There are a couple of things that I could go without in my kitchen, but a few that I really bask in. I don’t buy too many gadgets, but I do own a couple of things that I really recommend.
One thing is an immersion blender. I love this power stick and I use it nearly every day. I can’t imagine eating a pureed soup and putting it all in the blender or food processor to make it silky smooth. Furthermore, I’d prefer not to risk breaking either of the appliances to give it a try.
This particular one that I own comes with a mini-chopper, and I am pleased to say that is a handy addition. Whilst it’s not as powerful as a food processor or blender, it does a great job for smaller feats, such as chopped nuts or making pesto (two particular concoctions I frequent it for.)
That all being said, I threw together a simple soup that, like most, tasted better a day later but was warming and deviated from another soup I’ve been making quite often.
Roasted Pepper-Tomato Soup
1 large white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Seasoning of choice (sage, thyme, basil, parsley, fresh ground black pepper and salt)
1 (28oz.) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
2 large red peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped*
1/2 box Mori-Nu Extra-Firm Lite Silken Tofu
a squeeze of agave nectar
In a large saucepan, heat a little oil and saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, and stir about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in spices, and stir for about 1 minute, until fragrant, also.
Add tomatoes, water and peppers (you can add more at the end if it’s not your preferred consistency). Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes minimum, to let flavours expand (but, like others, this can be made in a pinch but better the next day).
Add tofu, then puree all ingredients until smooth. Stir in agave nectar, just about a teaspoon or so, to cut the acidity.
*To roast peppers, core and slice in four flat pieces. Broil until the skins are black, then wrap securely for about 10 minutes to steam, in order to easily remove the skins.
I enjoyed this one day with nori rolls, spread with hummus and stuffed with baby spinach, roma tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and pan-fried mushrooms. This is my absolute favourite hummus.
Roasted Garlic Hummus
This hummus highlights roasted garlic and has a really mellow flavour. If you like more garlic, roast another half a bulb. I love the pungency of raw tahini, but you can use roasted if you’d like.
1 large head of garlic
1 (14oz.) can chickpeas (I use unsalted, so adjust salt accordingly), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons raw or roasted tahini
1/4 cup or so of warm water
juice of one lemon
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 375F. Cut just the very tops off of the garlic bulb, so the tops of most of the cloves peek through. Wrap in aluminum foil, and roast in oven for 1 hour. Remove and let cool.
When it’s finished, use your hands and fingers to squeeze the roasted garlic into your food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. You can add more cumin, cayenne, salt to taste, but I like to let it mellow and sample right before serving.
Re-testing more cookbook recipes, I was pleased to enjoy the hummus again, spread on a gluten-free, vegan pita pocket, and I am really excited about the consistency (both in taste and in coming out perfectly each time!) of these. They kept well for a couple days without freezing, and didn’t dry out over night in the fridge to take them to work the next day.
And the soup? It re-accompanied two re-tested crackers the following day.
I am looking increasingly forward with each positive experience in my kitchen, and love every second.
Thank goodness for the weather, with its baking-promoting demeanor, I love spending time with my kitchen.