Tomato Soup With A Twist

Last time on BAH, I discussed the various creative uses I have found for my canning jars.  So there’s some kismet to the fact that this post should come directly after it.  Yes, that is a  picture of soup in a jar.  That soup went from the pot on the stove, into that jar, and then got tucked into my lunch bag.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Adapted from Fine Cooking

BAH Note: I don’t see why you can’t roast the fennel along with the tomatoes and save yourself a step.  And the decision to leave the charred skins on the tomatoes is yours and yours alone…there’s no right or wrong answer.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

Heat the oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Place the tomatoes on the pan, cut side down, and drizzle with half of the oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and roast until the skins are charred.

Once the tomatoes are removed from the oven and cooling, heat the remaining oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sliced fennel and onion and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables soften and begin to brown.  Add the broth and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the roasted tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and roasted garlic.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes before carefully processing the soup in a blender.

Return the soup to the dutch oven, add the coconut milk, and taste for seasoning.  Add kosher salt to taste and continue to cook until the soup is warmed through.

{printable recipe}

Fine Cooking’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I’ve had pork on my mind.  Which is really something I never anticipated coming from an anti-barbecue background.  It took baby steps to get me here.  Some Andy Nelsons pulled pork love here.  Some Urban BBQ deep fried brisket in an eggroll happiness there. I have come to appreciate the simple beauty of a meat and two sides platter…not to mention a lemonade perfumed with some of Kentucky’s finest distilled spirits.

Just recently The Mistah and I paid a call to Mr. Andy Nelson where we commented that the old auto shop that serves as overflow seating is absolutely perfect.  We speculated that down south, where barbecue is a noun instead of a verb, the best eating would likely be found someplace like that…a little forgotten structure on the side of the road with sauce stained wooden tables and sticky floors.  I hope to test this theory extensively in the future.

Until then, I will have to be content to either make a run for carry out when the pork invades my thoughts or work some pulled pork magic in my own kitchen.  Thanks to the folks at Fine Cooking, I can do that. And so can you.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Adapted from Fine Cooking

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, bone in or boneless, trimmed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 or 4 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine the sliced onion, 1/3 cup vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder and 1 teaspoon salt in the insert of a slow cooker.  Add the pork and coat it completely with the mixture.  Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or 5 to 6 hours on high until the pork is tender and falling apart.

Carefully transfer the pork to a cutting board.  Shred the pork, discarding the bone (if applicable) and fat.  Whisk the tomato paste, hot sauce, remaining vinegar and salt into the juices.  Add the shredded pork and any accumulated juices back to the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, vinegar, and hot sauce as desired.

{printable recipe}

Korean Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Once upon a time, my brother and I used to get a subscription to Games Magazine as a gift from our grandmother who lived in Detroit.  She used to send all kinds of cool story books, puzzle books, picture books.  She was all about the books which may explain my (genetic ?) predisposition to curl up with a book and shut out the rest of the world.

I don’t remember a whole lot about Games Magazine except that there would be these picture puzzles that I could never figure out.  How the hell is a 9 year old supposed to understand that showing a line drawing of rope with the two ends coming together represents ‘making ends meet’.  Or that the drawing of two doctors is a ‘paradox’.  Clearly, my lack of understanding those picture puzzles left an impression on me because all these years later, that’s all I remember about the magazine.  So what does Games Magazine have to do with cooking?  Nothing except that when it came time to tell you about Korean Marinated Skirt Steak, I didn’t have a single picture of my dish that I wasn’t completely mortified to post.  I might not have understood those picture puzzles as a kid but they sure are coming in handy right now.  And let’s all be glad that Grandma did not send us a subscription to MAD Magazine instead of Games.  I can only imagine what lesson I would have taken away from that.

Korean Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Adapted from Fine Cooking

BAH Note:  The notes that I hastily scribbled down on the page I ripped out of Fine Cooking said ‘tender, balanced flavors, hell on my grill pan’.  We really did like the flavor the marinade gave to the meat.  I’d have to say it was salty sweet with some ginger heat.  But be prepared to have to scrub the hell out of your grill pan afterwards.  If a recipe calls for soy sauce, I typically start with half as much as the recipe says and add more a teaspoon at a time.  With this recipe, the 3 tablespoons called for is just right.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 scallions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into 4 portions
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Combine the sugar, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, and sesame oil in a small bowl, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag, add the meat, and let them sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.  Turn the bag after 10 minutes.

Coat a grill pan or nonstick frying pan with the vegetable oil and heat over a medium high flame until the oil just begins to smoke.  Remove the meat from the marinade and let any excess drip back into the bag.  Place the meat in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Work in batches if you have to in order to avoid steaming the meat instead of searing it.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest, covered with foil, for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

{printable recipe}

Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars

So remember how I gushed about the people I met at the Big Summer Potluck, how warm and welcoming they were, how genuine and down to earth everyone was? None of that has changed.  They are all lovely people.  What I didn’t realize going into the event was exactly WHO some of these folks were.  At the risk of having BAH shut down by the food blog police for gross ignorance, I am oblivious to the vast majority of the food world. Continue reading “Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars”

Big Summer Potluck

I’m not a gambler by nature. The risks I take are calculated, not reckless.  However, there are moments when I throw caution to the wind, say what the hell, and let the chips fall where they may.  These moments are few and far between, but they do happen.  My most recent spontaneous, caution thrown to the wind decision involved me, one untested cookie recipe, a set of Mapquest directions, six hours of driving, 39 food bloggers, several food professionals, and three deer.

The destination was called the Big Summer Potluck.  Organized by women who know food, blogging, and photography – Maggy Keet and Sharon Anderson of Three Many Cooks and Erika Pineda of Ivory Hut – this was a day to come together with other food bloggers to talk about the challenges we all face. It was an opportunity to build our food blogging community, to support and encourage one another, to learn more about our craft, and to eat some amazing food.

These ladies pulled out all the stops.  On the agenda:

Pam Anderson (food columnist, cookbook author, Three Many Cooks food blogger, and former executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated) shared her thoughts on recipe development and recipe writing, in addition to graciously hosting us at her home.

Abby Dodge (food writer and instructor, cookbook author, and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine) demoed a dessert from her upcoming Desserts 4 Today cookbook (brilliant concept y’all…a cookbook full of desserts that utilize four ingredients), and shared some of her tips and tricks (stabilize whipped cream by replacing half the heavy cream with marscapone…yum).

Melissa DeMayo (food stylist extraordinaire) shared her food styling expertise and tips (texture, height, ingredient shots), demoed building the picture perfect sandwich, and told us the best way to do {fill in the blank with your question of choice} is whatever results in the prettiest shot.

Erika Pineda (photojournalist, sports photographer, and Ivory Hut blogger) spoke about the Holy Trinity of photography (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO), point and shoot vs. dslr, and processing.

We had a lively discussion about video content and media campaigns with Auritt Communications.

And then there was Alice.  Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life and Everyday Alice.  Alice Currah who was named one of’s “Eight of The Very Best Food Bloggers” and Saveur’s food photography “Cover Contest” winner. Maybe you’ve heard of her?  She’s the bomb.  Alice spoke to us about the importance of being authentic in our craft, speaking (and blogging) from the heart and from what we know, carving our own niche out of the blogosphere while also supporting and encouraging and honoring other food bloggers.

I go on and on about The Universe this and The Universe that and it may sound trite but hear me out.  I was originally supposed to be in New York city for BlogHer this summer.  My plans changed and I didn’t have the opportunity to attend and to finally meet in person some of the people that I have grown to think of as part of my extended family.  And I was disappointed about that.  But The Universe more than made up for it by getting me to Big Summer Potluck.  BlogHer is mega big. It’s huge.  Which for my socially awkward self is completely overwhelming.  Big Summer Potluck was intimate.  It was warm and welcoming.  It was a conversation among old friends who may have just met each other that morning.  It was exactly where I needed to be.

Remember my post You Might Be A Food Blogger If… That’s how Big Summer Potluck made me feel.  I was anxious about walking into a room with an untested recipe (and we know I have strict rules about untested recipes) where I didn’t know a soul.  My lack of navigational skills resulted in me getting lost in rural Pennsylvania and being the very last person to arrive 30 minutes late.  Hello, I consider showing up on time being late.  And yet, once I set foot in the door all of that melted away.  I was embraced by these people.  I was part of their tribe.  I belonged.  And isn’t that what we all want?  To be accepted.  To be validated.  To be inspired.

There was laughter.  Warm sun, clear skies, and cool breezes.  Amazing products supplied from KitchenAid, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New West Knifeworks, The Spice House, Fine Cooking, Green Valley Organics, Green Mountain Coffee, Cypress Grove Chevre, Naturally Nora, and Lindsay Olives.   And incredible food.  Because you have to know that at a food blogger get together we’re going to nosh on good eats.  To see people who know and make good food eat my potluck contribution and have their faces light up was priceless.  In my head, I sounded like an insecure adolescent saying OMG, Alice Currah is eating my cookie and she LIKES it!!!  There may have also been jazz hands and the Peanuts dance going on in my head as well.  I was too excited in the moment to accurately recall now.

So I’ve been quietly sending my thanks back to The Universe for giving me the opportunity to be part of Big Summer Potluck.  For the people who made it all possible and the people whose presence made it what it was.

I’ve also been thanking The Universe for allowing me to come to a complete stop on that winding back road in time not to hit the deer that decided to pop out of nowhere and lazily cross the road.  I don’t know if there is any symbolic meaning to seeing three massive bucks other than the obvious – slow down.  But that is one of the small moments from the weekend I hope to hang on to.  Yes Universe, sometimes I hear what you’re trying to tell me loud and clear.

Hungry for more Big Summer Potluck?  Check out:

Bread and Putter



Smells Like Home

Tickled Red

Add A Pinch

The Sensitive Pantry

Three Many Cooks

Fine Cooking

The Dinky Kitchen

Dine & Dish

The Coquettish Cook

What’s Kookin’ In Kara’s Kitchen

How To Simplify

My Kitchen Addiction

Four Chickens

Modern Wench

The Ivory Hut

Smith Bites

Souffle Bombay

The Peche

She Wears Many Hats

Bluebonnets & Brownies

Abby Dodge

Do you wonder what a Big Summer Potluck looks like?  Check out Erika’s lovely photos of the day.

And stay tuned for the Peanut Butterfinger cookie recipe that I took a gamble on being Big Summer Potluck worthy.

Fine Cooking Shrimp Stew

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Since our break up, I haven’t decided on a replacement for Cook’s Illustrated.  I scope out the grocery line to see if any of the other cooking magazines catch my eye with their glossy pages and full color photos.  A few I can eliminate straight away.  Rachel Ray makes me run from my HDTV.  I’m not bringing a pint sized print version of her into my home.  Martha Stewart is too fussy for my taste so she can just cool her heels with Miz Ray at the check out counter.  I’ve already had a relationship with Cooking Light and I don’t see us getting back together in the near future. Continue reading “Fine Cooking Shrimp Stew”