayed up late and blazed through that sucker in 3 days.

    I will welcome any and all suggestions...And I'd also like to know, readers, what is your favorite book and what book makes you want to run and hide?

    Longtime readers will know that James Joyce and I aren't buddies (except for his short story "The Dead," which I happen to love.) So I will hide from Ulysses and stomp my feet in favor of "Sweet Dream Baby" by Sterling Watson--a book I got skinned for, but I love, love, love it.

    Pony up, Caterpillars...what books do you love? Or hate...

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  13. Yum. Can I join the book club? Please? Ours has pretty much dis-banded. Except for Jen and I cause, well, we're related and all.

    Have we done the book group book list yet? No? History of Love by Nicole Krauss. A good one. And Olive Kitteredge good for book club, too. Jen will have a few others....Jen? Where are you Jen? Helllooooo?

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  14. This soup sounds delicious! One question, is there a way to substitute the spicy ingredients for more mild ingredients? Trying to stay away from spicy has really thrown me out of my groove.

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  15. Ambrosia and Falling: you can totally leave out the jalapeno! It will still be delicious, honest! All of the roasting going on with the veggies packs plenty of flavor.

    Sarah: loved Olive Kitteredge! Wasn't sure I'd like it, but once I cracked the cover? Awesome.

    Wish all of you were close by so you could drop in and yammer on and on about books with me...and those of you who are in LAME book clubs, I think the solution is to start your own. That's what my friend Annette and I did.

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  16. Ah yes, "newborn anger". I have a little nephew who as soon as he could stand up in the cot would inch as close to the baby monitor as he could get and then scream down it, waking his parents up in the most terrifying fashion.

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  17. I love soup - my boyfriend's sister calls me 'soupy' because of it. This sounds very nice...I've always wondered about a bloody mary soup...has anyone ever done that? What book are you guys reading now then? xxx

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  18. Hey lady, that soup looks grand. Especially on a cold wintry day. I need to join your book club...funny, I have a post coming up sometime soon about how I don't do book clubs. But maybe if they promised food like this, I'd change my mind.

    I've been to exactly one book club gathering. One. And the only reason I walked in the door was because I LOVED the book and my friend talked me into going with her...Peace Like A River by by Leif Enger. Check it out.

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  19. Soup on a cold day/night! That is what I have been saying here lately. Saturday it was homemade turkey noodle soup, Sunday chili, last week potato soup. YUM! Will have to add this to my list. Maybe for Tuesday night.

    Books! Oh this is hard for me since I began working for a small publishing company. I just finished two mysteries which would both make for quick reading: Show No Fear by Perri O'Shaughnessy (review at http://nickisnook.net/2009/11/23/book-review-show-no-fear/ and caveat that one of the authors is my cousin) and The Sketching Detective (published by company I am working for, http://jackmccormac.com/). I am also a huge Jan Karon fan and a good number of her Mitford series come with book club guides.

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  20. This soup is totally going on the vegan month list.

    It's impossible to pick a favorite book, but I love Ruth Reichl's books. She combines food and real-life scandel. I love it.

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  21. It's finally-- finally!-- soup weather here. Although not 2 degrees. Moderation.

    I hate Oprah books. Except for the ones I like. And I just read "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by an author whose name escapes at the moment and I'm too lazy to look it up. An Oprah book. Picked it up against my better judgment. Loved it. Which goes to show that I shouldn't trust myself.

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  22. I'm reading that same book, and I am loving it! Actually, I downloaded the unabridged version and it's one of the best narrators ever. As for the soup-- right up my alley. You know I'm a soupaholic.

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  23. You know, those book club members are really lucky to have a freakin' brilliant chef hosting their events. I hope they know that. Because if it were at my house, they'd be having goldfish crackers and Campbell's soup.

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  24. This is one of my favorite soups (though I'll admit I get mine in box form). It is time to try making it from scratch! Ah how I wish I had a book club with people who enjoyed wine and soup. That sounds divine. A favorite right now is "The Art of Possibility". It was so good I think I'm going to re-read next month.

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  25. First - great soup! My son and I love, love, love tomatoes. This will be fun to try!

    Second - am loving the book, The Help. Just started but it's one I'm having a hard time putting down. The dust bunnies are taking over but I don't care!

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  26. I wish we had a bookclub around here that actually reads the books.

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  27. Yum! Wish I were closer to join your anti-Oprah book club! ;)

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  28. OMG, this soup is right up my alley! When I first met my husband, I made classic Chicken Noodle Soup and homemade bread. He had a big bowl full, and probably three giant pieces of bread with butter.

    I cleaned up, sat down next to him to order a pay per view movie, and his response was "What's for dinner!"

    Hence, when I make soup he needs a burger on the side! :D

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  29. Soup is a staple around here. Even in the summer. We're preparing for two weeks of travel for the holidays, so we're throwing everything perishable in the fridge into soup this week. Roasted turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, fennel, celery, onion, carrots, fresh thyme, and some extra chicken thighs so there's meat enough to go around.

    Dietary restrictions at hosted events are complicated. Believe me, we know! Since we're the people who make things tougher on the host (prediabetes and reactive hypoglycemia = mandatory low-carb eating), we try to bring something to share so the host won't be thrown by the list of verboten ingredients.

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  30. It just started snowing here and I was out hanging lights. Now I am cold and hungry. This soup looks *perfect* for this cold weather. Now I am going shopping and plan on making your soup when I get back. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  31. I'll make this for Ben! He'll love it.

    I would bring a brisket. :)

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  32. I love soup for breakfast. It warms up my toes. I'm also down with the "burger on the side" if soup's for lunch. For bfast, I do bacon and toast sides.
    jc

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  33. I have so many problems with soups, mainly dealing with getting the flavors to blend well. This may stem from my incoherent belief that you can throw any six ingredients into a crock pot, leave it on all day, and somehow come out with spicy, creamy tomato puree-soup. Or bouillabaise. Maybe I need to get my mitts on an immersion blender. Things always work best with the right tools.

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  34. My book club just recently fell apart. And I am so sad... We'd flip between wine and cheese and just desserts. I love the sound of this recipe. There is nothing better than a good soup in the winter. Please keep the soup recipes coming if you have more of them!

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  35. Hmmm, a soup that has no chicken and/or noodles. Weird. I guess I'll give it a try!

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  36. Looks great! I love roasted tomatoes

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  37. what a great version of a classic soup. i pretty much require some zing in everything i eat (my pepper grinder is constantly empty), and i think the jalapenos are a great addition. and the cream is simply not optional. :)

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  38. My friend Kelly says she's in a drinking club with a book problem. HA!

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  39. yummy yummy, this looks so good!

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  40. The soup looks warm and inviting. Hmmm. I didn't know belonging to a book club means you don't have a life yet you are pretending you have a life. If anything, I am envious of people that belong to a book club that has been going for a long time and is still going strong. Just imagine! Well, you don't have to. I really need to read The Help. I bought it as soon as it's published but never read it... *shame*

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  41. Yes to all of it. Book club, soup, 10 desserts. No to the angry 4 year old and needy newborn, but that ship has already sailed.

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