Monthly Archives: September 2015

  • Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Herbs

Posted on September 21, 2015

Disclosure: My friends at Lafayette Avenue Ceramics sent me some pieces to use in my kitchen, including the cute mugs you see in the photos. That’s all. Just thought you should know.

We are only a couple days away from the official start of Fall, but here in New England we’re still struggling with warm temperatures and humid air.

A few leaves have fallen. And the weather is certainly more “blustery” than it was a couple of weeks ago. But the changes don’t seem as dramatic to me as they once did. Which I’m guessing is due both to climate change and to my memory not being as solid as it use to be. Eight years of living on the West Coast will certainly cause a person to fantasize wildly about mid-September in New England being synonymous with crisp air and vibrantly colored leaves. But the truth is, the Fall of my dreams doesn’t usually arrive until October.

So as I wait for Fall to come into full swing, I’m tentatively dipping my toes into cooler weather foods. One of which I consider to be my all-time favorite food group: soups. Bet you thought I was going to say ice cream! Or bourbon!

I don’t know what it is about soups that makes them so appealing to me. But I love creating them almost as much as I love eating them. And I look forward to the start of soup season every year.

Since I’m not ready for thick, cream-based soups just yet, I’m keeping things light with this dairy-free Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Herbs. The flavors and colors are bright and uplifting. Not heavy at all. And the soup is equally good served piping hot as it is served cold (just in case you find yourself in an Indian summer type situation).

I hate to be bossy, but don’t skip the herb garnish. It really adds a lot of complexity to the soup. If you happen to have a different mix of herbs on hand (oregano and tarragon would make good additions/substitutions), feel free to change it up. I ain’t mad at that.



Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Fresh Herbs


  • For the Soup
  • 2 lbs plum tomatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, depending on your preferred level of spice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf

  • For the Herb Garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them in a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Cut the red pepper in half, removing and discarding the stem and seeds. Add the red pepper to the baking pan. Drizzle the tomatoes and red pepper with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Transfer the baking pan to your pre-heated oven and roast for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot set over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Add in the roasted tomatoes and red pepper, along with any juices from the baking pan. Add the vegetable stock, wine and bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Blend the soup to your desired consistency. You can use your food processor with the blade attachment or your blender. Or a food mill with the course disk attachment (which is what I did). Work in batches and be careful when transferring the hot liquid.
  4. Transfer the blended soup back to your pot and keep warm.
  5. Make the herb garnish. Place all the herbs in a pile on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife, mince the herbs, going back and forth several times over the pile, until they are finely chopped.
  6. To serve, ladle the warm soup into bowls or mugs. Top with some of the herb garnish. Enjoy immediately.

  • Butternut Squash, Pear and Ricotta Bruschetta with Sage Oil

Butternut Squash, Pear and Ricotta Bruschetta with Sage Oil

Posted on September 19, 2015

Today is a special day. Because we’re here today to celebrate the impending arrival of another baby boy to our close-knit blogosphere. And the lucky mom-to-be is none other than the talented Megan Kohrs of With Salt and Wit. Hooray!

Megan and I haven’t met in person yet (although I’m hoping that changes soon!), but we’ve been connecting via the interwebs for about 1 1/2 years now. I know whenever I go to Megan’s site that I’m going to find bright, happy photos and dishes full of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Oh and lots of skinny cocktails. Just check out her drinks archives! It’s totally drool-worthy!

I couldn’t be happier for Megan and her husband as they enter into the journey that is parenthood. And I’m thrilled to be teaming up with so many other fabulous food bloggers to honor this joyous occasion.

Since it’s almost the first official day of Fall, we decided to have a Fall theme for Megan’s virtual baby shower. Below you’ll find twenty delectable creations that you can make and enjoy over and over again during the next couple of months. Everything from breakfast to desserts. We’ve got you covered.


These Butternut Squash, Pear and Ricotta Bruschetta with Sage Oil are my contribution to the baby shower. They have both a salty and sweet component, which is something I always look for in an appetizer. And some of the steps (like roasting the squash and making the sage oil) can be done in advance if necessary, so all you have to do when it’s party time is assemble the little toasts and serve.

Be sure to head on over to Megan’s site and say congratulations. And don’t forget to check out what everyone else “brought” to the party!



Butternut Squash, Pear and Ricotta Bruschetta with Sage Oil

Serves 20-24

Butternut Squash, Pear and Ricotta Bruschetta with Sage Oil


  • For the Squash
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • For the Sage Oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves

  • For Assembly
  • 2 rustic French baguettes
  • About 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced and cut to fit the bread


  1. Roast the butternut squash. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butternut in half down it’s long axis. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the butternut halves cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle each half with 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for about 50-60 minutes, or until the squash is very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Note: Make the sage oil while the butternut squash is roasting. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and set it aside to cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel off and discard the skin. Transfer the flesh to your food processor with the blade attachment. Add the honey and 1 tablespoon of the sage oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Remove the butternut squash from your food processor and transfer it to a clean bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  2. While the butternut squash is roasting, make the sage oil. In your food processor with the blade attachment, process the oils and sage leaves until the sage is finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and bring it to a low simmer for about 1 minute. Note: Use the same food processor to process the roasted butternut squash above. No need to clean it out in between! Remove from the heat. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to remove as much of the oil as possible, collecting and reserving the oil into a clean container. Set aside.
  3. Assemble the bruschetta. If you turned off your oven, pre-heat it again to 375 degrees. Cut the baguettes into approximately 1/2-inch slices. Brush each piece with some of the sage oil. Place the baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spread about 1 tsp. of the ricotta cheese onto each toasted baguette slice. Top with a couple slices of pear and a dollop of the roasted butternut squash. Drizzle with some of the remaining sage oil. Serve and enjoy!


Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip– The Cookie Rookie

No Churn Pumpkin Caramel Ice Cream– Pumpkin n’ Spice

Pumpkin Pie Fluff Dip – A Latte Food

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins -Dinner at the Zoo

Pumpkin Polenta Cups– Cooking and Beer

Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast– Whole and Heavenly Oven

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast– The Weary Chef

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich– The Gunny Sack

Caramel Apple Mini Pie Cups– The Creative Bite

Pumpkin Spice Latte Coffee Cake– Joyful Healthy Eats

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – Deliciously Sprinkled

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting– Chez Catey Lou

Apple Cheesecake French Toast with Cider Maple Syrup– Mariah’s Pleasing Plates

Pear Pie with Pecan Streusel– The First Year

Apple Pie Rolls– Amy’s Healthy Baking

No Bake Apple Pie Bites– The Recipe Runner

Pumpkin Pie Mousse– Petite Allergy Treats

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars– Diary of a Recipe Collector

Cranberry Apple Cider Punch– Diethood

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