Tag Archives: tomato

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

21 Dec

It’s getting cold here in the Northeast…that means it’s time for soup! I found an easy red pepper and tomato soup recipe. I’ve modified it very slightly.

roasted red pepper and tomato soup



  • 3 red bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz.) whole San Marzano or other pear or plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plain yogurt


  1. Preheat the broiler. Place the red pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking pan and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until the skins are black and blistered, about 8 minutes.
  2. Let cool, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel the peppers and place in a bowl, reserving any juices.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, add  olive oil and onion. Stir often until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and stir until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted peppers and tomatoes, along with their juices, and the paprika. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, purée the soup until smooth (or you can use a food processor or blender).
  7. In the pot, stir in broth and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Tips

  • Optional: add roasted corn to add sweetness.
  • Serve in cups or bowls and garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and parsley or cilantro.
  • Make soup up to 3 days ahead. Store airtight in the refrigerator.

Original recipe here.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

20 Sep

What a real tomato looks like!

In my container garden, I grow three kinds of tomatoes – Better Bush, Celebrity, and Pink Brandywine (an heirloom tomato). The large, oddly shaped tomatoes in the photo below are the heirloom tomatoes. My collection isn’t as pretty as the “field tomatoes” or the “tomatoes on the vine” you see at supermarkets, and they are not all nearly the same size, either. But looks are deceiving, because these taste so much better!


Their flesh is sweet and dense. There are not nearly as many seeds as regular, store-bought tomatoes, so they are also not as drippy, with the juice that surrounds the seeds. These home-grown tomatoes are perfect for recipes like a tomato tart, where you don’t want the pastry to get all soggy. They are also perfect for this tomato salad, where you don’t want the tomatoes to drown in their own juice. I like to make this quick and easy salad to bring along on a picnic.



  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped to ½-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used a raspberry-flavoured one)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped into thin strips
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp feta cheese (optional)


Toss tomatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with basil. Top with feta, if desired.

Tomato Tarts in Portland and at Home

11 Aug

Last summer, I dined at Fore Street in Portland, Maine. They had the most amazing tomato tart appetizer with Jet Star tomatoes and a generous portion of whipped herbed goat cheese atop buttery, flaky puff pastry.

Fore Street - Tomato Tart

Info: Fore Street, 288 Fore St., Portland, ME

As my garden is quickly producing tomatoes, I wanted recipes that would make them the star of the dish. What better way to celebrate summer than with a light tomato tart, inspired by Fore Street? I did not have puff pastry around, so I used filo instead. My version is much easier to make. This large tart is enough for several appetizer servings.


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Salsa Standoff

7 Jul

Trader JoesMy guy and I eat Mexican food fairly often – quesadillas are easy to make at home, and anything with cheese is delicious. That’s why finding a great salsa is so important.

Trader Joe’s Spicy Smoky Peach Salsa – The first ingredient is tomato puree – take that as a warning sign. It tastes just like tomato sauce, not salsa. Were there peaches in this? Hard to tell. 1/5

Stonewall Kitchen Peach Mango Salsa (medium) – large chunks (an inch long) of sweet peaches and mango balanced the spiciness of the rest of the salsa.  Like most Stonewall Kitchen products, this salsa is slightly pricier than its competitors.  3.5/5

Hedgies Mild Salsa – I bought this at the Farmer’s Market, eager to support local businesses. This salsa is perfectly mild, just like the label says. A good balance of tomato, green peppers, and onion but not particularly memorable. It’s good as a topping on grilled chicken and other hot dishes, but it’s not exactly the refreshing salsa I’d normally put on Mexican food. 3/5 Hedgie's

Archer Farms Pineapple Salsa – claims to be mild, but it’s spicy enough to be medium. There are small cubes of what might be pineapple. In fact, jalapeño peppers are listed ahead of pineapples on the ingredients list. Good balance with tomato flavour. 3.5/5

Paino Organics Number 9 Salsa (mild) – A very hearty salsa, so-named because it has at least nine different veggies. There are tons of tomatoes, onion, and four types of peppers. A good blend of spices makes this salsa stand out. 4/5

Desert PepperDesert Pepper Peach Mango Salsa (medium hot) – Great on chips, burritos, and other TexMex dishes. Not too spicy. Chunky, with good-sized chunks of tomatoes and peaches. However, this salsa loses one point because the peaches are canned, and the salsa’s sweetness comes from the syrup, not from the peaches themselves. 4/5

Drew’s Organic Salsa (mild) – Thick and chunky, just as the label claims. The ingredients are diced up just enough so that the texture is consistently thick, and not interrupted by large vegetable chunks. Not too spicy, with a lot of tomato and onion flavour, and a hint of cumin.  4/5

The Final Word: Lots of great salsa choices, but I’m still looking for one that will be amazing enough to give it a perfect 5.

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