Smoked Gouda Tomato Soup

Here’s a little, simple recipe for you today. For me, easing back into the recipe sharing. For you, an almost effortless dinner idea.

Smoked Gouda tomato soup. Nothing revolutionary here, nothing crazy. Simple, classic tomato soup with a (smoked) twist.  This is just a standard tomato soup recipe, one that I have been making for months, with a handful of smoked Gouda cheese thrown in. All blended up to creamy perfection. A way to liven up tomato soup without too much effort. Not that tomato soup needs much livenin’ – I love the classic – but for something just a little bit different, this is it. I reccomend serving with extra shredded Gouda on top and slices of hearty bread – it’s hard to not enjoy.

If I have to do winter, this is how I want to to do it – hot soup in mugs and cozy evenings in. Cheers!

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Smoked Gouda Tomato Soup
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Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
(2) 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups veggie broth
(1) 8 ounce block smoked Gouda, shredded*
Instructions
Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onions and carrots. Let cook, stirring several times, for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are just slightly browned and soft.
Add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the two cans of tomatoes and veggie broth and stir once more. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover the pot and let simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice to begin to break up the tomatoes. Soup is done simmering when tomatoes are soft and beginning to fall apart.
Add two cups shredded Gouda to the pot and stir. Using an immersion blender (what I did) or regular blender, blend the soup until smooth. If using a regular blender, blend in batches.
Ladle into bowls (or mugs!) and top each with additional shredded Gouda if desired.
Enjoy!
Notes
* I used one 8 ounce block of smoked Gouda and shredded the entire block. I put two cups of the shredded Gouda into the soup and reserved the tiny bit that was left for topping the finished soup.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Lexington

Just a little
light,
that’s all I need,
just
a little sunlight
from you
and I promise
I
will grow.

-Tyler Knott Gregson, via Pinterest

2015. Two posts in two months. And neither a food post. I have four drafts just sitting, waiting for attention, but they just aren’t right. They are not what I want say or show or put out into the world. I keep reminding myself that 2014 was a slow start, too. The inspiration will flow. The sun will shine. Just wait for it.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you a few photos from our recent trip to Kentucky to visit great friends, Amanda and Abe. I’ve been wanting to do this trip for a long time, and the stars finally aligned for Greg and I to make the drive down, for what was my inaugural trip to the Bluegrass state.

We did many amazing things – toured an impressive distillery, stopped by a notable horse racing track, visited a special winery (the very winery where Amanda and Abe got engaged over two years ago!), had many scrumptious eats and drinks, relaxed, talked, and generally just enjoyed spending time with friends. I don’t have much to share visually and I am kind of regretful of that. I have only a few photos from the hike we took + a couple from the winery. {Note to self – when debating whether or not to take your camera, take it}. Winter in the woods of Kentucky doesn’t look much different from winter in the woods of Pennsylvania – gray, brown and truthfully, aesthetically dull + flat. You must hunt for the color, for the beauty. It’s there though, and I did try to capture it on our hike. Also, thank you to Amanda + Abe for being such wonderful hosts – we can’t wait to visit again!

Here’s to inspiration + sunlight. In real life and in blog life. Not rushing, but hoping that they’re just around the bend.

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Deep Creek Getaway

My family + friends went on a little getaway to Deep Creek, Maryland just before Christmas, to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday. I didn’t take many photos (kind of wish I had taken more!) but I’ll share with you what I do have. We loved Deep Creek and I, for one, can’t wait to go back. Most of the photos are from a hike we took at Swallow Falls State Park, on a pleasantly warm but still beautifully icy morning.

Also, I intend to do a new year/reflection on 2014 post, like the one I did last year, but I’m still working on it :) . Hopefully I’ll be back with that soon!

Enjoy the photos, and happy new year!

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Apple Crisp

I cried after my last farmers market of the year.

There was a local arts + crafts show occurring after market, and I wanted to wait around for it to start. It would start 30 minutes after we were done cleaning up, which seemed like forever after already being out in the cold Philly air for six hours that day. I sat in the car and cried. And I thought about it. I thought I was crying because of the seemingly long wait to check out arts + crafts (dramatic, much?). But I wasn’t. I was crying because I didn’t want market to end. I didn’t want to get into the car and go home. That would just mean that I’d have to admit that it was over.

While reminiscing with Greg recently, I told him that I’d never forget the very first time I got to work market. It was just over two years ago. I was still at IUP, finishing my bachelor’s and Greg was living in Philly, just beginning his time at Drexel. It was a Saturday, and I was sitting on the bed in his tiny studio apartment. He was sitting at his desk when he turned to me and said, nonchalantly, “We are good to work market tomorrow.” I freaked out. I had always loved farmers markets and for me, it was a dream to work at one. I get to work at one TOMORROW?? And for his family’s farm?! Dream. Come. True. The next day, I geared up with a light green Three Springs tee shirt, traveled to market, and loved every second of it. 

That was September 2012. Then, until May of 2013, I worked market when I was in Philly, visiting Greg on weekends – and yes, that is how I wanted to spend my Sundays visiting. May 2013 – present, I’ve worked market every Sunday that Greg and I have been home in Philly – which has been most.

This past Sunday was the last market that I will have worked as a Philly resident. The last Saturday that I made sure to be in my Queen Street apartment bed early, to be refreshed for market Sunday. The last Sunday morning that I took my breakfast to go, to eat in the car while taking in the Philly skyline on the drive to market. The last Sunday we searched for a parking spot along Pine Street. The last Sunday Greg and I came home with goodies from all of our favorite Headhouse vendors. To be honest, there won’t be many “lasts” in Philly that I am sad about, but all of these, are surely some of them.

Completely bittersweet.

I can honestly say that I’ve looked forward to working Sundays for the past 2 years. I’ve enjoyed every moment working at market for Three Springs Fruit Farm. All of this is thanks to Greg, and his family. Thank you Greg, thank you Three Springs and thank you Ben (Greg’s cousin), for giving me the opportunity to live out a dream. How a farmers market has made me so happy and particularly emotional, I do not know, but it surely has. In this new adventure that Greg and I are embarking on, I can hope that I find something that makes me as happy as market has here. 

Now, this recipe. I’ve had this apple crisp recipe and post sitting in my drafts for months. I couldn’t find the right words to pair with the post. But it’s time to share, and my recent emotions with my last market seem the right fit for a recipe featuring Three Springs apples.

I know that there are a lot of apple crisp recipes out there, and a lot of people are loyal to one, so I’ll tell you just a bit about mine.

Here’s what I love about my crisp recipe. The apples are just lightly sweetened, with no cinnamon – just 1 tablespoon of sugar in all of those apples, for a very natural apple taste. The apple skins are still on – a must for me. There’s no traditional white flour – instead I’m using almond flour which adds a great, nutty flavor (and for gluten free friends, is naturally gluten free). And butter, because sometimes it’s just necessary and it tastes so darn good in this. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

-Almond flour: I know that it is not a staple ingredient for most people, but it is for me and I love always having it on hand. It adds great taste and texture to baked goods. If you don’t keep almond flour on hand, consider it. In addition to today’s recipe, use it in these, these and this, too!

-Apples: Use any variety, don’t be particular. Admittedly, I am particular about many things in life, but which apples I bake with is not one of them. I’ve made this crisp many times and have used a mix of different apples each time – whatever I’ve had on hand. What you use will be good. Also, use local apples when possible!

-Arrowroot starch: This is what I have been using instead of cornstarch. Arrowroot is a natural and more nutritious option. Cornstarch can be substituted if desired, and although I have never made it with cornstarch, I feel fairly confident it would produce a similar end product.

-Penzeys vanilla sugar: I picked this up about a year ago and to be honest, this is the first time I’ve used it. I am in love with it for this recipe though and plan to keep stocked with it just for this. It’s just sugar mixed with vanilla beans (yum!). Plain, white sugar can be substituted, and, if you’re feeling fancy, throw in some vanilla beans with that sugar.

It’s been awhile since I’ve share a dessert recipe with you (or any recipe, for that matter!), and this is one that I feel especially good about. I hope that this crisp is enjoyed in every way by all who try it.

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Apple Crisp
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Ingredients
4-5 large apples, any variety
1 tablespoon Penzeys vanilla sugar (or plain, granulated sugar, see note in post)
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch, see note in post)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold butter
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350*.
Rinse, dry and slice apples as thin as you can get them.
In a large, but shallow baking dish, add apples, 1 tablespoon sugar and arrowroot starch. Mix gently to coat all apples.
In a mixing bowl, add oats, almond flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well to combine.
Cut butter into small cubes and add to the dry oat mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers (like me!), mix butter into the dry mixture to make the crisp. When done, the mixture will look like coarse crumbs and butter will be fully incorporated.
Evenly distribute crisp mixture on top of the apples in the baking dish. Bake 45 - 60 minutes, or until apples are soft and crisp is slightly browned and crispy.
Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Butternut Squash, Pear + Curry Brown Butter Soup

This soup. It has been my go-to since late September when butternut squash first started popping up. I am in love with this soup. There are so many butternut squash soup recipes out there, so I don’t know just how to convince you that this is the one to make, but know I believe that you’d be happy if you do!

Some reasons to try this soup:

1. This soup is simple. It uses fewer than ten ingredients (not including dried spices) and requires no complicated methods or tools.

2. It’s butternut squash soup. With pears. And curry brown butter. Those flavors, in every single bite. I feel like I don’t need to say more.

3. This soup will warm you to the core on this chilly autumn days.

While there is really nothing complicated about this recipe, here are a few notes to keep in mind:

- The curry brown butter is from this recipe, from 101 Cookbooks. I felt inspired to put the curry brown butter from their lentil soup into this soup and I’m awfully glad that I did. Brown butter is not hard to make, and is more than worth the small amount of effort. Read my description below on how to make brown butter, or for a very detailed description of it, with photos, click here.

-Use any type of pear that you have. Don’t be picky. For this batch of soup, I used pears that I had sliced and frozen earlier in the season, and that worked wonderfully. For past batches of this soup, I used fresh, chopped pears.

-This soup can be left chunky (like in the photos) by using a potato masher to “mash” the soup. If you desire a much smoother soup, use an immersion or regular blender to blend the soup until smooth. I’ve blended it before and enjoyed it that way, too.

-Speaking of leaving it chunky, I haven’t tried it yet, but I think the chunky version would go wonderfully over rice.

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Butternut Squash, Pear + Curry Brown Butter Soup
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Ingredients
Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced thin
1 large butternut squash, cubed
4 medium pears, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, onion powder, black pepper and cumin
1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon curry powder, used separately
3 tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
Instructions
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring several times, for about 5 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften.
Add butternut squash and pears to the pot and stir. Cook 10 minutes longer, or until squash begins to soften and everything is slightly browned.
Add the fresh, minced garlic and the 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, onion powder, black pepper, cumin and curry powder. Stir well, then add 3 cups of veggie broth.
Bring soup to a boil, then turn heat down to medium and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all veggies are very soft.
While the soup is simmering, make the curry brown butter. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Let butter melt completely, while whisking constantly, until you see brown specks appear. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and whisk a few more times. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once soup is done simmering (veggies are soft) add the curry brown butter to the soup pot.
Using a potato masher, mash everything together well to make a chunky soup. Alternatively, using a immersion or regular blender, blend soup until smooth.
Give the soup a taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add some salt, more broth or other seasonings if you desire.
Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/