Sunday, September 13, 2009

Necessity is the Mother of Invention...

...and in this troubled economy...necessity drives everything because there are no spare dollars for frivolous things.

Last week, my local Aldi (which if you don't have one near you, I'm just so sorry...and if you do...STOP SHOPPING AT OTHER STORES! LOL :D) had their grape tomatoes on sale for 99 cents a pound. I mean, who can resist those? Especially at 99 cents a pint. So, of course I bought 4 pints. Being the tomato purist that I am, I never, ever, ever place them in the refrigerator. Ever (and if you do that STOP NOW, you're destroying the tomato's flavor and texture. If you don't believe me, consult Alton Brown).

As the week passed, I used a few in salads, a few eaten by my 4 year old, but they sat on the counter. They were tempting, but not enough that I used all of them.

In my groggy haze this morning I realized my beloved tomatoes were going bad, and if I didn't do something fast, I would lose them all together. And you all know I'm adventurous (or maybe you remember, I haven't posted much lately!). With weather turning colder and my tomatoes slowly shriveling...I decided something MUST BE DONE.

I remembered that I had leftover red pepper strips from the night before - we had a birthday party for my son, and he requested red pepper on the veggie tray, I think he was the only one who ate them!!!

This recipe was born of that desire to not waste $3 worth of tomatoes.

Turned out very well...I think. As did my favorite taste tester, my husband.

Save-the-tomato Soup

3 pints grape tomatoes (as long as they aren't soft and moldy, they're fine for this!)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red pepper, sliced in strips
1/4 red onion, julienned
1/4 celery stalk (about 2" worth), julienned
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 chicken bullion cubes (can use beef or veggie too)
1/2 - 1 Cup freshly boiled water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut tomatoes in half and place in roasting pan. Remove skins from garlic cloves and add to tomatoes. Add red pepper, onion and celery to the pan. Pour olive oil over vegetables, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Place vegetables in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes - until vegetables are soft and just starting to brown A LITTLE (carefully, if you burn even will make it yucky). While the veggies are roasting, boil some water.

When the vegetables are done, pour into a blender or food processor (depending on the size of blender or food processor, you may need to do this in batches). Liquify the vegetables. Open blender/food processor and add the bullion cubes and 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cover blender/food processor with lid, liquify again. Add more water if necessary. You may add salt at this time too, if you feel the need.

Serve, and enjoy! Top with croutons, cheese, fishies, saltines....whatever you like in your tomato soup.

NOTE: When using a blender to blend hot liquids it is BEST to leave the center cap off the lid and cover with a towel. Secure the towel with your hand while the blender is running. If you do not do this, pressure from the steam can build up and cause harm or injury. So don't do that, it will ruin your dinner.