Curried Tomato Soup

Curried Tomato Soup is based on two of my favorite dishes: tomato bisque and Indian butter chicken. Growing up I always ate the Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Up until recently, this was our go-to tomato soup. That was until I learned to make a solid tomato soup on my own.

If you’ve never been to an Indian restaurant, shame on you. My local Indian restaurant isn’t well visited by the locals, which is unfortunate because I believe they have some of the best food in town. My absolute favorite dish at this restaurant is their butter chicken. Butter chicken is a spiced (but not a hot spice, think cinnamon, cardamon, etc.) tomoato and coconut milk sauce that is used to simmer dark meat chicken. It’s absolutely fantastic with an order of garlic naan.

Anyways, one day while eating butter chicken with my wife during lunch, I had the thought of smashing together our tomato soup recipe with a butter chicken recipe. Curried tomato soup is our final result after tinkering with this recipe. We have also discovered that this recipe goes extremely well with our Indian Spiced Meatballs. Just toss the meatballs directly into your soup and you’ll be amazed.

For this recipe, you’ll probably need to head to your local Asian/Indian market. The karai methi will most likely be one of the more difficult items to fine. Since the flavor is so unique, I don’t know where to begin in terms of substitutions. For the Indian chili power, cayenne will work just fine. For some reason, the chili powder we picked up at our asian market is an order of magnitude hotter than your standard chili powder (which I’m ok with), but you may need to add more cayenne.

Before your soup is finished cooking, I recommend you taste your soup and season to your liking. Salt is important in this dish to make it pop. Sometimes I also like to go with more garam marsala and chili powder. If you add more spices to your soup at the end, be sure to let it simmer another 10-15 minutes to ensure the flavors are well incorporated.

Curried Tomato Soup

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

A indian spiced tomato soup.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano (you can use fresh roman tomatoes, about 40-50 oz)
  • ½ cup cashews (this is not a typo)
  • ½ tbsp. garam marsala
  • 1 tbsp. Karai Methi
  • ¼ tsp. indian chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 can's coconut milk
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion over medium-low in the olive oil until translucent
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute
  3. Add the tomatoes, cashews, garam marsala, karai methi, chili powder, paprika
  4. Cook the mixture on low for 30-40 minutes
  5. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth
  6. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any large pieces
  7. Place the soup back over medium-low heat
  8. Add the coconut milk

 

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares are like the perfect potluck dessert.  Delicious, easy, AND portable!

These are quick to make, and made even quicker if you are lucky enough to find crescent roll dough sheets.  It is hit and miss for me, one day there are what seems like millions of cans in the refrigerated section, but half the time there are none.  It only takes a few seconds to press the cut sheets back together, so either one works.

If you like your topping a little less thick, just reduce the butter by a couple of tablespoons.  Just make sure you cover it completely with sugar and cinnamon.  Either way, just keep sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over the top until there are no more puddles of butter.  Basically, you want to make sure that your butter has absorbed as much sugar as possible.

While these can be eaten warm, I don’t find the flavor is at its best during this time.  Besides, it will be far too messy to eat with your hands.

I store mine at room temperature, I have never gotten sick nor have I had reports of people getting sick after eating these.  In my mind, these are no different than any coffeecake I have purchased with a cream cheese filling……….. I buy those at room temperature, except I have zero idea how long they have been sitting at room temperature.

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Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs is a recipe my wife and I came up with because she managed to find ground lamb at the grocery store on sale. It was very reasonably priced, so she picked up a few pounds. I didn’t want to do the usual thing, like turning the meat into hamburgers, so this is the recipe we came up with.

It’s super delicious and features pretty easy to find Indian spices like garam marsala, cinnamon, and ginger. And it has a good bit of garlic. This recipe is great for an appetizer, parties, or tailgates. They also reheat well.

Since Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs have no fillers, like bread crumbs or flour, they are perfectly suited for gluten-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets.

Before you start cooking this recipe, I highly recommend that you hit up your local Indian/Asian market for some fresh spices. You’ll be surprised what other ingredients you might stumble upon.

For this recipe, simply add the garlic, ginger powder, oregano, salt, pepper, garam marsala, to a mixing bowl. thoroughly mix the spices in with the meat.

The next step is easy, turn the meat mixture into meatballs. I recommend weighing out 1 oz of meat and then rolling those into balls. You should get 16 meatballs, but for some odd reason, I always get 17 and a half… I’m guessing either my scale is off or the meat processor’s scale is off. It’s probably mine.

You can either pan fry these or bake them in the oven. Lamb is pretty fatty, so I prefer to keep the mess to a minimum by cooking them in the oven.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cook the meatballs for 15 minutes or until their internal temp reaches 165.

If you don’t like the thought of using lamb, you easily swap this meat out for any other ground meat. Ground pork, chicken, turkey, and beef would do fine. If I couldn’t use lamb, I’d probably use a blend of 50% pork to 50% ground beef.

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs
1 lb of ground lamb
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp.oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garam masala

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Thourougly mix all of the ingredients.

Measure the meat into 1 oz. portions an droll into balls.

Place all of the meat balls onto a greased baking sheet.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.

http://peartreekitchen.com/indian-spiced-lamb-meatballs/

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs are perfect for paleo, keto, and Whole30 eating. Garlic, ginger powder, oregano, salt, pepper, garam marsala provides a ton of flavor.

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip

Our bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip is one of our absolute favorite party and tailgate food. It’s a crowd favorite and is perfect just about year round.

I absolutely love making cream cheese stuffed Jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and tossed on the grill. The only problem with making my normal jalapeno poppers is that it’s a pain in the ass to make and cook. It also makes one hell of a mess on my grill, which is really annoying. Because of the work and mess it makes, I normally only make these once or twice a year during football season. This Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip was invented more as a necessity. I was looking for a much easier way to create the flavors of my normal jalapeno poppers without all the fuss. This recipe also feeds a heck of a lot more people too.

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Pecan Coconut Cream Candies

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies, aka Martha Washington’s, are one of the very first candy recipes I ever made way back when I was a teenagers.  Perfect for beginners and those who are searching for some nostalgia from their early years.

There are many variations of pecan coconut cream candies around the world.  Some are soft and gooey, some are more solid, like mine.

You can change up the amount of powdered sugar to suit your preference.  If you like yours softer, start with half of the powdered sugar called for.  Add more sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste the filling.

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Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Bulgur Chickpea Salad saved the day for me.  Thanks to Jenn Segal over at Once Upon a Chef for the inspiration and base recipe to start with!

I needed a recipe that could easily serve quite a few people.  Normally, I have a difficult time deciding which recipe to make, since I have so many.  But this situation left me at a loss for what I could make.

You see, there were so many variables and criteria that needed to be met.  It was needed for a barbecue themed potluck that would be served over several hours because people would be getting their meal breaks at different times.  It would also be several hours between arriving at my destination and food service.

Refrigerator space was going to be severely limited, and carrying a crockpot to the destination was not possible.  There were a couple of factors that prevented this, but that really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I needed a dish to fit this criteria.

The last criteria was a new one for me.  There was going to be an ethical vegan eating at this potluck.  If you are wondering what an ethical vegan was, you aren’t alone.  I have asked many questions about this way of eating and still jut know the basics.

With my very limited understanding of this way of eating, I knew I needed to find something that had absolutely no animal products in the recipe.  No eggs, no dairy, and obviously no meat, but this also excludes honey.  If you have read any of our recipes, you know that there is a good possibility that I have no recipes beyond hummus that would fit that bill.  Hummus was not an option as I was committed to a side dish.

A friend suggested I make tabbouleh, but I really dislike that much parsley in any one dish.  I can’t get past the overwhelming feeling that I am eating lawn clippings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh parsley and grow my own during the summer.  It brings great fresh flavor to my dishes, but I guess tabbouleh is just too much freshness!  I needed an alternative.

This side dish salad was the perfect fit.  Bulgur and chickpeas combined with sturdy vegetables like red peppers, onions, and cucumbers would hold up to the acidity of the lemon juice.  I have left out the dill and the cumin, personal preferences here again.  This recipe kind of reminded me of a Portuguese chickpea salad a friend used to make and it only had parsley in it.  So I stuck with just the parsley, and did not use nearly the amount most tabbouleh recipes call for.

Sweet Chips and Fruit Salsa

Fruit salsa is a favorite dessert at our house.  Although there is not much healthy about the fried chips, it feels healthier than some of the other things we eat for snacks and desserts.

There are a lot of ways to make cinnamon-sugar tortillas listed all over the internet.  While these are tasty, they all seem to be too big, too hard, or do not hold the fruit very well.

For sweet chips I find what works the best are fried wonton wrappers or even eggroll wrappers cut down in size and fried.

The best part about Asian wrappers is that they stay crispy after frying and coating.  They never turn into moon rocks like some baked tortillas can.  They are also way less work than buttering and coating each side prior to baking.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is one of the few soups that both of us will eat.  It even gets eaten as leftovers, which if you know either one of us, you know that leftovers are rarely served around here.  But hey, that keeps the neighbors happy!

It starts with a chicken broth, so I am good.  It has meatballs which keeps the husband happy.  I also like that it has spinach in it, and this is about the only way I can get him to eat dark greens.  He loves salad, but only if it has no spinach or kale in it. In case you were wondering, I do have to pick those things out of any salad mixes they may be in.

I have read somewhere along the line that the carrots in this soup are for luck.  There are not really enough of them to affect the flavor, so leave them out if you prefer.  I keep them in because it is another way to get vegetable into our diets.

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Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Butterscotch Pie perfection has been an elusive mystery to me.  My grandmother could make them.  If you read the Almost Butterscotch Pie, or Sugar Cream Pie recipes, then you already know Aunt Alice could make them.

Any time I have tried to make one, it has either been runny or grainy, and sometimes both.  For me, I think the problem has something to do with the way I was mixing ingredients.  Generally, it looks curdled to me before I even add eggs.  Almost like the brown sugar curdles the milk, turning it into what looks like tiny pieces of cottage cheese floating in the pan.

The flavor has never been an issue, just the finished texture.  During a recent trip to visit family, my husband returned with an entire folder of recipes from Uncle Bill.  They were not the recipes that he was looking for, but in this folder are some amazing recipes that will be shared as time allows.

The first find that needed to be cooked and adjusted was Butterscotch Pie.  The reason for adjustments is that these recipes are designed for 50 and 100 people.  There are only 2 of us in this household, and unless you are feeding ranch hands or cooking for a family reunion, chances are you also need a smaller serving size to make in your kitchen.

I tested this recipe with my modifications using flour and using cornstarch.  We prefer the texture of the flour version, but the cornstarch version seemed to set up better.  Andy wanted a piece of pie before it was fully cooled, I would have preferred to wait a day, but he smelled it as soon as he opened the refrigerator.

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Aglio Olio with Mushrooms

A long time ago I had a friend that loved to cook Italian foods.  Spaghetti Aglio Olio, a.k.a garlic pasta,  and a red meatless “gravy” were the only two thing I ever cooked with that friend.

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I can never leave well enough alone in a recipe and have taken liberties over the years to adjust this recipe to my own preferences.  I think this is the way most folks cook Aglio Olio, as no two recipes ever seem the same.

The way I learned to cook Aglio Olio was to start with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies.  I know that the anchovies are supposed to melt into the sauce and provide a rich flavor.  I find it leaves too fishy of a taste for me and have chosen to not use them.  If you like that flavor, all you have to do is add 4 to 6 anchovy filets to the cold skillet with the garlic and oil when you first start the dish.

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