Why is it so cute when dogs snore? It’s not cute when humans snore.
If you’re a dedicated reader of the blog, you’ll know we’ve been experiencing a massive drought in Vancouver this summer. Sure, at first it was awesome: Sunshine! Heat! Sandals all the time!
But, after a few months, the reality of the situation set in. Record breaking fires across the province, extreme watering restrictions… it wasn’t great. I can’t even imagine how rough it must be in California right now- we’ve only had to deal with this in BC for a few months.
And the, last weekend… the rains came. That saying, ‘when it rains, it pours?’ I know it’s metaphorical, and not meant to describe actual rain- but this week it does. News outlets in Vancouver are reporting that we will get an entire summer’s worth of rain in the next week alone. Also wind, we got a lot of wind last weekend.
I will admit, it’s kind of fantastic swimming through the streets today. Sure, months of drizzle isn’t great, but I still actively choose to live in a place nicknamed ‘Raincouver.’ I mean, I have to sort of like these rainy days.
The bad news:
- If I recall my Geography 10 correctly… due to months of drought, the soil in on the coast has temporarily lost it’s capacity to absorb water. This means we’re looking at potential flooding and landslides as water pools and runs off surfaces that it would usually soak into. Yikes.
- Driving is sketchy! You’d think Vancouverites would be used to driving in the rain but, for some reason, every time it stops raining we all immediately forget how to navigate in stormy weather- leading us all to relearn this skill each and every fall/winter. Come on, guys… Add on the fact that the roadways haven’t seen rain for a while either, which means conditions will be extra slick. Be careful, everyone!
- Bring your umbrella everywhere. Put away your sandals. No backyard lounging or patio sunning this week.
The good news:
- Drought relief! Let’s replenish that reservoir!
- Fire relief! Let’s soak the whole province if we can! Clear the smoke, drench the trees!
- Tea, Netflix, pajamas, puppy snuggles, SOUP.
Last week I posted this recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes. If you haven’t made a batch yet- do that now.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait here.
(No seriously, make some. You won’t regret it.)
Slow roasting brings out the natural sugars found in tomatoes- the roasted fruits are softer and juicier than those that have been fully sun-dried, but still reduce down enough to become intensely flavourful, making them an excellent addition to pastas, sandwiches, soups, wraps, dips… pretty much anything you can think of.
Every couple days a new batch of tomatoes ripens on my vines outside, and every couple days I make a new batch of slow-roasted tomatoes. Not only are they a great way to preserve summer bounty (they freeze amazingly well), but they’re a perfect use for those knobbly end-of-season tomatoes that might not be quite as photo shoot pretty as their July counterparts.
Once again, I bristle a little when food bloggers get too enthusiastic about every recipe under the moon but like- whoadamn.
I think this is my favourite soup of all time. Of. All. Time. I promise, if I ever find a soup I like more, I will tell you.
After discovering the life-altering wonder of slow-roasted tomatoes, I went on a slow-roasted binge. PUT THEM IN EVERYTHING.
Lazy dinner? Toss some pasta with garlic, slow-roasted tomatoes and basil.
Friends coming over? Slow-roasted tomato hummus.
Protein-filled breakast? Black bean breakfast burrito with feta, slow-roasted tomatoes and a slash of hot sauce.
Slow-roasted tomato grilled cheese. Slow-roasted tomato lasagna. Slow-roasted tomato gazpacho.
I promise, I will post all these recipes in good time, but this one had to take priority. I can’t even take credit for this bowl of umami-facepunch of happiness (a term coined by Colin, but I feel it is fitting), as it’s adapted from my favourite vegetarian cookbook, Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterburg & Wanda Urbanowicz.
Slow-roasted tomatoes, slow caramelized onions, a drizzle of port, a sprinkle of thyme, a dash of balsamic… the end result is a soup so rich and so flavourful, it’s hard to believe it’s completely vegetarian (and vegan, if you skip the cheese on the toasts). The flavours in this soup hit similar spots on your palette as slowly simmered beef would, but without a hint of animal product.
I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I do like to limit my meat intake where possible. It’s a little easier on the budget, on the body, and on the planet. I know it’s not what my raw-food, vegan friends want to hear, but I hope that every little bit counts.
This recipe is part French-onion soup, part tomato soup, so of course it pairs amazingly with melted cheese. After all, what is a bowl of classic French onion soup without a floating island of melted Gruyere, or a bowl of warm tomato soup without a grilled cheese sandwich to dip into it?
It’s two of my favourite comfort foods rolled into one.
My favourite cheese to pair this soup with is a very aged cheddar. Get the oldest cheddar you can find, bonus points if it has some crystallization. Crumble it on to a few slices of baguette and broil it on high until it melts into the bread… beautiful. I don’t toast the bread before doing this, since I like to keep the bread married to the melted cheese, but soft enough that I can break it up with my spoon in the bowl and create ‘the perfect bite.’ Little bit of bread, soaked with soup, melted cheese strings coming down off the spoon, piled with luscious onion bits.
And who said soup wasn’t sexy?
|Slow Roasted Tomato & Caramelized Onion Soup|| |
- Slow-Roasted Tomatoes:
- 10 tomatoes, halved horizontally
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme, leaves picked
- Salt and pepper
- 6 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup Port (or full-bodied red wine)
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 baguette, sliced
- Extra aged cheddar
- Fresh basil, garnish
- *Slow-Roasted Tomatoes (if you don't feel like clicking the recipe link below, I'll include the simple instructions here): Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay tomatoes on the baking sheet, skin side down. Lightly brush the tops of the tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Bake for 3.5-4 hours, until dried but still juicy.
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add sliced onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 hour, until the onions are soft and lightly golden. Add garlic, thyme, pepper and sugar and continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to break down. Deglaze the pan with port and reduce until syrupy.
- Coarsely chop the roasted-tomatoes and add to the soup pot along with the balsamic vinegar and vegetable stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning after simmering and adjust with more salt, pepper or vinegar if needed.
- Slice baguette and crumble aged cheddar over top. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese has melted in to the bread. Serve cheese bread with soup and top with a sprinkle of fresh basil.
Adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterburg & Wanda Urbanowicz