Mack's Corner

This Week

Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

It was cold riding in this morning and all I could think of was a warm bowl of soup and a big hunk of cheesy bread. This first recipe is the best tomato soup I've ever tasted. Nothing else is even close. This is from Bistro Jeanty in Yountville in Napa Valley, one of the great restaurants in Napa Valley. For years this recipe was a secret. I guess they had so many requests for it that they gave up and published it. This is the best tomato soup you'll ever eat!!

Bistro Jeanty  - Cream of Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry Makes 6 servings


2 1/2 lb. tomatoes - ripe, cored and quartered

1/2 cup butter - unsalted

1/2 lb. yellow onions - sliced

6 ea. garlic cloves

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 ea. bay leaf

1/2 tbl. whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 cup water (use only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy)

4 cups heavy cream

1-2 tbl. butter

salt - to taste

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper

1 lb. puff pastry sheets - defrosted if frozen

1 ea. egg - beaten with 1 tbl. water

Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Do not let the onions color. Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and water if needed. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are very soft. Puree in a blender (working in batches) or use a hand-held immersion blender; STRAIN. Return the soup to the pot. Add the cream, salt, white pepper and the remaining
1-2 tbl. of butter to taste. Bring soup back to boil.

Let the soup cool for 2 hours or overnight (in the refrigerator).

Divide among six 8-ounce soup cups or bowls. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch. Cut 6 rounds slightly larger than your cups or bowls. Paint the dough with the egg wash and turn the circles egg-wash side down over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the dough tight like a drum.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash without pushing the dough down. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven door in the first few minutes or the dough will fall. Serve immediately.

This is another one of those things where you could cut the puff pastry and re-freeze it. Freeze the soup in 1 or 2 serving containers. Now you're set. Any time you want some great soup. Pull out a container, heat it up in the microwave while you're pre-heating the oven.  Put heated soup in a bowl, frozen puff pastry on top, put it in the oven. 10 min later you have Bistro Jeanty tomato soup. ... Rent "Moulin Rouge"
and you'll feel like you're in Paris at Maxim's on Rue Royal ...


**********The next 2 are examples to show you how you can make anything in to a creamy soup. TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! TASTE! After you finish the soup RE-SEASON.. Pepper or hot sauce, Vinegar, Salt, Sugar or Hot Sour Salty Sweet .. If you have these 4 things in balance, you will have a great soup!! Did you get that? Hot Sour Salty Sweet .. If you have these 4 things in balance, you will have a great soup or a great sauce. ***********

Sweet Pea Soup with Majorero Cream and Roncal Crisps

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 thyme sprig
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
5 cups frozen peas (25 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely shredded Roncal or semi-aged sheep's-milk cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coarsely shredded Majorero or other mild, buttery, semi-aged goat's-milk cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and thyme and cook over moderately low heat until the shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the water and all but 1 cup of the peas and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the peas are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of peas and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Discard the thyme. Stir in the parsley.

Working in batches, puree the sweet pea soup in a blender. Strain the soup through a coarse sieve set over another medium saucepan. Season the soup with salt and keep warm.

Set a medium nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Spread four 1-tablespoon mounds of the Roncal in the skillet and flatten slightly. Cook the cheese over moderate heat until bubbling and set on the bottom, about 3 minutes; do not brown. Using a spatula, transfer the crisps to paper towels. Let cool until firm. Repeat with the remaining cheese.

In a small glass bowl, heat the heavy cream in a microwave at high power until boiling, about 30 seconds. Add the Majorero and heat until the cheese is just melted, about 20 seconds. Stir until blended.
Ladle the soup into small bowls. Swirl in the Majorero cream and serve with the Roncal crisps.


Creamy Carrot Soup With Scallions and poppy seeds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
1 quart water
2 pounds carrots, sliced 1/3 inch thick
6 large scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and water along with the carrots and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallions and poppy seeds and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the scallions are softened, about 1 minute.

Working in batches, puree the carrot soup in a blender until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan. Stir in the cream and milk and simmer over moderate heat, stirring. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish with the scallions and poppy seeds and serve.


I love Baseball

My son Macky is a special needs kid, not really a kid, he's 31, it just feels like he's still 12. Macky is like most handicapped kids, he likes to do the same things at the same places all the time. He doesn't really understand if we go someplace new, he likes the places he's used to. His favorite places are McDonalds, Starbucks, and Hope. Happy meals at McDonalds, Pumpkin Loaf at Starbucks, and everything at Hope. He knows about 1000 people at Hope, everyone from 5 year olds, to High School kids, to Grandmothers. People rub his head, buy him Cokes, give him hugs. He always comes home with lipstick on his face and smelling like the perfume counter at Macy's.. Every young boys dream. How could church be any better than that? His favorite thing to do at home is watch Baseball. We just finished watching the World Series, my team won but he has no idea what's going on, he just likes sitting next to me in our big easy chair watching baseball. He doesn't like going to the actual games, he doesn't understand that, that's not baseball. To him baseball is on TV, only. His favorite count is "2 balls and 1 strike" and "2 outs and nobody on".  My favorite way to watch baseball is asleep. I would much rather watch a movie.  One day Macky looked at P.K. (my wife) and said "Mommy, I love Baseball".. Then later he started singing this little song all the time that goes: "I love baseball, I love baseball.." ..that's all the words. For his birthday she gets him a baseball package on TV. So Now we can watch baseball from noon till midnight every day of the week, 30 channels. He's kinda figured this out, so if I'm watching anything else he looks at me like I'm some kind of criminal and wants to know why we're not watching baseball. My wife has picked up on it too and now calls mine and Macky's times together watching baseball "Bonding Opportunities". I think she got that from Dr Phil. I know a conspiracy when I see one. Anytime P.K. wants to go do something a "Bonding Opportunity" happens. a time to remember with your son.. blah, blah, blah.. If  Macky and I were any more bonded we could be on a super glue commercial. I've tried to get him to watch Baseball movies, but he doesn't really buy that. He pats me on the head and looks at me like I'm stupid and don't really understand the difference between a movie and the real thing. I'm becoming very one dimensional.

God's like that: He's always looking for Bonding Opportunities. He wants to know you, and he wants you to know him, nothing formal, just hanging out..

Now that baseball is over you would think that we could have "Bonding Opportunities" watching movies. Nope. PK has several full baseball games recorded so we can watch them over and over. The only person who knows is me. Macky loves it.


Posted by Mack Oates at 12:00 AM