Roasted Tomato Soup

Here in the Midwest the weather has finally started to cool down and we’re entering my favorite season of the year, Autumn! I love everything about it- the colors, the cooler weather, the fallen leaves, the longer nights, and the abundance of fall-centric produce (think apples, pumpkins, pears, etc.).

The cooler weather has me wanting to cook things that warm our bellies and souls. I personally am not a fan of smooth soups (I prefer some texture in my soup; something about the smoothness reminds me of baby food), but tomato soup is the sole exception. I like my tomato soup unadulterated and free of unnecessary frills (oooh fighting words!). I prefer the flavor of tomatoes to shine. I’ve tried my hand at many recipes, but my search for the ultimate grilled cheese partner in crime has come to an end, much thanks to Sarah at Flour & Spice. Her recipe results in a soup that lets the tomatoes be the star (rightfully so).

So go ahead and start warming up friends, it’s only going to get colder 😉

 

RoastedTomatoSoupPic

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a foil lined tray, combine tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until caramelized.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large cooking vessel. Increase heat to medium high, and add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add sugar, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more of the remaining broth to thin it out. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings.

Guest Post: Sarah of Flour & Spice

This Ramadan we’re having a handful of some of the interwebs (and mine) favorite bloggers share some yummies. We’re starting this party off with Sarah of Flour & Spice, and she is sharing something that is sure to be a hit with everyone!

Some background first- Sarah and I “met” a few years ago, and since then she has become a very close friend. She is my foodie spirit animal. She’s become one of those friends that you turn to for advice or just a good catch-up session. She recently revamped her site, and taking a quick look will give you a good idea of just how she rolls 😉

Asian-Corn-Fritters-4

Hello and Salam to all your amazing readers of My Ninja Naan! I am Sarah from over at Flour & Spice and it is wonderful to be here. Henna is a dear friend so although this is the first time I am ‘guest posting’ here to me it feels like going to the kind of friends house where you take your shoes off and comfortably sprawl on the couch as if you were at your own place and not someone else’s. She just makes me feel like we have been buddies from birth. Desi peeps will know there is an expression I really wanted to use there and didn’t 😉

Sometimes I like to class it up.

Speaking of changing things up, for those of us observing the month of Ramadan we may try and resist it and we definitely try and moderate it but there is something about fried food that becomes so appealing at ‘iftaar’ time. I don’t know if it’s the memory of bygone iftars or if it comes from a standalone craving that we have at the end of our fasts, but if I don’t fry something up there seems to be more than a little disappointment in the air. These simple corn fritters are such a fan way of mixing things up – all it takes is some simple ingredients and you have something light and sweet and spicy at the same time that is a nice change from the usual pakoras (chickpea flour fritters). These come together quickly and you can refrigerate the batter until needed, just mix well before frying. I adore these with some sriracha or sambal oelek but you are welcome to dip it in your condiment of choice.

 

Corn Fritters

Yield: 12-16 depending on size

1 cup fresh corn

¼ cup chopped scallions (green onions)

2-3 finely diced chillies

½ cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 egg

Pinch of salt (or a lug of fish sauce – yum)

Pinch of pepper

Pinch of cayenne/ red chilli powder

1-2 tablespoons of cold water

Combine 1 tbsp of the water and all the remaining ingredients except corn in a bowl and mix till smooth. Stir in the corn. Add a little more water if needed so that you can easily drop the batter from a spoon. Heat oil in a frying pan and shallow fry a generous tablespoon of the batter for two minutes on each side on medium heat. Best when hot and served with a spicy condiment (IMHO).

Mango Chickpea Salad

Ramadan Kareem!

The holy month of Ramadan has graced us once again, and I pray that our fasts and prayers are accepted, and we leave the month renewed in faith and spirituality!

I had originally planned to post a recipe for every day of the month, but life got the best of me and I wasn’t able to prepare 30 days worth of recipes for the blog. I will however be posting family favorites regularly throughout the month, and I hope that you are able to take some inspiration from them 🙂

Recently I stopped by to pick up a few essential items from a local Indian grocer, and I stumbled upon freshly arrived mangoes! Now if you’re desi (person of South Asian descent), I’m sure you can imagine my excitement. If you’re not desi, let me explain: we live for mangoes. It’s in our DNA. The love for them courses through our blood.

We went through most of them as is, but I got creative with a few. Some were blitzed into milkshakes, and a few were chopped up and tossed into this delicious Mango Chickpea Salad (recipe from Green Evi). It’s amazing on its own, and would also pair well with a grilled protein as a main entrée.

 

MangoChickpeaSaladPic

 

Mango Chickpea Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (one 14-ounce can) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green chili, seeded and diced small
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Handful cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Tortillas

Several months ago, I attempted to make my own tortillas. I figured that since I’ve gotten the hang of homemade roti (Indian/Pakistani unleavened flatbread), that tortillas shouldn’t be too difficult. The verdict? Even easier!

These tortillas are so wonderful! They’re soft yet pliable (meaning you can go hard with piling up those tacos to your heart’s content), and so quick and easy to make! I don’t see myself going back to store bought tortillas, and I’m sure you won’t go back either 😉

(Recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats.)

TortillasPic

Tortillas (Flour)

Yield: 12 to 15 Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ – 1 cup water

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, butter, baking powder, and salt. Pulse until crumbly, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the water until a cohesive ball of dough is formed. Knead for 30 seconds more, until the dough is tacky. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Transfer dough to a surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide into 12 to 15 balls, cover, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet (or fry pan) over medium-high heat. Working with one ball of dough at a time, lightly dust with flour and roll into a large and thin circle, approximately 8 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the tortilla to the heated skillet and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, until small bubbles form on the surface and lightly browned. Flip and cook for an additional 10 to 20 seconds. Do not overcook, as this will result in stiff tortillas.

Use as needed, or store in an airtight bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

We went apple picking with a group of friends a few weeks ago, and we came home with a 15-pound bag of apples. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do with all of the apples (crisps, cobblers, pies, loaf cakes, bundt cakes, fritters, etc.), but alas we ate most of the apples as is, in all of their juicy, crisp, and sweet glory 🙂

While I’ve set aside a few apples for a pie (a must in Autumn!), I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls studded with diced apples. The combination of apples and cinnamon is one that I cannot resist, and it’s one of the reasons I look forward to the harvest of the fall season.

(Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.)

 

AppleCinnamonRollsPic

 

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 16 Rolls

Ingredients:

For Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ½-inch chunks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For Dough:

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ½ – 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For Glaze:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Make Filling:

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add apples and salt and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon, and stir to thoroughly combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the apples are cooked through and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove apple mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside and cool completely before using.

(Note: Filling can be made beforehand and kept in the refrigerator.)

Make Dough:

Scald milk in a saucepan over medium heat (when milk is warm and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.). Pour milk into a large bowl, and add butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Allow milk mixture to cool until lukewarm.

Add eggs and yeast, and mix until combined.

Add 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and knead on low speed for several minutes. Add additional flour, up to 1 cup, in increments, until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead for an addition 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Line two 9-inch baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch dough down and divide into two portions. Roll each portion out, on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle, about 12” x 15”. Spread apple filling evenly over each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Begin rolling at the long end, trying to keep as much of the filling inside the roll. Once rolled, the edges can be pinched together to form a seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut off and dispose of the ends of the roll. Divide each log into 8 portions, and slice.   Place the rolls in the pans, spaced no more than 1-inch apart, cut side up. Any leaked filling can be spooned over the tops of the rolls. Cover lightly, and set aside to rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Once rolls have risen, uncover and bake until golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make Glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla, until smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls.