Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

Roasted Garlic and Chutney

Years ago, my parents used to take me to eat at the California Cafe in the Mall of America. This was around the time that the mall first opened and it was–in my wide 12-year-old eyes–insanely cool.

(Side note. I just checked the MOA media kit to find out the year it opened its doors. 17 years ago. Time flies).

The California Cafe was a relatively nice restaurant for a mall. During that time, an upscale dining atmosphere in the land of the food courts came few and far between. I felt pretty darn special to be seated amongst clean white tablecloths, with a wait staff who wore ties, and who continuously refilled a little plate of olive oil to dip my bread in.

To be honest, since then I’ve grown to dislike eating in malls. Now they make me feel overwhelmed and sneezy, (thanks to the dense hodgepodge of department store perfumes). But I did take away a yummy food memory, and menu item, that I’ve been able to recreate at home.

This recipe is the closest I’ve found to the original. It is adapted from a September 1990 issue of Gourmet magazine.

It makes enough for a great starter to any dinner party. Or perhaps a Sunday brunch plate to nibble off of for a few hours while you read and futz around the house. I’m guilty of serving it both ways.


1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger root

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds chopped tomatoes

1 large white onion, chopped

1 cup raisins


Two heads of garlic

Olive oil



First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then, mince the ginger. I use a peeler to slice the outside skin off, then madly chop away with my knife.


Now chop onion and tomatoes.

Once oven is preheated, chop off tops of garlic heads with sharp knife.


Drizzle olive oil on garlic head and rub oil into it. Put in oven proof dish, cover tightly, and bake for one hour.


During this time you can also slice the baguette and drizzle it with olive oil, then toast it on a baking sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile combine sugar, cider vinegar, ginger, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt into a large pan and set heat between low and medium. Stir to dissolve sugar.


Once sugar is dissolved, add onions, tomatoes, and raisins. Stir to coat, and simmer at low/medium heat for about an hour, until it thickens. Be careful here. The cider vinegar is strong-smelling.



Once time is up, remove garlic from oven and chutney from heat. Let both cool for a few minutes.

Serve with baguette and goat cheese. Spread roasted garlic on toasted baguette, then goat cheese, then chutney. Yum.

Garlic and Chutney


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Tomato Soup

I was ecstatic last week when I saw how many ripe, red tomatoes were waiting to be picked in our garden. This year’s harvest is a little late, but not to complain. There are plenty of recipes for fresh tomatoes. And coming from your backyard is as local as you can get.

TomatoesAnatomically, tomatoes should be classified as a fruit. A Supreme Court ruling at the end of the 19th century found that tomatoes are, in fact, a vegetable. At the time, an import tariff existed, that applied only to vegetables. So, when a clever man started bringing in tomatoes under the “fruit” label, the court was quick to put an end to it. Their basis for decision? Linguistic reasoning. Tomatoes were found to be, “usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish , or meat” (McGee).

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Collier, 1984.

I love a good tomato soup, especially once the weather turns cold. Growing up, my mom used to make a “sick day” meal for me that consisted of two simply delicious things; tomato soup and grilled cheese.

This recipe is perfect for summer, however. It was almost like a gazpacho, in that there were little chunks and grains of fresh tomato in it. And rather than a grilled cheese sandwich, I made Parmesan croutons to put on top. Tomato SoupIt comes from Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Back to Basics. It provided my husband and I with two dinners, and one lunch for myself.


1 1/2 cups chopped red onion

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic

4 pounds tomatoes, chopped (5-6  medium/large)

Tomato Soup1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped basil

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3/4 cup heavy cream


Olive oil

Grated Parmesan (preferably freshly grated)

Salt and Pepper


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep pot over medium/low heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Tomato Soup

Add tomatoes, sugar, basil, tomato paste, stock, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper, and stir to mix.

Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice baguette into 1/4 inch slices. You can use however much you’d like, and save the rest by storing it in the freezer and reheating in the oven for later use.

Parmesan CroutonPut slices on baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil. Sprinkle parmesan on top. You can use a lot here Bake for about 5-10 minutes, until cheese is golden brown on top. Remove from oven.

Once soup has simmered for 3-40 minutes, add the cream and process the entire mixture through a food processor, blender, or food mill.

Reheat once ready to serve. Place Parmesan croutons on top.


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