Top Chef fans may remember Carrie Baird from season 15. The Colorado chef who won challenges with her ideas and execution with toppings on toasted bread. Her humble nature and kind attitude made you want to root for her and the judges seemed to absolutely love any concoction that she expertly put on toasted bread to the point where it seemed to annoy less successful “chef-testants”.
What to do with all of the local tomatoes that I have been waiting so long for? I wish they ripened a little at a time so that I didn’t feel rushed to enjoy them all! But here we are in mid August when the tomatoes seem to be ripening faster than anyone can possibly eat them all. This recipe for tomato pie helps. The whole wheat crust lends a bit of cracker type texture which keeps the crust from getting soggy from too much tomato moisture. And who doesn’t love some sharp cheddar cheese with tomatoes? I cannot resist. Make this pie as a side to go with dinner, for lunch to go with a green salad or for breakfast as it is the perfect accompaniment to softly scrambled eggs. I also like it cold right out of the refrigerator the next day, if there is any leftover, like a slice of super fancy cold pizza.
I can’t wait for summer to make this soup. But don’t fret if you read this post months from now, in the middle of winter. Although it’s best made with fresh corn and ripe on the vine tomatoes, a bag of frozen corn and a good can of petite diced tomatoes do the trick, too. Somehow I manage to forget about this recipe in the winter months when I feel the need for hardier fare. Perhaps I should remember to make this gem a bit more often instead of waiting to see corn appear on the local farm stands.
P.S. As I was transposing this recipe from my mother’s recipe card, I noticed for the first time the note at the bottom of the recipe about Corn and Shrimp Soup. Where have I been? I must try this next time!
Oh tomatoes! I cannot wait until they are heavy on the vine, bursting with juice and seeds, ready for BLT’s, tomato sandwiches on homemade white bread, slathered with mayonnaise, cut into wedges ready to scoop up chunky blue cheese dip, or just sliced with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Since the fresh, native ones haven’t arrived yet, I will satisfy my tomato craving with this soup. All that is required is a few cans of good tomatoes along with the other ingredients that jazz up the flavor. It reminds me a little of a cross between a BLT and a thick tomato soup that would go great with a melty, gooey grilled cheese sandwich for dunking.
It’s mellow because most of my customers don’t want things to be “too spicy”. It’s vegetarian but doesn’t have a ton of beans because as I have noted before, I don’t like that many beans. It works. There is enough layered spices and different kinds of not so hot peppers to add flavor. Thick and satisfying without being filling. Garnish it up with whatever you like: shredded cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, crushed tortilla chips and if you want to add the spice like I do, add a heaping helping of pickled jalapenos.
Mellow Vegetarian Chili
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3/4 cup black or green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons olive juice
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomotoes
1 4 oz. can mild green chilis
1 32 oz. can tomato puree
1 small can tomato paste
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 12 oz. can lager ( I used Coors Light)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
Blacken skins of poblano peppers under a broiler or directly on the flame of a gas stove burner. Place peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes. Remove and scrape off charred skin. Remove stem and seeds from peppers and chop. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Heat until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add poblano peppers, scallions, red pepper, carrots and celery. Continue to cook until red pepper, carrots and celery are crisp/tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, olives and olive juice (from jar). Cook for 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Bring chili to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for one hour.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, lime wedges, jalapeno slices or whatever makes you happy.