Well, bread and soup. For dinner the other night, Heather and I made some tasty vittles, a roasted garlic soup (which was actually more of a tomato and onion bisque than a garlic soup) and some Blitz Bread. And I have to say, it’s the tastiest meal that we’ve thrown together in a long time.
A pointer about the bread (which you could also get by reading the comments on the post to which I’ve linked): if you use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast (because that’s what you buy), you’ll need to soak 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast in all of the called-for water (which should be at “blood temperature”) for about 5 minutes before mixing everything together. This is called “blooming” the yeast, and it’s necessary because of the high temperatures at which active dry yeast is, um, dried. When the yeast dries at those temperatures, lots of them die, and the ones that survive are encased in a shell of dead yeast. Blooming allows the dead yeast to separate away from the live ones, making the rise much more effective. Instant yeast is dried at a relatively lower temperature, resulting in fewer dead yeast cells, meaning you can add it directly to the dry ingredients without blooming. Ah, the things you learn by watching Good Eats.
In lieu of the optional ingredients listed in the bread recipe, I opted to simply sprinkle some “Italian Seasoning” and black pepper over the dough before baking. You get a 9×13 loaf of bread that’s very similar to foccacia; Heather and I ate at least 2/3 of that bread the evening that we baked it. And it really was done in less than 2 hours.
Now, the soup:
two 14.5-oz cans of stewed tomatoes, undrained
one 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, undrained
1 medium-sized squash, sliced into rounds, half-moons, or chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper/capsicum, diced
1/2 cup white wine (we used a Chardonnay)
6 large garlic cloves, diced
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 C Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1 C Romano cheese, grated
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer all of the vegetables in a “baking pan” (we used an enameled cast-iron dutch oven; as long as it has a lid, you should be good). Pour the wine over the vegetables, and add the herbs and spices. Dot the top with small pats of butter. Cover and bake for 1 hour, then remove the pan and set the oven to 325 degrees F. Uncover, stir well, then add in the cream and cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.
No pictures, unfortunately, but it’s hands-down one of the best soups I’ve had the opportunity to eat in a long time. I’m not exactly sure where the recipe came from, but my thanks to whoever came up with it.