Tomato bisque

B0379C0F-0775-48B9-8500-015137C2766BWith the days growing shorter, and the temperature dropping, i felt the need to make some soup.

This recipe was loosely based on several recipes but really, I just made it up as I went along and took note of it along the way.

Makes about 6 generous servings


  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 2 bottles of strained tomatoes (I got mine from Farm Boy)
  • 1 small can of herb/garlic tomato paste
  • 3 spanish onions
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp sea salt


  • remove skin/core tomatoes and give them a rough chop and set aside
  • chop celery, garlic, basil. set aside
  • heat up french oven on stove top to medium-high heat
  • dice onions and then drop onions and 1/4 cup of butter into french oven.
  • Stir onions until they are cooked (do not brown).
  • Once onions are done, add garlic and celery and remaining butter
  • Stir for 5ish minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked
  • Add tomatoes, strained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and olive oil
  • Stir well and then add vegetable stock and white wine vinegar
  • Add in spices and season as needed with additional salt/pepper until your taste preference is achieved
  • Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • add parmesan cheese and stir well
  • Hit with an immersion blender, or if no immersion blender, take out in batches and run through blender until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled parsley and of course, a really good grilled cheese (pictured is a sourdough with monterey jack and havarti)


Vegetarian Mushroom Stew

A few weeks ago while watching Food Network I saw a chef create a delicious looking mushroom stew.  I decided I wanted to try my own stew and found a recipe that was open to interpretation.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of mushrooms, chopped.  I used portobello and cremini.
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 can of pinto or kidney beans
  •  2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  •  Salt and pepper
  • teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  •  Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  •  3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon 18% table cream


  1. Clean mushrooms, chop into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a french oven or large saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add portobello and cremini mushrooms, season lightly and stir-fry until nicely colored, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium. Add thyme, rosemary, pepper flakes and tomato paste. Stir well, and cook for 1 minute.  Add pinto beans, lemon juice and soy sauce. Season again with salt and pepper.
  4. Add 1 cup vegetable broth and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1 more cup broth and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium. Sauce should have gravy-like consistency.  Turn to low and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally
  5. 15 minutes before serving, bring back up to medium heat, add shiitake mushrooms, parsley and table cream.  Stir well.
  6. Serve with a side of your choosing (we had mashed potatoes)

Mushrooms… is there anything they can’t do?


Modified from the original recipe I found in the New York Times