I am in a fall state of mind.
I can’t help myself.
I don’t want summer to be over, not at all. I love the warmth. However, this Ohio girl is very accustomed to changes in seasons. It is like I have seasonal ADHD, I can only stay in one season for 3, 4 months tops. Then I am anxiously awaiting the next season. Exception to this rule of mine is winter…I can handle December being cold and snowy, but then I am done, over it, ready for spring. So why do I live in Cleveland? I ask myself that daily every February….
The rainy and cooler weather yesterday shoved me further into this fall feeling. All I wanted was a warm bowl of soup and a crusty grilled cheese sandwich. Instead, I had a cup of Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup at work, that for 2 nights in a row I spilled down the front of me. It definitely was not what I had in mind….so I am rectifying that today. Plus, I am getting myself a bib.
Truth be told, Campbell’s Tomato soup isn’t half bad…But this blog is not about getting a can opener out and nuking condensed soup in the microwave. Nopers. I am making tomato soup from scratch and guess what? Chicken Butt?? No silly…It was rather simple and quick and delicious!
Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup
4 Tbsp Butter
1 medium Onion (yellow), finely diced
3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
4 Cloves Roasted Garlic, crushed
2 Cups Diced Tomatoes ( fresh or canned)
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 + 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
46 oz. Tomato Juice
1/2 Cup Sherry Cooking Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp Olive Oil
Roast garlic. Chop off the very top of garlic head. Drizzle with about 1 tsp olive oil. Wrap in tinfoil (like a Hershey Kiss) and place in a 350°F preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until it can be handled. Squeeze out cloves when ready to use and crush with a fork.
In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and crushed roasted garlic. Saute until onions are translucent. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in milk and whisk to combine, removing any clumps. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, sherry, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Carefully transfer soup to a blender and/or food processor. Process until soup is smooth. ( Tip: This step can be omitted if you like chunky tomato soup or only do a portion of the soup, giving you a kinda chunky soup ) Return soup to dutch oven and place over low heat until ready to eat.
Top with cheddar cheese or sour cream. Oh and crackers are lovely as well!
Serve alongside grilled cheese or just some crusty bread. Enjoy!
School is starting soon. Sorry…I didn’t mean to mention it, but we can’t go on ignoring the fact that summer is slowly coming to an end. I didn’t need to look at a calander, this is something one can sense.
The Cicadas are getting louder (or are they locust?)
Football two a days have begun.
Cross country runners are out in hoards.
The local college traffic is increasing.
Its darker when I go to work at night.
My craving for fall foods is increasing.
And school supplies are on sale.
I loved getting new school supplies, but then again I kinda looked forward to each new school year. September represented a new year more so than January ever did. Even to this day – 4 years out of school – I get excited around this time of year. Its the prospect of a fresh start and new challenges. Plus, did I mention school supplies?
I have this urge to run out and buy new pens, paper, and folders.
Does anyone have a kid that I can borrow to take school supply shopping?
My niece is starting school this year. I am excited for her. Not just because she gets to buy school supplies and finally learns what paste is … do they still use paste? But, because this is when some of your life long friendships are established. At least this is true for me. I have friends that sat beside me in Mrs. Leathermen’s kindergarten class while I stapled my finger to a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day who also, 17 years later, graduated along side me from college. I truly cherish these relationships. I hope Allie, not only finds her love for learning new things, but begins friendships that stand the test of time. This is my hope for every child starting school in the coming weeks.
One of these friends, well his favorite cookie is this here oatmeal raisin cookie.
This is not a fat and cakey oatmeal raisin cookie, quite the opposite. It is thin and chewy. Very chewy … well unless you overbake them and then you have crispy cookies … which, there are those that like crispy too, weirdos.
Lets get scooping!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
about 3 dozen
Prep Time: 1 hour +
1 + 1/2 Cups Raisins
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Butter ( 2 sticks) – room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 + 1/2 Cups All- Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Preheat oven to 350°F
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Stir in the raisins. Cover, place in fridge, and let sit for 1 hour. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Cream together butter and both sugars in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, sift/mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
To the butter and sugar, slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Once well incorporated, add the egg mixture. Stir in the oats.
Scoop out onto cookie sheets ( line with parchment if you have it) and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are just turning golden brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 to 8 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. ( I like to bake with 2 cookies sheets, one in the oven while the other is cooling…)
Store in air tight container. These can be frozen in a Zip-Lock bag and stored for several months. They are actually very good straight from the freezer, chewier!
These are also very good, slathered with peanut butter.
I hope you enjoy!
Chris…call if you have any questions
How do you like your bacon?
It is similar to the questions of …How do you like your coffee? How do you like your eggs?
Are you an extra crispy, crunchy person or do you prefer it a bit chewy, limp, more meaty per se person?…these are technical terms.
These are important questions one must answer. I think its also important tidbit of info to know about other people. So you can prepare it for them the way they like it…People like that. Knowing how they prefer things, without having to ask. It says, I pay attention and I like you enough to remember how you take your coffee, eggs, or bacon. Its nice. Also, it might say something about the individual person. I am not sure what yet, but I am sure cream only, scrambled, and crispy bacon says something to the inner workings of a person. I’ll get back with ya once I figure it out!
I prefer my bacon crispy…very very crispy and with a side of maple syrup to dip it in. Weird? I think not!
This bacon recipe contains the same flavor combo. Salty and sweet. Anything better? I have done the brushing of bacon with maple syrup – delicious by the way, but as I was flipping through the channels the other day, I caught a glimpse of Alton Brown scattering brown sugar over bacon … and I thought – genius!!!
So here is my rendition…
You will need bacon of course…
Plus some brown sugar and a ground up nut of your choice…I had walnuts, but pecans or almonds would do as well.
Baked bacon…I like alliteration.
Match made in heaven…
It tastes as good as it looks…trust me. I know.
So what do you do with this praline like bacon? Well, its great all by itself. Its great along side a stack of pancakes or waffles. Or eggs. But guess what? Its great as the B in a BLT. Yep.
It was healthy…I had a salad!
Another picture…for good measure.
Brown Sugared Bacon
Serves 4 to 6 – however many people 1lb of bacon is supposed to serve.
1lb Bacon- thick cut
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Ground Walnuts ( or almonds or pecans…whatever you have on hand)
Preheat oven to 400°F
Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and place a wire rack on baking sheet. Lie bacon slices flat onto wire rack, do not overlap. ( I was able to fit 10 pieces of bacon of my baking sheet – may need to do this in batches or use two baking sheets)
Place in oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes – just until its about done (this time will alter depending on thickness of bacon). While this is baking, mix together ground nuts and brown sugar.
Remove bacon from oven (keep oven on) and pile the brown sugar/nut mixture onto bacon slices. About 2 to 4 Tablespoons per slice. Lightly pat down. Return bacon to oven and continue baking for 10 to 12 minutes or until the brown sugar has melted. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.
Do you need directions on how to make a BLT? Goodness, I hope not
I baked a cake.
Here is a picture of it.
It is already gone. Not a crumb remains. Not a smear of caramel to be seen. The cake stand is washed and waiting to be put away ( I can’t find my step stool). And I sit here wishing I had made two of them.
Truth be told, I don’t think I have enjoyed a piece of cake this much in a long time. I prefer brownies. However, this cake…well this cake definately scored a few brownie points in my book. Hmmm….
This isn’t a fancy shmancy cake. Nothing wild and crazy. Nope. Its simple. It is nothing more than a butter cake, slathered with a caramel glaze…. Its not a cake that you scarf, its something that you savor, letting each bite just melt in your mouth.
It is super easy to make too! Its just a single layer, anyone can do that! No layering or stacking. No icing, just pouring of the glaze. Simple! And doesn’t it look decadent, like you spent hours in the kitchen? You can tell people you did…it’ll be our little secret.
Let’s bake a cake! (Warning: Tons of pictures)
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the party. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl!
Sift together the dry ingredients….oh and that there is buttermilk in the background, you will need that too – shaken well!
Blend the dry ingredients into the butter,eggs, and sugar alternating with buttermilk.
Pour the lucious batter into prepared pan …. smooth it out and bake it!
Baked…let this rest for about 10 minutes, then flip it out onto cake stand.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel sauce. You will need a candy thermometer, butter, brown sugar, cream, and vanilla. Yum!
When the sauce is ready, and the cake is flipped out, go ahead and poke holes all over the cake. Go crazy … the more holes the better!
While the caramel sauce is warm, evenly pour the caramel over the cake and let it drip down the sides.
And if you can resist…let the cake completely cool before digging in!
- 1 Stick Butter ( 1/2 Cup) – room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Buttermilk – well shaken
Caramel Glaze ( adapted from Laura Donnelly)
- 1 Stick Butter
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter pans and dust with flour. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan – this will make for easy removal!
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Into the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, mix in the dry ingredients (in thirds), alternating with buttermilk, ( 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour mixture). Mix just until combined, before each new addition.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. ( if the cake begins to get too brown on top, tent with tinfoil, which will stop the browning.)
Remove from oven and place on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan and then flip cake out onto cake stand, keep the bottom facing up. With a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the cake.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel sauce. In a medium sauce pan, combine, butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil and continue to heat until caramel reaches 215-218°F on candy thermometer. ( be careful, caramel is HOT!) Remove from heat and let bubbles subside, and with a whisk, give it a good stir.
With caramel sauce still warm/hot, pour over the semi-cooled cake. Pour from the inside out and do it slowly. Let the caramel run over the sides, making it all pretty.
Let cool before indulging.
Tips: I would like to cut this cake in half and fill the cake with the caramel glaze and then top it as well…If you choose to do this, then definitely double the caramel glaze.
This cake actually tasted better on the second day, the caramel glaze soaked into the cake the longer it set.
Is it weird that I think about food when I am exercising? What do I need at the grocery, or whats/when is my next meal going to be, or am I working out hard enough to eat a snack or should I make cupcakes or brownies today? Something along those lines…
What do you think of when you are working out? I have never been to clear my mind of thought and just go…my mind is always spinning. I have been attending yoga classes lately and the hardest part for me is concentrating on my breath and just my breath. Letting all thoughts and concerns just float on by, paying them no attention. Resting the mind. Its harder than any warrior pose or downward facing dog….
So while I was at yoga last night, trying to clear my mind of thought, I thought of this here dish. Sigh. See the hard part about clearing your mind, is recognizing that you are concentrating on something other than your breath and then returning your thoughts to breathing. And once my mind got onto sausage, eggs, cheese, veggies…I had a true inner struggle …
It went something like this : (warning…you are about to get a glimpse into my inner most thoughts)
- I think I’ll have eggs for dinner…crap, breathe Mallory, breathe in breathe out, etc….
- Ooohhh…I could add some sausage and veggies. I have some sausage in the fridge… Oops…breathe in, breathe out, etc..
- GOAT CHEESE…I think its in the door of the fridge, that would be really good with eggs… MALLORY, for crying out loud…stop thinking and breathe. Goodness girl.
- I can stop at Giant Eagle and get some veggies…argh, crap…there goes my mind again, but hey my side plank looks better than hers…. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Please exit my mind on the left…
At least my thoughts were productive. I ended up with a great dinner and I promised myself to try better next week at clearing my mind. I like the challenge.
Sausage and veggies…
Stuff everything into a ramekin and top with an egg.
GOAT CHEESE…I kinda like goat cheese, more like adore or love. Yeah more like LOVE.
Savory, creamy goodness. I totally forgot to make toast…you should definitely eat this with toast. Don’t be like me.
Baked Breakfast Scramble
adapted from Anne Burrell
Servings : 1
1 Turkey Sausage Link (3-4 oz.) - casing removed
1 Cup Mushrooms – sliced
1/2 Bell Pepper – diced
1/2 Jalapeno – seeds removed, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
Ramekin or oven proof bowl
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium skillet, over medium/high heat – begin to brown the turkey sausage in olive oil, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once browned, add mushrooms, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables are tender and sausage is cooked through.
Transfer sausage mixture to ramekin and pressing the mixture into the bottom. Crack egg over the top. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until eggs whites are cooked, yolk is done to your liking, and cheese is lightly browned. About 8 to 12 minutes. ( I like throwing the broiler on during the last few minutes to get the cheese nice and browned)