Tuesday Night

For dinner tonight we had roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. I adapted the recipe for the soup from Smitten Kitchen, and had roasted the tomatoes and made the stock last week letting them hang out in the freezer until it was time to put it all together. I subbed in some beer in an attempt to recreate a soup from one of my favorite pubs back home. I think it was quite successful.

The grilled cheese was also an homage to a sandwich from another beloved and missed bar. It included gruyere, sharp cheddar, and gouda. A perfect little meal for a wildly windy night. Or, as my husband commented it was delightfully spicy and paired well with Trader Joe’s 2011 Vintage Ale.

Roasted Tomato Soup (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t  crushed red pepper flakes
3 C chicken stock
1 C porter beer (ale or lager would also work nicely)

Roast the tomatoes and garlic until tomatoes are brown and tender (400 deg for about an hour should do it) Once they have cooled slightly transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse until you have a chunky puree. (At this point you can stick your puree into a freezer safe container and freeze until ready for use)

To make the soup combine the puree with the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25-30 minutes.

This is the perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese, or you could follow the SK route and put your cheese on top.

Favorite Place

This is our first Christmas together, our first tree, and our first humble ornaments cobbled together in the weeks since Thanksgiving our of leftover fleece, felt, and fabric scraps. Most of all, this is the first Christmas for the best gift we ever got, and he loves playing under the tree.

Brew Day

This is the Breakfast Stout kit from Northern Brewer. It arrived a few weeks ago, but since we’ve been busy with Honey Christmas Porters and Cream Ales, I didn’t have a chance to get it started until yesterday.

Extract kits are like making a large, somewhat involved cup of tea. Steeping oats and coffee, adding extracts, stirring in some hops and making sure it doesn’t boil over. Finally,  getting your husband to help you pitch the yeast and move it into primary fermentation. Where it is happily bubbling away in our laundry room next to a super hopped RyePA.

Practical Gifts

When I am awake in the middle of the night with a hungry little baby I pass the time by finding recipes and craft projects that I know I won’t usually have the time to make, but when I came across this recipe for quick homemade amaretto (via Shutterbean)I was intrigued  by its brevity and simplicity. Since we were visiting friends (read: friends who like amaretto) for dinner the next night, it seemed the fates had aligned in favor of trying it.

Oh and the pie…delicious apple pecan streusel! I cheated and used store bought crust.