Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The green tomato experiment, the results, plus a lovely soup

Recap: The growing season over for my first garden, I was left with some 30 odd green tomatoes, so I decided to try a home-ripening method. I tied them five in a bag along with a green banana to the pole in my hall closet. I'm sure my fair readers have been anxiously awaiting the results of this experiment.

The results are in:

They didn't turn totally red, but they did ripen, the perfect sort of tomato to puree into a soup or sauce. We did both. The sauce will come in another blog (yes that same sauce used with those delicious eggplant meatballs). The soup I made today, a nice and simple lazy Saturday lunch.

The soup comes to me from a cookbook I fell in love with last year when I got it out of the library. One Amazon buy later, it rests in my kitchen on the cookbook shelf.

Tomato Bisque
-Kate-ified from the Vegetarian Lunchbasket

2 T butter
3 T flour
2 c milk
2 c tomato puree
1 t dried basil
1 c Israeli couscous
1/2 c grated Parm cheese
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of cayenne

To prep: I pureed the five or six tomatoes, some from the batch I decided to ripen on the kitchen counter instead of the closet (they took longer), others were the last of the closet experiment. I cut out the stems, top and bottom, and pureed them in my blender. Two cups exactly.

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over med-low heat and whisk in the flour. Stir for 3 minutes. Then, slowly add the milk. Simmer until milk thickens.

2. Put 1 c. water in a small saucepan. And allow to boil. Add the couscous to the water, cover, and cook over a low simmer. Add the tomato puree and basil to milk in large saucepan. Five minutes later, add the couscous to the large saucepan and leave on simmer a few minutes more.

3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Parm and dash of cayenne, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Supposedly, the recipe serves four. In this household, I'm the only tomato soup fan. So it should serve me for about five lunches, give or take. The extra bonus, this is a soup ready in about 15 minutes, so those in search of a quick, healthy meal because they, like me, are having a rough fall semester, look no further. I just hope you too enjoy tomatoes.

This soup is a delicious fall treat, one that beats the pants off my usual "comforting" can of Campbells tomato, or would if cans had pants.

It was light but warm and creamy, and the couscous added a touch of texture that doubled as a way of making me feel "full," something tomato soup just doesn't do for me. Face it, it's really more like a drink. But this bisque wasn't, and my Kate-ifying ingredient (well aside from the couscous--the original recipe called for rice), the cayenne I added on a whim, gave the whole dish a slight kick that acted as a nice pick-me-up to carry me through the rest of my lazy Saturday.

Aside from the closet-tomatoes sauce, there are a great many upcoming food excitements. Here are some teasers for what's to come in my written recipe:

The weekend of Halloween, Art and I visited my favorite Michigan orchard for a half bushel of golden delicious (my favorite apple) and a bushel of squash. Purchased for the low cost of $5, the bushel is a mix of butternut, acorn, and hubbard. We decided against pie pumpkins this year, because of my freakish fall 2010 schedule, but rest assured, next year, I will make a pie pumpkin pie.

Already, the apples are too ripe for munching and I have plans for a casserole that mixes the flavors of all of my orchard finds. That, or we'll just make apple sauce.

More exciting though, this past Monday, I found myself at a Pennsylvania grass-feed farm-- for work. Yes, the producer I'm interning under at the local NPR/PBS station is doing a tv piece on local food for thanksgiving and he invited me to come to the shoot and help out. Blog forthcoming.


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