mom said, a snicker bar…and a bag of lettuce…i said, roasted tomato soup.

so. i’ll tell you a little bit our family dynamics…and some of you may understand and nod your head…others, notsomuch.  a little over six months ago, my dad passed away, very unexpectedly and my mom is coping as well as anyone could expect.  she has good days…and some days where everything goes to s**t…and because i work from home, essentially, i’m her main sounding board. we’ve always been close (well, maybe not in high school or most of my college years) but not in the ‘she’s my best friend’ close…just…well, you get it. right?

anyway, my mom calls me today to tell me she’s never going out and about, again. i pause…waiting for the story.  she tells me about her purchases from the u-bake store (and dropping the shamrock-shaped cookies), her frozen lobster bisque (with lobster from maine), and then she rattles off what she bought at the grocery store…ending with a snickers bar (pause)…and a bag of lettuce. my mom’s idea of lettuce is iceberg. she likes that it crunches. why? because she grew up in the late 40’s and 50’s with a huge garden in bay view (milwaukee) and all they ate was ‘curly lettuce’…her words, not mine. iceberg lettuce was a treat. and…i tell her i’m making roasted tomato soup. i can almost hear her lips curling up as i add that i’m happy to bring her some, already knowing the response…about campbell’s. well, i tried. not too hard. but…in any fashion, the recipe is from the award-winning madison-area food blogger, things i made today…and here’s the real deal…and this is my lazy, i-do-not-have-everything-called-for, version.

just a peek at the makings of my roasted tomato soup

oven roasted tomato soup

prep time: 10 minutes     cooking time: 35-40 minutes     serves: 6-8

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 t spicy pepper (we had chipotle on hand)
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • 1 c oven roasted tomatoes* (or sun dried tomatoes in oil – drained)
  • 2 c half and half
  • 1/8 c maple syrup
  • pinch of lemon peel (i had dried on hand)
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

in your favorite soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat – add onions and cook until translucent.  add garlic and cook for another 30-45 seconds. stir in wine and cook to reduce by about half.

add broth, tomatoes, spicy pepper, lemon peel, and thyme. bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes (with the lid on).

remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools), or in a blender (be very careful…hot soup+blender+forgetting to put a towel on the log and hold down=soup everywhere).

return to low heat and blend in half and half; cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. stir in maple syrup – salt and pepper to taste…and a splash of lemon juice to brighten. sprinkle on some fresh thyme and you are good to go!

* my tomatoes were previously oven roasted back when we had an over abundance of tomatoes coming in…and i just pulled them out to the freezer.  mine were romas, in case you were wondering. and, i didn’t add any garlic or herbs…just oil, salt and pepper…and a whole bunch of tomatoes. i did trays of them at a time because…why not. tomatoes are in season and coming in faster than i can pick them and this is easier than canning them, which i do, as well.

Oven Roasted Tomato Soup

and, as an aside, we get almost (almost, almost) all of our produce from our csa share (organic), favorite farmer’s market vendors (organic principals), or our own garden (organic principals…read: lazy gardeners) or, our favorite co-op stores…again, in case  you were wondering.

add a slice or two of your favorite bread…and brace yourself for some more winter weather.  because, pretty soon we’ll be braving the mosquitos and heat to harvest yet another crop of beautiful tomatoes. enjoy!


let there be lentils.

So, we had this lonely jar of lentils that’s been sitting on our pantry shelf for a while now. There were 10 oz. of lentils inside – or so said the sticky note that was on top of lid…and I was sick of looking at them…and, probably, they me.  In retrospect, I should have probably taken a photo of that jar, in a dark corner of my house, looking all forlorn and stuff, right? But, alas…you only get one photo…of the finished project.

We had some very lovely local produce in our share from our friends at Water House Foods…that we pick up every-other Sunday, during the winter. It’s a milk crate chockfull of seasonal goodies they shop for (when they are shopping for the bistro) at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers’ Market. This week, amid all the other lovelies, there was a bag of beautiful microgreens from Springdale Farm…be still my heart.

I’ll give you a little backstory and how I cook…about half of the time. I love cook books. I wish I had money to buy every one I see that has bright shiny photos of gorgeous food…but we are broke, so I don’t. But, I still lust after them. I know, sad. But, I digress.  The internet is my friend…and for every entry into Google there are about a bajillion results…and that’s my starting point.  So, how I cook. Most of the time I only have about half of what a recipe calls for so I have a tendency to improvise, substitute, and make shit up as I go along…and not measure most things. Ryan eats it anyway…and cleans up after me.  No wonder I love him…

Back to the lentils. Google: lentils, microgreens, and squash. This lovely recipe from Epicurious, is the basis for my improvised recipe thanks to my friend Google.    If you are looking for exact measurements and stuff…follow the Epicurious recipe…mine is a jumble of vagueness with notes and quips as I go because I didn’t have mint leaves…and stuff. I’ll do better, I promise…

Roasted squash. Lentils. Goat Cheese. Microgreens.

Roasted Squash and Lentil Salad

serves: 2 {with some leftover lentils for another day}

  • 10 oz. lentils
  • 1 cup roasted squash cubes*
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2 T walnuts, toasted
  • 6 cups microgreens (or your favorite green)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Rinse and check over lentils for rocks, stones…cat hair. Bring about 8 cups of salted water to a boil and pop in your lentils.  The good people of the interwebs say 20-30 minutes should about do it for firm, yet cooked, lentils…mine took about 28 minutes…yeah, interwebs! Drain lentils and set aside (in a bowl).

Meanwhile, in a lovely bowl (or whatnot), arrange your greens…top with half of the roasted squash cubes, walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  I toasted the walnuts in a pan, over medium heat, for about 3-4 minutes…in case you were wondering.  Combine the oil and vinegar (I like the ‘add it to a mason jar and shake the bejeebers out of it method’) and drizzle over the lentils and mix gently.  Scoop about 1/2 cup atop each salad (or artfully arrange if that’s more your style). Salt and pepper to taste. I toasted a piece of Water House Food’s seedy multigrain bread …and it was a perfect accompinament.

* my roasted squash was pulled from my freezer so I’ll give you the generals on what I did, k?  Wash, dry, slice in half and de-seed/de-gunk some delicata squash…then cut it up into chunks.  I made a glaze of maple syrup, olive oil (or sunflower oil…it’s been a few months and I’m a little fuzzy), cinnamon, salt, and pepper. I’m sure I roasted them at 400° or so until just charred…maybe 30 minutes. I tossed them back in the over at 350° for about 10 minutes to reheat them before popping them on the salad.

I’ll tell you…you could probably increase the oil/vinegar mixture if you wanted a little more zing to your lentils but we I have a tendency to be a minimalist when it comes to dressing. Unless it’s blue cheese…that’s another story, however.

Ok…that’s it for today…enjoy! I’m off to work on some wooden board signs…have a great day!

well…hello there! we’re crafted. and we’re blogging.

hi! so glad you could join us {me. sarah the cat. ryan.}

so. why do {you} need to read another blog about food? about crafts? about diy? about gardening and canning? about small business? about {local} shopping, eating, doing? about random things our cat does? well…because in a world of all of these things, there’s always going to be one more. of what, you might ask…of voices. voices that are passionate about sharing, learning, doing…and just having fun with it. whatever their {it} might be.

this won’t be fancy. this won’t be airbrushed and over stylized food…wait…can you even airbrush food…probably {note: look into airbrushing food}? it will be run-on sentences. it will be grammatical errors. it will be lots of … and {} and, be assured, lots of commas and long ramblings. but, if you stick with it, there will be funny stories, fun projects that we’re working on, great recipes from a non-award winning chef  contest-winning home food dabbler, neat places to visit…and more.

so, hello there! we’re crafted. and we’re taking up another little bit of cyberspace to yammer on about things that we love…things that make us happy…things that mean something to us. and, hopefully, to you too!