What I’ve been cooking

Recently I’ve been entertaining a bit, but have been keeping it simple and casual at the same time.  It’s cold out so warm foods are a must, yet keeping things relatively healthy is still very important to me.

I have been fixated on a tomato soup recipe that I’ve not only been making for myself but also for my guests.  It has been a hit each time.  It is Chef Barbara Lynch’s Spicy Tomato Soup recipe and it is easy, quick and really delicious, especially this time of year with it’s vibrant red color and a bit of a kick to it…definitely warms you right up!

With the temperatures in the 20’s this weekend in Boston, I will definitely have this one on the stove.  It is from Barbara Lynch’s cookbook Stir  which I received from a good friend for my birthday a few years ago, and have really been getting into.  If you are looking for a new cookbook, I would definitely recommend it.




2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves {I also add 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley}
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche, for garnish {optional, I don’t typically add it and you wouldn’t be missing anything if you want to skip this part}

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and very tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, plus the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 30 minutes.

Add the basil & parsley, season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and let cool briefly, about 5 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid {the pour lid} and covering the space with a kitchen towel {this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off}. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or ladle; discard the solids {I actually skip this as well, I just blend in the food processer and serve}.

Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat on medium low until hot. If you choose, serve topped with a tablespoon of crème fraîche.

A second recipe that is wonderful to serve is this Smoked Mozzarella and Lemon Flatbread via alexandra’s kitchen.  It’s easy to prepare and the combination of smokey mozzarella and the citrus of lemon balanced with basil, is really lovely.  I serve this with the spicy tomato soup and a homemade caesar salad for a dinner full of amazing flavors.

6 thin lemon slices (as thin as possible)
3 ounces smoked fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
5 large leaves fresh basil {I actually doubled the basil quantities for mine}
Pizza Dough {I use whole wheat for this and roll it out really thin to make it more of a flatbread}
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Download recipe here

I also love these linen napkins for a casual dinner or lunch at home, very versatile yet elegant & simple.  They are scripted in navy blue and available here.

The two recipes above paired with a lovely bottle of red wine is perfection to me on a cold winter night at home with good company.

Happy weekend to you and bon appetit!


About Emmanuelle

Event Planning & Public Relations in the Boston Area specializing in fashion, beauty, textiles & consumer goods.
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