This is a little “Part 2” of my last post- while up on the roof for the bbq, I noticed my neighbor Court had a pretty impressive little tomato garden going.

He had about 5 large tomato plants plus chives, basil, parsley, etc.

tomato

Whilst on our little mini vacation in VT, Miguel and I had a few not-so-successful culinary experiences. Neither was disastrous and thankfully we had two excellent dinners out to make up for it, but I wanted to share these little failures hee because if I can prevent just one other person from making either of these recipes, all will not be lost.

The first incident occurred at breakfast on our first full day in the Green Mountain State. I had found a recipe for Tomato Egg Cups on Epicurious and thought they seemed like a nice, fairly simple yet tasty breakfast.  Not so much.  I will grant that we mistakenly forgot to put the tops of the tomatoes back on top after we pour in the egg and before we put them in the oven, but I really don’t think they would have been good either way.  They were very bland and took about 3 times as long to cook as the recipe indicated.  (Had I read the reviews of the recipe right on the site I would have known this but for some reason I ALWAYS forget to do that).

In any case, the egg ended up spilling out the tomatoes and we just gave up and scrambled the whole thing, resulting in this lovely masterpiece:

Not too pretty, is it?

Not too pretty, is it?

Alas, the food foibles didn’t stop there.  On Friday night, I had big plans to wow Miguel with a (highly) modified version of Beef Wellington.  This recipe called for gorgonzola instead of foie gras and we couldn’t find any beef or veal demiglace so it was really just wrong.  Miguel claimed to like it but I just plain did not.  They looked lumpy, the cheese didn’t melt evenly so you’d end up with huge chunks of gorgonzola after having none for several bites (which quickly becomes annoying), and the puff pastry on the bottom ended up doughy.  I won’t blame the recipe here, we may have rushed through a few steps, but it just was not what we were expecting.  The beef itself has very little flavor, almost tasted like it had been boiled.  Bleh.

Lumpy

Lumpy

Right before I gave the rest to Miguel

Right before I gave the rest to Miguel

tomatoI’d just like to get that out of the way. A “purist” would be someone who prefers doing most of their cooking from scratch. Like making your own chicken stock. Or pie crusts. Or growing, drying and grinding your own herbs. I’m not going to say it’s because “oh I just don’t have the time” for two reasons- 1) it annoys me when people throw that excuse around, and 2) it’s not really true. I do have the time. I just don’t think I’m quite at that point; like maybe I should master the basics before I start with the tricky, time-consuming things. And I happen to like shortcuts.

A few nights ago, I decided to make tomato soup for dinner. I wanted to use what I had in the house and I did not feel like buying and chopping up tomatoes. I consulted my Williams-Sonoma Soup book which I love and have used many times. They had an pretty easy looking recipe that called for several things I did not have so I modified it and came up with something that satisfied my tomato soup craving and took very little time to make-

Tomato Soup

Serves 2 (with  little extra)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 chopped yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Dried Basil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. Warm the oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds.

2. Add tomatoes and broth. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until tomatoes are soft (approx. 20 minutes).

3. Remove from heat. Blend mixture in food processor or blender in batches. Leave as much texture as desired.

4. Return soup to pot. Add basil, salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to medium, reheating soup. Serve and enjoy!

(I also toasted wheat bread with American cheese for dipping. Yum.)