Tomato Soup

I wanted to wait for tomato season for this, but I watched a stand-up special this morning that inspired me. (Chris Gethard ‘Career Suicide’  (Check it out. Please.))    Just wait for tomato season for a proper tomato ketchup recipe…

For some reason, I’ve had a skill for pureeing tomatoes.  Not sure where it started.. likely wanting to improve upon the canned version that my mom always made (love you mom).  I remember making soup for my friend Mark (best cook I’ve ever seen) in cooking school which ended up on the menu at Quince.  Most recently, this was “the best soup i’ve ever had” by a man that has owned many restaurants..   not “the best tomato soup”  “the best SOUP”…   I love the stuff, clearly.  I make it any chance I can.

This brings us to my point of this article..  I don’t remember any of the recipes.  I was either drunk (most likely) or I was just winging it (also likely).  But for some reason, I thought that booze helped creativity.  Does it?   I’m going to just say that it doesn’t.  I’m absolutely more thoughtful without alcohol and equally as creative and better yet, curious about cooking.

So, today, lets put it to the test.   May I present to you, out-of-season tomato soup.  Enjoy.

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  • 4 T Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – Thinly Sliced
  • 1 big bunch Basil – Leaves Only
  • 2 8 oz Cans Crushed Tomatoes – San Marzano (Also, canned tomatoes are far better than fresh)
  • .25# Parmesan Rinds/Scraps
  • 3 C Half and Half
  • 1 C Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Tabasco

 

  • In a stock pot on high, add the olive oil.  When Its VERY HOT, add the basil.  The trick is to fry the basil until its crispy.  Stir it constantly.
  • Add the garlic and cook until you can just smell it.
  • Add the tomatoes, half and half, parmesan rinds, and vegetable stock.  Stir.
  • Bring this to a Simmer (Not a Boil), then reduce to a low simmer.  You want to cook out the acidity of the tomatoes, so, taste it along the way.
  •  When you feel confident that the acid is gone (15 min or so), blend the heck out of it.
  • Strain.  Return to a clean stock pot and season with Salt, White Pepper and Tabasco.
  • Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich

 

 

 

Cinnamon Rolls, Just in time for Mother’s Day.

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  • 2 pkg dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (35 c or 95 f is just about perfect)
  • 1 cup warm milk (see above)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 C fat (dealers choice, but don’t go all fight club) (shortening is best)
  • 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 – 8 Cups All Purpose Flour

Combine the yeast, water, milk, and sugar.   The goal is to dissolve the solids into the liquids and let rest until bubbly.

In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix shortening, salt and eggs.   This will separate.. its okay.  Alternating, 3 times each, add yeast mixture, then flour, ending on flour.. this will allow you to adjust the amount of flour needed to make a smooth dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Now, let it rest.  Cover it with plastic wrap in a new bowl (pro tip : use the mildly washed bowl you used to activate the yeast) and set it somewhere warm until its doubled in size.  Punch it.

  • 2 C Sugar
  • 3 T Ground Cinnamon
  • 1.5 C Chilled butter

Cream all above ingredients in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Set Aside.

Knead the dough until the dough just becomes elastic.  Keep adding enough flour to keep your fingers from being coated with dough.  Set aside and let rest for another ten minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

You’re going to want to roll this like a 1/2 ” thick, using a rolling pin and enough flour to keep your dough from sticking to your table and rolling pin.

Evenly spread all of your sugar-cinnamon mixture over the dough.  Roll the dough tightly (if this messes up, you just made an awesome batch of monkey bread.. skip all the rest, chop it up, put it in a pan, and bake it)  into a spiral shape.. the tighter, the better.

From here, cut the log into two inch thick pieces. Smash them together into a greased baking pan (or as I did, large muffin tins) and bake for about 30 minutes.  I’d check after 10-15 and rotate.    They’ll be done when they’re golden brown and a bit crusty on the top.  NEVER EVER OVERBAKE OR UNDERBAKE.

Word to your mother.

-J

Bone Broth

Stock vs. Broth

To me the difference between the two is delicacy.  In a broth, we’re trying to coax as many vitamins out of the ingredients as possible.  This comes from us cooking the vegetables lightly and just barely browning the bones.

In a broth, we’re trying to find a harmony with the ingredients.  Less bones are used, because although we benefit from the collagen and gelatin, they’re playing a different role in a broth.

In stocks, we’re trying to produce a workhorse of a liquid.  We add things like chicken feet for example..  Things that don’t have a ton of calcium, but work wonders for thickening sauces.  Also, we add peppercorns and bayleaves, etc. (aromatics) that do very little for nutritional value.

Uses for a broth would be soups obviously, its going to make a much lighter, but still flavorful base.  Ramen would work well with this recipe, matzah ball soup, dumplings.. its kind of endless and is a wonderful blank canvas for any other ingredients you want to work with.

Aside from actually cooking with it, I know a few people that keep this handy for a substitute meal in the day.  For me, who usually doesn’t eat breakfast, its a good thing to drink a glass of this stuff on the go because of all of the vitamins and minerals it contains to wake my body up.

Also, its just as a great substitute for coffee or other sugary drinks in the morning.

I could go on about the benefits of bone broth or vegetable broth for a while.  It’s simple to make and is full of vitamins and minerals, plus it makes your house smell great.

Feel free to add any thoughts or ask any questions.  Good Luck!

 

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Ingredients

  • 5# Beef Marrow Bones
  • 1 Large Spanish Onion, peeled and large diced
  • 1 Leek, Washed, White Part Diced, Green Part Left Whole
  • 1.5# Carrots, peeled
  • 1.5# Celery Hearts
  • 2 oz Thyme, fresh
  • 1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Smushed
  • 8 oz Tomato Puree

 

Blanch the marrow bones.  Fill a stock pot with cold water and the bones.  Bring to a boil and discard the water.

On a sheet tray begin roasting the bones at 450 degrees until they start browning, cover the bones with the tomato puree and continue to brown the bones and caramelize the tomato puree.  When the bones are brown thoroughly and the tomato puree is very thick and dark in color, remove from the oven.

In a large stock pot on high heat, begin sweating the onions, garlic, and the white part of the leek in a small amount of blended oil.  Stir this mixture constantly. Continue to sweat until the vegetables become translucent but not caramelized.  Sweat the celery in the same pot, then add the carrots.  By this time the onion mixture should start to show a hint of coloring.

Add the roasted bones.  Using a rubber scraper, scrape the leftover “fond” or residue left on the bottom of the sheet tray into the stock put.

Add the herbs and green part of the leeks.

Cover completely with cold water and bring the mixture up to a boil.  After its reached a boil, turn the heat down until the broth lightly simmers.   Allow mixture to simmer for about four hours, constantly skimming the fat that floats to the top.

Strain and cool immediately in an ice bath then transfer into smaller containers into the refrigerator.

 

Tips:

Keep everything clean.  Wash and peel your vegetables.  The broth is not a compost bin.

Take the time to blanch the bones.  Your finished produce will be a lot less greasy.

Use as little fat as possible when cooking, a scant tablespoon should do.

When you roast the bones the first time, take a moment to remove any excess fat that melted.

Stir and skim all the time.  Your goal for the final produce should be delicate.  Cooking the bones and vegetables for too long can make the broth too strong.

Freeze the final product.  This recipe yields a lot and it should last quite a long time, but the general rule for a frozen stock or broth is one to three months.

After the broth has cooled completely in the refrigerator, there will be some fat that survived your diligent skimming, use this opportunity to strain one last time.

 

 

 

Pickled Ramps

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Pickled Ramps

  • 1# – 1.5# Ramps, Cleaned
  • 2 Habaneros, Halved
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Thick Slices
    •  Combine all ingredients, set aside
  • 2.5 C Cider Vinegar
  • 1.5 C Water
  • 1 t Coriander Seeds
  • 1 t Fennel Seeds
  • 1 t Cumin Seeds
  • 1 1/2 t Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
    • Combine all and bring to a rolling boil until sugar is dissolved.

Combine all ingredients, reduce to room temperature, and refrigerate.   Use within seven days.

*Alternatively, can or use a reduce oxygen packing method to store for long term storage.    Follow your local regulatory authority’s rules if you want to tackle something such as canning or vacuum sealing.

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