Roasted Tomato Soup: Almost as easy as opening a can!

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

Roasted Tomato Soup (with the crispiest grilled cheese on the side)

This is, by far, my favourite simple soup and is a staple in my house all year long.

It’s perfect served warm on a cold winter’s day or chilled, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a few fresh chives, in the sweltering heat of the summer.

All it takes is a bit of rough chopping, some roasting, and a quick trip into the blender and you’ve got the best darn tomato soup ever!

*Note: the only way to make this better is to serve it with a crispy, crunchy, cheesy grilled cheese


Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 4 

15 plum tomatoes, halved, cored, and pulp removed
4–6 cloves garlic, unpeeled and whole
½ red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
5–7 sprigs thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2–3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon or a bit more balsamic, if needed 

Preheat your oven to 375F and toss the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and thyme on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Scatter the top with sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the top of the vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. 

Pop the pan in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of the stock in a large pot over medium-low heat.  When the vegetables are done, pick out the sprigs of thyme, carefully squash the roasted garlic out of its skin, discard the skin, and transfer all of those lovely veggies to the pot of stock.  Using an emersion or regular blender, blend the soup until it is smooth, adding more stock if needed.  Give the soup a taste and season with salt, pepper, and a little lemon or balsamic if needed.

Serve hot or chill for a lovely summery soup!

My Kitchen Go-To: Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

This, right here, is what I like to make when I’m in a bit of a kitchen rut and have no idea what I want to eat for dinner… or breakfast… or lunch… or when I’m having people over for brunch… Really, it’s an anytime dish that is way too easy to make.

Quick and smokey shakshuka with feta and lemon-y, parsley-y couscous is as easy as chopping a few things, boiling water, heating some sauce, and poaching some eggs. A delish anytime meal, lickety-split.


Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white wine, optional
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 – 796ml (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
2 cups couscous
4 - 8 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the finely minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so just to cook off some of that raw garlic hit. Stir in the smoked paprika, chili flakes, and cumin and allow the spices to toast for about 1 minute or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, if using, or add two tablespoons of water.

Add the halved cherry tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a bit.  Add the canned tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Cover the pan and lower the heat.  Allow the sauce to simmer away for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, set your kettle to boil and pour your couscous into a heatproof bowl.  When the water has boiled, pour 2 cups of boiling water onto the couscous, season with salt and pepper, stir, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow this to sit for about 8 to 10 minutes while you finish up your shakshuka.

Using a spoon, make slight wells in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each.  Cover and cook the eggs over medium-low heat until the whites are firm and the yolks are just slightly cooked but still runny, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Fluff your couscous with a fork, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining parsley, and divide between four plates.  Top each plate with an egg or two plus a good dose of that sauce and scatter with crumbled feta cheese.

*Personally, I’m a big fan of leftover shakshuka for breakfast after a late night out with too much wine

The Sauce Fiend Chronicles: Tomato

Quick and Classic Tomato Sauce

Quick and Classic Tomato Sauce

I am a sauce fiend.  Seriously.  The only real reason I miss being a meat eater is because I miss out on the sauciest food of all: chicken wings!  I mean, you get two sauces in one!  Spicy, sticky hot sauce AND cool, creamy blue cheese dressing?!  Come.  On.  I think I need to invest some serious time in making a tolerable veg version of these carnivorous classics.

My love goes deeper than saucy bar food though.  I am that person who always orders extra sauce on their pizza and lathers dainty noodles in arguably too much butter, béchamel, or just classic tomato sauce. 

Here is my recipe for just that: a classic tomato sauce.  Throwing this sauce together is almost as fast as opening a jar from the store.


Quick and Classic Tomato Sauce

Makes about 1 litre

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp white wine, optional
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 hunk of parmesan rind, optional
1 – 796ml (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
2 – 4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 tbsp finely chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onions with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the finely minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so just to cook off some of that raw garlic hit. 

Add the white wine, if using, and the quartered cherry tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a bit.  Add the hunk of parmesan rind (if using) as well as the canned tomatoes, sugar (enough to balance the acidity of the tomatoes), and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.  Cover the pot and lower the heat to allow the sauce to simmer away for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  After 10 minutes, the sauce will be flavourful and quite bright tasting.  If you’re looking for a deeper and richer sauce, closer to the hour mark is where you need to go.

Finally, stir in the parsley and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy over pasta, on pizza, with roasted eggplant parm, or, if you’re like me, just dip a hunk of cheese into the sauce for a super weird snack.