Appetizer, Entrée, Summer, Soup, Gluten Free



I find it funny that when you fall in love with someone, and even more so when you marry/live with them, you kind of morph into an unintentional, uni-person at times. The things you eat blend, the lingo or nicknames you have for things become everyday vernacular, you want what they want (for their sake), and circumstances that make them sad, cut you straight to the bone.

I'm the morning person who now consistently finds herself staying up late, and I swear to you we show up places in coordinating outfits that we don't notice until someone teases us. I sound like I've lost all sense of myself, but for serious, I really think it's crazy how much you're influenced when you don't even know it.

I've tried to make a point this year of spending time with people that are positive and encouraging to be around and trying to be the kind of person that someone wouldn't mind being influenced by. That's harder than you'd think, would you believe my language has gotten worse despite said intentions?

I started thinking about this, because both Hugh and I don't care for raw tomatoes. We both love salsa, marinara and roasted tomato soup, but please don't put tomatoes in my salad. But it wasn't always this way, I grew up on raw tomatoes, lots of them, the first half of my life, a 'salad' was routinely tomatoes and cucumbers with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (Mom! I'm so grateful and I love you). We grow up and somehow the way we think or what we eat and the company we keep changes, and I find it pretty phenomenal that we refine ourselves little by little, most of the time without even realizing it. It happens right under our noses. So here I am, some version of myself but mostly a composition of people who have loved and influenced me in one way or another.


So this soup, while easy in preparation and simple in ingredients, is only as good as the tomatoes you use (pay attention, did you catch the life metaphor there?). If you have a local farmer's market, roadside farm stand or grow your own, this is the time to use them. Regardless of them being roasted, the integrity of the tomato stands out. I thought it would be good with some homemade pesto croutons, or some smoked paprika if you want a bit of heat, but it's just as comforting with a slice of crusty bread.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP // Serve 2 as an entree, 4 as a side

Because it's summer and I prefer things lighter, I honestly did not add any cream. This is your choice. It will take an edge off of the acidity, but I thought a little cheese crostini balanced it out just fine.

1 1/4 lb. Ripe Tomatoes (about 4 Large Tomatoes)

1/2 Medium Yellow Onion

3 Garlic Cloves

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley

1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth

1 Tbsp. Organic Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half, optional

Fresh Oregano + Basil for garnish

Fresh Grainy Bread

Mozzarella Cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350'. Cut the tomatoes and the half of an onion into wedges. Use your finger to push out some of the seedy parts of the tomatoes, but this is not a huge deal, just get out the big seedy parts, a bit intact is fine. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt, a generous amount of pepper, the chopped parsley and gently toss it with your hands. Tuck the garlic cloves somewhere in a tomato, so they don't burn. Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to about half their size. Remove and cool slightly.

2. Warm the broth and stir in the tomato paste to dissolve. Add the all of the ingredients from the roasting pan into the broth and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the bowl, or with a food processor or blender. The soup should be smooth, with some texture. If you don't like any texture at all, you could run it through a fine mesh sieve. Return it back to the pot, and add the cream to taste, if using. Taste for salt and pepper.

3. Serve with some toasted bread, or broil a few slices with a piece of mozzarella on top. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and oregano.

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Entrée, Snack, Summer



I work in the hospitality industry. There are no holidays, and ‘weekends’ typically come in the form of a Tuesday and Thursday. This does make for productive days off, but there is something about the traditional weekend day that makes me feel like I don’t need to set an alarm. I love taquito-ing myself in my soft white comforter, listening to people futz around in the back alley and having tea in a mug that doesn’t have to fit in my car cup holder. I love you, Saturday.

Laguna Beach has their farmers market on Saturday, so that was my first stop this past (real) weekend. You know, once I got out of my fluffy taquito. I can travel to others during the week if need be, but I find it much more charming to walk to my market, canvas bag in hand- it fits the Saturday picture I paint in my head. I joined the people hovering around the testers enjoying the sweet smell of stone fruits on little toothpicks. Hugh lingered in the background twittering about how 'the hippies were looking at him funny.’ Typical.


There is so much produce in season right now; I grabbed a few favorites to fill my mini fridge, along with some incredibly fragrant baby tomatoes that I thought would be great in a big bowl of lentils. As they delicately roast in the oven, the sweet flavor becomes more pronounced.

SUMMER TOMATO LENTILS // Serves 2 as entrée, 4 as a side

1 Cup Lentils

1 Lemon, zest and juice

1/3 Cup Goat Cheese

2 Large Shallots, peeled and sliced thin

3 Cups Baby Tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Chives, Finely Chopped

1/3 Cup Basil, Chopped

1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. Garlic Salt


Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Oven to 325'

Note: I cook my lentils in unsalted water, as salt is said to toughen the beans- they will taste most fresh if the seasoning is added at the end.

1. Cut tomatoes in half. On the baking pan, toss with 1/2 tbsp. of the olive oil and garlic salt. Turn the tomatoes so they are cut side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

2. Rinse and drain the lentils, pick out any scrappy pieces. In a medium pot bring 1½ cups water to a boil, add the lentils, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Test the beans for doneness; the liquid should be absorbed, add more if they are not soft to your taste. Put them in a large bowl and crumble in the goat cheese so it melts in the warmth. Add the lemon zest and juice, and gently fold to coat.

3. While lentils are cooling, make the crispy shallots. In a small saucepan, heat up 1/2 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add the sliced shallots and cook about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown on both sides.

4. Gently fold the dijon mustard, remaining olive oil and fresh black pepper into the goat cheesey lentils. Add the basil and chives, roasted tomatoes and crispy shallots. Add salt to your preference.


~ Serve in a pita or butter lettuce wraps!

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