Posts Tagged ‘basil’

Tomato Soup

January 2, 2014 Leave a comment
Tomato soup

Tomato soup

Is there any job in America that gets it wrong more often than Weather Forecasters? I know its not an exact science, but it IS a science and you would think that in 2014 there would be a better way to get it right.

In my opinion, the only way to know what the weather is up to, is to step outside and see for yourself.

That said, I still find myself checking the various weather forecasts, especially when I have upcoming plans outdoors (or vacation).

I check way more often in the winter than the summer. I find this odd because I have less outdoor plans in the winter so in theory I should care less.  However, I do it mainly to see IF we’re going to get inclement weather that may factor in to my daily commute.

So recently I checked out one of the online weather sites and was upset to discover that in the next few days they’re predicting frigid temperatures.

A high of 1 degree to be exact.  One. Uno.  Factor in the wind chills and who knows how cold it will get.  I won’t like that at all.  I suppose many won’t.

Then I remembered there are people in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and plenty of other states that have it much worse than me for many more days each and every year.

Then there’s the Russians?  The Canadians?

After dreading whats forthcoming for a few moments, I realized that no matter how bad I think I have it, there is always someone worse off.

Still doesn’t mean I won’t lay around in comfy sweats and a hoodie enjoying a nice cup of tea….or coffee….or a delicious bowl of soup.


This recipe is simple and has just a few ingredients (most of which may already be in your pantry).

From start to finish it takes around 15 minutes give or take.

This soup is much healthier that those cans of condensed soup. Not to mention, this version probably costs about the same, yet feeds a family of 4 (with leftovers for lunch the next day).

Who doesn’t like healthy, economical, simple and delicious.




  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes (I used Organic which was $1.50 at Aldi)
  • 1 (43 oz) container of low sodium tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • 2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes
  • Fresh Ground Pepper (eyeball it)
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half
  • 1 tablespoon of basil, chopped


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir to combine.
  4. Add tomato juice, stir.
  5. Add sugar, stir.
  6. Add bouillon cubes, stir.
  7. Add pepper, stir.
  8. Bring everything to a boil then remove from heat.
  9. Stir in the half & half and basil.
  10. Serve immediately. (preferably with a grilled cheese sandwich)

Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops

June 7, 2012 1 comment
Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Chops with Sauteed Mushrooms

Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Chops with Sauteed Mushrooms

Recently I came across a recipe for grilled pork chops that I couldn’t wait to try.  The picture of them looked fantastic and with the simple, fresh ingredients, it sounded like a winning combination.

I made a special trip to the store and dashed to the butcher counter.  There I would have the butcher hand pick a few of the best looking, thick, bone-in chops I’d ever buy.  I thought he would be annoyed when he would pick one, and I would kindly tell him “sorry, but could I have the one next to it.”   Some people don’t do this and settle for pre-packaged shrink wrapped meat, but I say if I’m paying for it, I should get what I want.  You should too.

Once home, I assembled the ingredients (minus the pork) and gave them a quick death via the food processor to make a nice green paste. With my silicon pastry brush in hand I was happier than Bob Ross (rest in peace) as I painted my pork chops with the phenomenal smelling mix.

After an hour or so in the fridge, all that was left to do was fire up the grill. I stepped outside, lit the grill and impatiently waited for it to pre-heat.  I needed some serious heat to acheive the kind of sear I wanted on these beauties.

With the heat from the grill at nearly 500 degrees, I gently placed the chops atop the grates.  The sound of the meat sizzling as it hit the heat was music to my ears.

Then, out of nowhere the wind picked up and the sky turned to black.  The heavens were about to unleash grilling hell upon me.

Nothing ruins a date with the grill quite like rain

Nothing ruins a date with the grill quite like rain

With the chops sizzling away, there was no turning back.  I simply had no choice other than to finish what I started.

But it wasn’t about me.  I could care less how wet I got.  It was about those glorious hand picked chops.  Would I be able to achieve the success I was looking for while darting in and out of the rain (for the record, an umbrella would not have helped here)?  I needed to cook for a few minutes, rotate, flip, cook, rotate.  Each time I would need to lift the lid, exposing the meat to buckets upon buckets of H2O.  Could I pull it off?  Would these be the pork chops I had hoped they would be when I first saw the recipe or would they land on my plate as mediocre hunks of the other white meat?

With the chops fully cooked (plus 5 minutes of rest and relaxation) it was time to transfer them to the plate for the tasting.  Without hesitation I sliced the first bite and stabbed my creation with the steel tines.  Fork to meat..fork to mouth.  VICTORY!

OK, so after writing this I realized that I really, REALLY, over-dramatized the situation.  Yes it rained and yes it sucked and that was my point.  I just hate to grill in the rain.  But for these chops, which I think were the best chops I’ve ever tasted, I’d do it all over again.



Good, fresh ingredients

  • 3 or 4 thick cut bone-in pork chips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (or course salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

While the food processor is running, add the garlic to mince.  Stop and add the basil and pulse to chop.  Stop. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and process to make a thin wet paste.

Painting my dinner with this

Painting my dinner with this

Spread mixture on both side of pork and let stand at least 15 minutes (up to 2 hours in the fridge – which is what I did).

Preheat grill to high.

When grill is hot, place the chops on the grates and grill 4 minutes.  Rotate the chops one-quarter and grill 2 additional minutes.

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Just getting started

Flip then grill for 3 minutes.  Rotate one-quarter and grill an additional 2 minutes.

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes (if you can).