Tag Archives: Heirloom tomato

Heirloom Tomato Soup

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Well, the week of Kamille is officially over as of a week ago.  And although I was richly blessed by my husband for allowing me to take a three day cooking class, spend a couple evenings away from home and be creative away from typical mommy duties, it still made me feel like I wanted (and possibly needed) more time away.  Is that horrible to say?  I think I needed time to take in everything I learned, in order to apply it.  But for anyone with small children knows, finding time to debrief is near impossible because life is always going.

However, after a couple days, I was able to apply some of my newly learned skills.  My top priority being cutting apart a whole chicken and then making a stock out of the leftover chicken parts.  So far I have two whole chickens cut down under my belt and about 100 more to go.  It was great to make such simple dishes for dinner (using the chicken I cut up) and have Ben rave over them.  He said of last night’s dinner (of roasted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese & basil under the skin & roasted squash), “Mama, you did a good job!  This is is what you would eat at a fancy restaurant.”   I replied, “Are you teasing me?”  Ben, “No, I’m serious!”  What a great way to win over my heart (if you want to hit my soft spot you simply have to praise my cooking & baking…it doesn’t take much)

And I guess that’s what I have enjoyed about baking & cooking.  It’s not only a simple (but big) way to show my family & friends I care for them—it is a means to allow the stresses of family, church, life, mommyhood to be taken from me for a short window.  To simply peel potatoes & carrots is not an arduous job, but a time to think and let the cares of this world fall off my shoulder.  To cut apart a chicken is not a complicated task, but a time to achieve something simple in a world so complex & difficult to grapple.  To beat butter & sugar together at the mixer is not simply formulaic & mindless work, but a chance to watch the world unfold as freshly baked sweetness comes out of the oven.  All of this is done to know myself in the midst of chaos and to know how to extend my world of blessing to someone who needs it most.

At my cooking class I made an Heirloom Tomato Soup.  It was one of my favorite dishes, because it was a melding of complex and simple, much like life.  It took only a handful of ingredients, but turned my mouth upside down as the flavors danced around.

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Kamille’s Heirloom Tomato Soup (printable recipe)

Make a roux, which is a ratio of 55 flour to 45 fat (butter for this soup).  Mix the ingredients together in a pan over medium high heat, constantly stirring until the roux forms a ball or it begins to smell like popcorn & hazelnuts.  You can cook it as long as you like, but I cooked mine till it formed a tan color.

Ingredients:

Roux (transfer your roux from pan to a bowl to stop the cooking)

1 lb Heirloom tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

about 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (if you want to make it vegetarian than use vegetable stock)

Salt to taste

Freshly cracked pepper  & olive oil drizzled on top

1. Score the bottoms of your tomatoes with an X mark.

2. Blanch your tomatoes for 30 seconds in scalding water, then submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

3. Peel the skin off (as much as you can) and dice up your tomatoes.

4. Add about a tablespoon or more of olive oil to your pan and saute your garlic & shallot until fragrant, but not browned.  Add your tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan.  Cook over medium-high heat to produce a boil, then lower heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

5. Take pan off heat and use an immersion blender to process tomato mixture (if you don’t have an immersion blender then use a regular blender, but blend in a couple batches).  Take your roux and add about a tablespoon to your pureed tomato soup.  Mix and taste.  Add salt.  Mix and taste.  Pour into bowl and top with freshly cracked pepper and olive oil.

**Most important item in all of this is to taste during every process.  Taste your pre-cooked and cooked roux.  Taste the tomatoes, shallot, garlic & chicken stock mixture.  Taste so you know how much salt you need to add.  Also, don’t be afraid of the salt, it is an essential ingredient that makes food “pop,” especially tomatoes.  Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy.

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Hope for Celebration

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There is so much going on around our house, well actually not really right now.  It’s more like there’s so much going to happen within our family.  My little nephew Lucas will be going in tomorrow to have an MRI to check the growth of his brain.  At his six-month check-up the doctor was concerned about the growth of his head, because it was on the small side.  She reassured my sister-in-law that it was either because he simply has a small head or his skull is already fusing together.  If it was the later, then they would do surgery to ensure proper growth.

Well, he went in for a cat scan last week where the news wasn’t either of the possibilities.  The technician reported that the scan showed there was some sort of pressure (I hate the ambiguity from doctor reports), which means he has to be sedated to have an MRI.  Not as if that’s not enough stress, anxiety, & fear to put on a mama, but his appointment isn’t until 2pm.  If you’ve never experienced an MRI than you might be a little lost as to why the appointment time is a big deal…bear with me.  Our oldest had an MRI when she was 14 months, but it was first thing in the morning.  They make you fast, but not just an hour beforehand–it’s much longer.  So for dear Lucas, he won’t be able to eat anything after 7 am and then only clear liquids from that point until 11 am.  After 11 am he isn’t allowed to eat or drink anything!  I thought it was hard for my 14 month old, but for a 6 month old this really is difficult.

The good news is my brother, sister-in-law and nephew will be flying from AZ to see us on Wednesday.  I get so giddy when family, friends, or guests come to stay with us, especially if they’ve never (or hardly) been to our neck of the woods.  I think of all the food I get to make, the lazy morning Americanos or lattes to drink, walks by the water, and evenings on the deck while the kids go to sleep.

Even though I’m super excited to see them, I’m wearing a heavy heart for Adrienne as a mama who’s going through this with her little boy.  I know the heart strings that get pulled when it comes to your child–it’s personal and we mothers can’t think logically.  Our minds wander into that pit of fear and “what if’s?”  Plus, they’ll be here when they get the results back from the MRI.  If it’s good news than we get to rejoice and celebrate.  But what if it’s bad news?  We’ll embrace one another and cry, question God and ask him why is this happening to this young life?

The thing about it is I’m remaining hopeful for dear, sweet Lucas.  I truly believe the MRI will come back as nothing.  That the doctors will call on Thursday with positive news.  That the only thing they found is that Lucas simply has a small head and the CAT scan was incorrect.  It’s like the ultrasound at 19 weeks with my first and the doctor reported that there was a shadow under the left ventricle of the heart, which meant a possibility of Down’s Syndrome.  I knew that everything was fine with my baby–I had a peace like on a warm summer day when there’s a gentle breeze ushering in from the water as the sun kisses your skin.  There’s no threat of rain clouds or fear of a storm approaching.  And I see Lucas sitting between his daddy & mama right next to me on the grass in that peace.

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Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad (printable recipe)

So come Thursday, I hope to make this wonderful salad again in celebration of good news!

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs variety of heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges (try the Green Zebra)
  • 1 small watermelon, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1-in slices
  • 1 or 2 avocados, cut into chunks
  • 2 sprigs tarragon, take off stem (you can also add chopped basil)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & Ground Pepper

Combine tomatoes, watermelon, avocado, & red onions in large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and mix with hands.  In a measuring cup or large cup combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Dump onto fruit.  Mix it up.  Grab a bowl and fork and dive in.

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