Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pizza Soup

I went to the library to return some books a couple days ago, since I had all day, i poked around and found a few more to adopt for a few weeks. I got excited when I found this one The Best of Chef at Home. It is written by my favorite Chef from Food Network Canada Chef Michael Smith. It has recipes in it from my favorite of his shows, Chef at Home.  I have wanted this book since I first saw it on the shelves, but unfortunately it has been outside my budget thus far; so for now I will have to do with borrowing it.  

I have tried a few of Chef Michael Smith's recipes before, namely Dulce du Leche and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  All of his recipes that I have tried have turned out, so I want to pick at least three out of this book to make. I spent yesterday afternoon perusing the pages, and found two so far, and others that I remember being made on the television. I planned on making the Pizza Soup yesterday, since i had all but one of the ingredients, but it was extremely hot yesterday afternoon (finally!) and after a run to the hospital to visit a friend, and battling traffic both in and out of the stores, I got home and decided I was not cooking; I ordered a pizza. Don't look at me that way, we all break down sometimes :-)

The reason why I like Chef Michael Smith's recipes so much is because he encourages you to change them. Each recipe in this book has a 'freestyle variation' that tells a way you can switch it up. I changed the recipe a bit, the parts that I changed are in italics below, with an explanation further down.

Pizza Soup.

2 Tbsp olive oil.
2 onions, peeled and chopped (half an onion)
1/2 a green pepper, chopped.
4 cloves garlic, minced (3 large cloves)
1-28 ounce (796 mL) can of whole, crushed, or chopped tomatoes.
2 cups chicken broth.
2 carrots, peeled and grated (6 baby carrots, grated).
8 oz pepperoni, thinly sliced.
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked & sliced.
1 Tbsp dried Oregano.
1/2 Tbsp dried Parsley.
a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper (oops)
4 slices whole grain bread (omitted)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Parmesan & mozza-cheddar mix)

Saute olive oil,  onions and garlic (& green peppers) in large stock pot until onions are slightly browned.

Add canned tomatoes (if whole, crush with back of spoon), chicken broth, carrots, and oregano (& parsley).

Simmer for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Add pepperoni (& bacon) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle hot soup into 4 oven proof (onion) soup dishes. Cut the bread into circular pieces to fit; cover the top of each soup bowl with bread, and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese.

Place under preheated broiler and heat 2 or 3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Yummy! I am not crazy about bread in the soup (soggy bread, yuck) so I omitted that step and just sprinkled a mixture of mozza-cheddar and  parmesan directly on the soup, then cooked up some frozen garlic bread to go with it.

This is the first time I have ever cooked with Olive Oil. The bottle has been sitting on my counter for over a month, and I finally had a reason to crack into it. I made sure I had all my ingredients ready. I sometimes find myself forgetting something and then having to rush. Where this is a new recipe, I did not want that, so i made sure I had everything chopped and ready.

My only large pot is not very thick bottomed, and I checked my dutch oven, it does not appear to be for stove top use; so I started the onions, garlic and green peppers in a pan.

While they were doing their thing, I mixed all the other ingredients in my pot. I don't know if it was because my stove was to hot, but I found the garlic browned before my onions. I have never really used real garlic before, I usually use jarred or dried, but it was on sale last week so I picked up a couple bulbs. Roasted garlic is in my future!

But once the veggies were browned sufficiently, I dumped them into the broth and tomato mixture and let it simmer from there.  I added turkey bacon as another meat because I love bacon on my pizza. I buy turkey bacon  though, because I find regular bacon to be to greasy (and expensive). As for the rest of my changes; I added parsley because it is one of my favorites, I cut back on the onions because I am not crazy about them either, the baby carrots and the different cheeses, that was all I had, so I improvised! I forgot the salt and pepper, again. Oops. It seems to be a recurring theme in my kitchen.

That's all my pictures, so I am going to re-post my finished soup one :-)

I kind of had my doubts, since I am not wild about the taste of tomatoes and there are a lot in it, but this does not taste like tomatoes! This turned out very, very good, and I can't wait to have some more tomorrow. I'm sure the spices will make the flavours stronger after having time to sit! I got three hearty servings, i am going to throw one in the freezer for when I go back to work, I will have a lunch. I will be making this again, but I think next time I might add some noodles to, just for a twist.

I can't wait for the 20th to start my new job, I am going stir crazy here at home (proof, this post is going on and on, i need someone to talk to!!). My mom took me out to Costco this morning just for something to do (and I got a BIG bag of blueberries). I am going to have to spend some more time in the library next week, it gets me out of the house for free. If not, by Wednesday you might see me down on the boardwalk spinning in circles, scaring the cruise ship passengers! The first one arrived this week, and there are plenty more to follow!

But, it's almost the weekend, and I might be going home for a couple days. Since K was sick last weekend and didn't get to go fishing with Grampie, we are going to try to see if he can go this weekend instead.

Have a good Friday, everyone!

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