Tag Archives: fresh

Fresh Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese


I don’t often brag about my food, but this soup is a winner. It’s beautifully fresh and bright, while warming you from the inside out.

The fresh ingredients make a difference in this meal, doing away with the tinny taste of canned tomatoes.


Fresh Tomato Basil Soup


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
8-12 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for about 10 minutes
Sprinkle cornstarch over onions and garlic to coat veggies.
Add tomatoes, salt and cayenne. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft
Puree mixture well, and strain. Stir in basil. Return to heat if ready to eat, or store in refrigerator.

Serve with grilled cheese.

Grilled Cheese


2 pieces of bread

1 Tablespoon butter

2 slices American cheese

Spread butter over one side of each piece of bread. Place butter side down in the pan, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.



Filed under Blog

Me oh my, Blueberry Pie: a Lesson in Patience

I don’t have the greatest pie-making track record. My first attempt, an All-American apple pie, was a flop. I was a baking novice in high school. I misread the recipe, but I didn’t realize it until I had gotten to my grandparents’ house and cut into it. It was starchy and dry; two cups of flour instead of two tablespoons. Lesson learned: read the recipes more closely.

A month ago, I made a beautiful chocolate meringue pie; but when I cut into it, the inside pudding spread. I ended up with a delicious dessert soup, but it was not the pie I’d had in mind.

Determined to perfect my pie-making, I turned to fruit. Fruit pies tend to hold together better than custard pies, but will still fall apart if not fully cooled.

Patience is the most important ingredient in pies. If you choose to make your own pie crust, you have to let the dough chill for a few hours. After your beautifully smelling pie has been pulled out of the oven, the waiting game is on. I tend to sample my cooking as soon as I go, but with pies, you must have patience in order to allow the juices to cool and solidify.

This delicious blueberry pie was successful because I let it cool for over four hours. The mint and lime added freshness to the tart blueberries. As you an use a prepackaged crust, I like Martha Stewart’s recipe, found here.

Blueberry and Mint Pie


2 chilled pie crusts, 9 inches

4 cups blueberries

Zest of one lime

Juice of one lime

3 Tablespoons chopped mint

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, mixed with a splash of water, for egg wash

Roll out dough and set into 9 inch pie pan.

Carefully stir together blueberries, juice and zest of lime, corn starch and mint. Try not to pop the berries.

Pour berry mixture into crust, and sprinkle with sugar.

Top with crust. You can cover completely with top crust, create a lattice top or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to arrange on top of the berries, as I did.

Brush top crust with egg wash mixture for a browner, flakier crust.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. If crust browns too quickly, tent with foil.

Here’s where patience comes into play: let pie cool for four hours or longer. This will ensure a cohesive filling.

Enjoy your hard work and patience with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and sweet tea.

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Filed under Baking

Baked French Toast

It was an ongoing joke when I was a kid: “Dad, what’s for breakfast?”  “Your favorite, French toast!” With a roll of the eyes, I’d reply: “C’mon, Dad. What’s really for breakfast?”

He knew how much I hated the half-soggy, half-crispy toast. On top of that, the dish was served with syrup, which I cannot seem to palate.

But, as I grew older, I began experimenting with different ways to cook and top French toast, and I found that baking it was a way to eliminate the soupiness that tends to accompany pan-toasted French toast. With some fresh whipped cream and strawberries, French toast has become one of my favorite weekend treats.

Baked French Toast


1 cup heavy cream

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon 

Half of a day old French loaf, cut into 1 inch slices

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Stir together cream, eggs, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Soak bread slices, about 10 seconds per side, or until bread is soaked through.

Spray 13×9 inch pan with non-stick spray. Arrange soaked bread in one layer.

Bake 350* for 10 minutes. Flip toast with spatula, and cook another 15 minutes. (Total cook time: 25 minutes)

Broil for 2 minutes to add extra crisp.

Dust with powdered sugar. Top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries or syrup.


Filed under Baking, Blog

Grilled Peach Crumble

The concept of grilling is new to my home. Aaron and I are learning, and burning, together. The latest grill-fail was kebabs: uneven cuts of vegetables and chicken over a heap of scorching coals.

Surprisingly, we still have eyebrows.

However, the fire was not wasted. I was able to grill some sweet peaches for dessert. Grilling adds depth and interest to a Summer dessert. The heat carmelizes the fruits’ natural sugars. Bake a nutty crumble over it and crown with ice cream for a sweet finale to a summer barbeque.

(You can follow this recipe with almost any fruit– I recommend peaches, apples, plums, or even halved strawberries.)

Grilled Peach Crumble


6 medium peaches, halved

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Combine brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Toss with halved peaches.

Grill 3 minutes per side.


1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cold

Mix flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Using beaters or food processor, combine butter with dry mixture until pea-size balls form.

Cover peaches with crumble.

Bake at 350* for 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool and top with vanilla ice cream.


Filed under Baking, Blog, Grililng, The Wholesome Whisk