Woke up this morning to about an inch and a half of snow.  Now, I feel that I need to explain something – I’m from the South.  Even though I’ve lived in Washington, DC, and Connecticut, I still have a Southerner’s mentality about snow – which is that it’s Mother Nature’s way of saying “sleep in!  relax!  go outside and play with the dog if you must, but otherwise, take a load off inside where it’s warm and dry.”  I somehow managed to fight that urge and made it in to work – but, then schlepped my way back home around lunch.  The snow was bucketing down by that time and one of us needed to make sure we were here to take care of the Wondermutt.

Which leads to a question I’ve always had – what is it about snow that makes dogs generally lose their mind?  I took ours up to the field near our house and let her off her leash and she was like a child just let out of school, bounding through the snow drifts, sticking her nose all the way down in it and then doing that great thing that dogs do where they crouch down on their front legs and dare you to chase them.  So I obliged her and we ran around like total nutters until I couldn’t feel my ears.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, if you ask me!

So, for obvious reasons, I needed something to warm me up when we got back home.  I’ve always loved tomato soup and think it’s a cure for all but the worst cases of frostbite.  This recipe is based on the one I linked to on Epicurious – while it was an okay start for a soup, I thought it needed a kick in the pants.

Red’s Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

  • 4 lbs tomatoes, halved
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, still in their skins
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and cut into eighths
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cream (or 1/4 cup creme fraiche and 1/4 cup skim milk)

Preheat the oven to 400 F

Use parchment paper to line a large rimmed baking tray (or 2, if you need the space) .  Spread out your tomatoes (cut side up), peppers and garlic, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake about an hour.

When the tomatoes are nearly done, start to cook your onions.  In a large pot, heat a little olive oil and the butter over medium heat.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes as the butter is melting and swirl to infuse the butter and oil with the heat of the pepper flakes.  Add the onions and cook until softened.  Add the oregano and mix well.  When the tomatoes are done, add the tomatoes, peppers and squeeze the softened garlic out of their skins.  Mix well then add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.  Use a stick blender to puree in the pot or puree in a standing blender in batches.  Bring back up to the heat and add the cream – once added, do not let boil.

Serve with your favorite kind of grilled cheese sammich!

don't you feel warmer already?