This is one of those incredibly good, incredibly simple recipes that you come across every once in a while. I had something similar to this from one of the Chinese places downtown, decided to try to find a recipe to make it myself, and then did a bit of a riff on it based on what I had to hand. This is done in 15 minutes, incredibly simple, cheap if you have most of the stuff on hand, and has a good umami flavor about it.

Chinese Egg and Tomato Soup
Lasts three lunches, roughly

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • 1 T soy sauce (I used dark aged soy sauce)
  • 2 large eggs
  • (finished with a dash of fish sauce, recipe also recommends a dash of sesame oil)

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add your tomatoes and sugar, and bring to a simmer (pic 1). Then add your grated ginger, veggie stock, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil (pic 2). While the soup is being bought to a boil, whisk your eggs until broken up (pic 3). Once boiling, slowly pour the eggs into the soup while stirring the soup (pic 4). Then, finish with a dash of fish sauce (and sesame oil, if you so choose), and enjoy!

Looking for a cheap as hell, quick, delicious, simple dinner? You’re looking at it. The most expensive thing you will need to buy for this will be the ravioli (and even that is $5 for a package, tops). Most of the rest of this you should already have in your pantry. And plus, once fresh herbs come into season, this’ll get even better (I used dried basil because basil bunches are still expensive as hell around here right now). 

Tomato Balsamic Ravioli
Lasts four lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 lb ravioli (or however much comes in whatever package you’re buying)
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped (I used dried basil)

Take your ravioli, and cook it according to the instructions on your package. Drain, run some cold water over it, and set aside.

Heat your olive oil over medium, and then take your diced tomatoes and onion and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, followed by the fresh diced tomato, and cook for another five minutes. 

Once five minutes has passed, take the ravioli, toss it with the tomato mixture, sprinkle your chopped fresh basil on it, and serve!  Maybe add a bit of parm if there’s not enough cheese in your ravioli for your tastes. 

I made this on a whim for breakfast for the week. Two observations from making this. One, in doubling the meat, I probably should’ve also doubled the cheese (I added three more eggs). Ah well, now I know for next time (and trust me, there will definitely be a next time). Two: while good on its own, this can also go into a pita (or, likely, a tortilla or taco) for a good breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast Queso Fundido
Lasts about 7 days’ worth of breakfast

Ingredients

  • .5 lb chorizo, casings removed (I used the two links of lamb chorizo I picked up at the meat market down the street from where I work, closer to 14 oz overall)
  • 1 small onion, diced (should’ve diced it smaller)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten (I used closer to 7)
  • 1 c monterey jack cheese, shredded (should’ve used closer to double that, used a sun dried tomato basil monterey jack I got from the farmer’s market)

Take your chorizo and add it to a pan over medium heat.  Use a spatula to break it apart as it cooks, and let it cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it starts to break down further.  Add your onion, jalapeno, and tomato, and cook for another 5 to 7 mins, until your onion is soft, tender, and almost translucent.  Add your garlic, and cook another minute, until the garlic smells really good. 

Add in your eggs, and cook them scrambled style, until they’re just barely set (about four minutes). Then add in your cheese, and stir it in, cooking another 2 to 3 minutes until it’s melted.  If you have some, sprinkle some cilantro on top (I forgot mine, derp).

And then, enjoy your ridiculously cheesy eggs!

Tomato. Bacon. Chutney. Really, there’s no combination of these three words that doesn’t result in deliciousness, and the chutney that’s been simmering on my stovetop ever since I finished my marathon of all of House of Cards just proves it.  (Yes, I watched all of House of Cards, starting Friday night.  ALL OF IT.)

Made a few alterations to the original recipe, most notably, more detailed instructions, because really, you shouldn’t have to wing it and hope it turns out okay because of vagueness in the original directions.

Tomato Bacon Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 12 large cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • .5 lb thick bacon (as always, go farmer’s market if at all possible)
  • 2 T rice vinegar

Heat your olive oil over medium-highish heat, and take your diced leeks, garlic, and onion, and sautee until tender, about five minutes.  Add your honey and stir until fully combined, and then add your rosemary, paprika, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce to medium/medium-low heat, and simmer for an hour.

While your chutney simmers, take your half pound of bacon, lay it out on a baking sheet with foil, and heat your oven to 325 (mine was at 300).  Put your bacon in the oven, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes (25 minutes got me the second picture).  Once done, remove the bacon from the oven, let it cool, and then dice it and set it aside.

Once your chutney has simmered for an hour, season with salt and pepper, and stir in your rice vinegar. Then, remove the rosemary sprig and stir in your diced bacon, and enjoy the sexy, sexy goodness.

The weekend is one of the few times I will do anything that requires any sort of effort for breakfast, as during the weekday, breakfast mostly doesn’t happen.  My wakeup time is timed so that I have enough time to wake up all the way, make myself look decent, and get out the door on time, and unless I have something breakfasty that I can eat at work, I usually don’t eat till a midmoring snack.  Breakfast has become a weekend thing exclusively for me, which means I’m willing to put a bit more effort into making it.

This was a fun little exercise, as I’ve never poached an egg before, but I can say that it didn’t turn out half bad.  Might not have the bread under teh broiler as long as I did next time, and I forgot the cheese, but otherwise, this is definitely something I’d think of making again.

Garlic and Tomato Rubbed Toast with Poached Egg
Makes 1

Ingredients

  • slice roasted garlic bread
  • peeled garlic clove
  • tomato
  • 2 eggs
  • shredded cheese of some sort (original recommends parmesan, I didn’t add any, will likely experiment with what I have in the fridge next time)
  • basil (didn’t use this as fresh basil is fuckass expensive right now)

Take your slice of bread and throw it under the broiler until it gets to your desired doneness for toast.  As soon as it’s done, take it out of the oven, and rub it with your garlic clove. Slice your tomato in half, and then rub half of it against the still warm toast.  

While this is happening, poach your eggs – the trick I used was to put vinegar in teh water, bring it to almost boiling, and put the rings of two mason jars in and crack the eggs directly into the mason rings.  The eggs mostly turned out (see pic 2), though getting them out was a bit difficult.  I recommend a spoon of some sort, and sliding it under the mason jar rings for next time.

Put your eggs on top of the toast, add the cheese and basil if you have it on hand, and boom; utensil free breakfast that’s relatively easy to make, filling, and looks pretty besides.

This is one of my favorite recipes, especially as we’re getting closer to fall and everything gets cooler.  Tomato soup is an awesome thing, but make it from scratch, and add basil and feta, and it gets even better.  (It also helps that tomatoes were $1/lb at the farmer’s market.)

There’s a really easy way to peel and deseed your tomatoes that I mentioned in the mizra ghasemi recipe, but I’ll be detailing it again here.  The recipe recommends about six tomatoes, but you can go over or under depending on their size; I did five, and they were pretty big ones.

Tomato, Basil, and Feta Soup
Lasts 5+ lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • .25 c olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • dash salt
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, deseeded, and chopped small
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 1 c feta crumbles
  • .5 c fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 c tomato sauce (appx 1 15 oz can)
  • dash pepper

To peel and deseed your tomatoes, cut small xes on the bottoms, and get two pots of water going.  Set one to boil, and fill the other with ice water. Once your water’s boiling, stick your tomatoes in for a minute, and then put them in the cold water.  The tomatoes will peel themselves pretty quickly after that (and if not, the skins will come off pretty easily).  Once your tomatoes are peeled, core them, half them, and squeeze; the seeds will come right out. Chop them up, and put them aside for later.

Meanwhile, use the pot you had the boiling water in (empty it out, obviously), and heat your olive oil over medium high heat. Chop your onion, and as soon as your olive oil’s heated, add the onion to the pot and sautee until transparent.  Then add your bay leaf, garlic cloves, and salt, and cook for another two minutes. Add your tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for about twenty minutes (mine went a bit longer as I was prepping another recipe while this was cooking).

After twenty minutes, blend in batches, until you’ve got your desired smoothness – I started on low puree, and then went to high. Be sure to do small batches, or the soup may go all over the kitchen, and trust me, hot soup flying all over is not what you want.  Also, remove your bay leaf – I didn’t, whoops.  Return the soup to the pot and add the tomato sauce, feta, torn basil leaves (I just took a bunch off what I bought at the farmer’s market that morning and tore them, it was probably more than a half a cup) and pepper.

And now, the last of today’s oven/postmageddon.  I could’ve done a process photo on this, but honestly, a) I’ve been cooking for almost seven hours, and I can’t be assed right now, and b) this recipe is pretty fucking simple. 😛  It’s also pure summer, and again, by my friend who has the awesome bath and body Etsy, Paintbox Soapworks.

Tomato Bread Salad
Lasts appx 5 lunches as a side

  • ½ loaf bread (I used roasted garlic)
  • 4 large tomatoes, halved
  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • one 2-3 oz ball of fresh mozzarella
  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ c balsamic vinegar

Take your tomatoes, and roast them at 400 (375, standard oven runs hot) degrees for a half hour.  As soon as they’re done, turn your oven down to 350 (325 if it runs hot), and tear apart your bread into small pieces, and put them in for about 20 mins, until they get crispy and start to the color at the very edges.  You could probably roast these both together for maximum flavor, but I’m not sure.

While this is happening, tear apart your basil and your mozzarella into small pieces, and put in your bowl.  Add your halved roasted tomatoes and all their juices as soon as they’re out of the oven, along with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Let the bread cool a bit, and then add it to the bowl, and toss it all together.  Let it sit (in my case, it’s going in the fridge) to absorb all the juices.  And then, enjoy the noms!

So, it’s supposed to be summer out here.  It’s been hovering pretty consistently in the 50s and 60s the last few days and been rainy.  And, while I like this fallish weather, it IS supposed to be summer, already.  I want my sun.  And so does my fire escape garden.  

As such, it’s time to combat the cold and damp with a good warm soup.  And that’s where this recipe comes in tonight.  It’s one I’ve been meaning to try for a while, and smelled pretty damn good cooking, besides.

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup 
Lasts 3 meals + feeding at least four people with multiple servings at weekly gaming night

Ingredients 

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (do not drain; original recipe recommends San Marzanos, but honestly, go with whatever you can get)
  • 1.5 c chicken stock
  • ¾ c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T sriracha
  • 1 T oregano 
  • 4 oz (½ c) blue cheese (the original recipe recommends crumbled Roth Kase buttermilk blue, and it was the cheapest for the amount, though whole instead of crumbled – the blender will chop it up if it’s a major concern)

Heat your olive oil, and while you do that, chop up your onions and slice your garlic.  Add your onion and a pinch of salt to the pot, stir to coat the onion with salt and oil, and then cover and cook for two minutes.  Then, add your sliced garlic, and cover and cook for two more minutes.

Add your can of undrained tomatoes to the pot, along with the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer (gentle bubbling boil).  Once simmering, add the cream, sriracha, and oregano, and bring back to a simmer.  Once simmering gently again, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Let the soup cool for appx 10 minutes, and then add your blue cheese and blend in batches (trust me, you do not want to deal with hot soup bursting out of your blender, it’s painful) until smooth.

Hey folks!  The long weekend rearranged my priorities cooking wise slightly, so I haven’t really cooked prior to now.  (Yay for cookouts/viewing parties where you don’t have to contribute food!)

So, sometimes you have cravings.  Mozzarella has been high on my list, and I seriously need to try and make it myself with the amount that I’m going through it as of late.  This is another way to try and satisfy these cravings.  😛

Personal note re: pastry shell: be sure you thaw it for at least 24 hours in the fridge before you use it.  I accidentally opened the shell and thawed it after, so it was likely a little dry.

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Lasts appx 5 meals

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz puff pastry (I used frozen)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 1 pound (appx 4) plum or roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • a dash salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 8 oz mozzarella (I used presliced log mozzarella, the original recipe recommends grated)
  • 2 T fresh basil

Heat your oven to 425, and arrange your puff pastry so that it fits on a baking sheet.  I cobbled together two separate puff pastry sheets to get what you see above.  Fold over the edges of the pastry over by a half inch, and brush with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the shell, and poke the shell with a fork so that there are holes all over (and I mean all over; I didn’t get the body the first time through, and when I checked it in the oven, it was puffing up to a ridiculous degree).  While this is happening, combine the olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic, and dry the sliced tomatoes (and sprinkle with a bit of salt).

Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake until golden brown and crisp (usually another 10 to 15 mins).  Remove from heat, and take the oven back up to 425.  While the tart cools, tile on the mozzarella and tomatoes, and sprinkle with the garlic oil.

Return the tart to the oven, and bake until deep golden brown and the cheese melts (appx 15 mins).  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh (or dried) basil (half amount if using dried).