Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yet Another Puppy Update!!! MANY Pictures!

I cannot describe what a life altering experience it has been raising two puppies. I love it, love it, LOVE IT!!! Sure, they dig giant holes in the newly laid sod, and they think the downstairs is "outside" but they are just the most amazing little creatures. Figgins is the spoiled crazy one, who ALWAYS wants to play. Halo is the timid shy guy who comes out of his shell once he gets to know you, and once he does, watch out. Just try to pet Figgins, and Halo will wiggle his way in between you two in a second. He LOVES attention! The boys spend their day sleeping, wrestling around with each other, taking walks thinking about food and being adorable.

The boys taking a little nap together.



Hanging out by the pool.
Getting to know each other again.
Getting ready for battle.
More wrestling about to ensue.

More fighting.

Scary puppies!

Figgins is calm again, laying on the "pee" blanket...let's not go into it.

Halo isn't used to posing, but does a great job!

Terry tried to wrangle Figgins, Halo and their brother Callahan (who my brother Derrick is raising) for a picture.

Awww...see why I can't resist these two!


Friday, August 22, 2008

TF's Roasted Tomato Soup

WOW! It’s sure has been a while! I have been trying to enjoy the few weeks between summer school and regular school, known as, “summer break.” Terry and I have been acting like we are still in college, and having WAY too much fun. We took a trip down to San Diego to see Derrick and go to the Del Mar race track. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary by getting a new puppy, so now we have Figgins, and his brother Halo. Derrick took a third brother that he named Callahan. All three are just about the cutest things you have ever seen.

Terry went golfing with the guys today, so I thought I would take advantage of a quiet house and try a new recipe which came highly recommended by Canice on the Cooking Light BB. Tyler Florance’s Roasted Tomato Soup is absolutely outstanding. We stopped by the farmer’s market yesterday and bought the tomatoes which helps to make this soup delicious and perfect for summer.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.

Anything I thought I knew about tomato soup has been thrown out the window. Tyler Florance's Roasted Tomato Soup is hands down the best tomato soup I have ever had. It is rich, creamy, I might even go so far as to say velvety smooth (for some reason that word bothers me, but seems fitting here). It was not very difficult to make and I have read that it freezes very well. More than likely I will take another trip to the farmer's market, so that I can make a double batch and freeze it for the "winter." I made a few changes, as always to the recipe. I only used 1/4 cup of olive oil, about 2/3 of the amount of chicken broth that was called for, added a bit more garlic and used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream. I do not have an immersion blender, so I just blended everything in two batches in my regular blender. This soup came highly recommended to me, and in turn, I am recommending it to you, you will LOVE IT!!! Grilled cheese is the obvious accompaniment to this soup, and fresh, in season tomatoes can only add to this recipe, enjoy!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MORE Puppies!!!

The end of summer school has put my writing on a hiatus. I can assure everyone that I will be up and blogging regularly as soon as school begins again. There is a lot of downtime that comes with teaching high school art. I wanted to update everyone on our puppy situation! We have gotten one of Figgins brothers, and my own brother, Derrick has gotten yet another of the siblings! The two new guys seemed to have been a bit neglected at the breeders, so we are showering them with love and care. Soon they will be as spoiled as Figgins!