Roasted-Tomato Basil Soup

Whenever I sat down to eat dinner this whole week, I found myself reading over my roommate’s old Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and dreaming of cooking when it’s finally a little cooler here and my apartment is not so hot. I decided to brave through that heat though yesterday and I made her Roasted-Tomato Basil soup, which just sounded so freakin’ appetizing. Right?! It was a process, and ended up taking several hours, but it’s sooo worth it! Yummy-ness.

I guess I was too hungry to take some shots of the final dish, but I think you get the idea. Here’s the recipe for anyone interested, with my notes in bold:

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup 
Source: Barefoot Contessa
Serves 6 to 8


  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions) (I only needed one yellow onion to get 2 cups.. hmm)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I might skip this next time, not a big fan of the spicy-ness in this soup)
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (About 5 bunches from the farmers market)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I forgot the thyme! So I ended up using Italian Seasoning, which has Thyme in it)
  • 1 quart chicken stock or water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

I don’t have a food mill, so I used a food processor, which I think worked fine. I left it chunky because I like it that way, but I think a food mill would have gotten rid of the tomato seeds and any extra chunk.

Now I just need to lure some friends over to make me grilled cheese and we’re all set!



Hello Readers!  I apologize for the lack of activity on our blog. Life has been a roller coaster for [J] and me as of late.  As things start to settle, here is some great music to satisfy your aural palette.  A few weeks ago, my friend, Marcus, introduced me to SBTRKT, a London DJ/musician/producer.  SBTRKT’s, eponymous debut album bestows 11 two-step, R&B, and house tracks and features collaborators, such as Sampha, Little Dragon, Roses Gabor, and Jessie Ware.  However, my favorite part of the album is the smooth, haunting sound of Sampha’s voice in the song, “Hold On“:

As a bonus, I’m throwing in the video for “Wildfire” ft. Little Dragon, which is a great addition to your “Beat for the Sheets” mixtape;-)

Add SBTRKT to your playlist!

peace & love,


cheers to The Strokes!

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since The Strokes debuted their first album, Is This It.  Thanks to Stereogum, who has released tribute albums for the likes of Radiohead, R.E.M., and Bjork, we can all enjoy STROKED: A Tribute To Is This It, which features eclectic covers by Peter Bjorn & John, The Morning Benders, Heems, etc.

I think we can all remember where we were when we first heard and fell in love with the original album.  It was a constant soundtrack to late nights of model-building during my sophomore year at CCA.  Happy 10-year anniversary to The Strokes!

Download it now for free;-)


spare parts supper #1

Sometimes there are those days when you’re feenin’ for a really good meal, but you don’t think you have the right ingredients in your kitchen.  Well, we’ve decided to combine our fridge forces to create a masterpiece dinner!  Introducing, our Spare Parts Supper Series!

From J’s corner, came peas, carrots, radishes, half an onion, and french bread.  A’s spare parts included penne pasta, garlic parmesan potatoes, shaved parmesan, pesto, artichoke antipasto, and the all-important and necessary bottle of wine (Malbec).

For appetizers, you might remember in J’s last post, she mentioned the book, A Homemade Life, which had a recipe for “Radishes and Butter with Fleur De Sel.” Slices of some thick bread or baguette (we used the french bread), topped with a slice of butter and thinly sliced radishes. Doesn’t necessarily sound appetizing, but it was so insanely good! The pat of butter just really rounds the whole flavor out and the snap of the radish slices… just.. yum. And we didn’t even sprinkle them with salt, they were good without it.

A utilized her trusty toaster oven to make a few crostini with the artichoke antipasto.

While the penne was boiling, we sautéed all the veggies with some salt, pepper and oregano and added the potatoes into the mix.  After the penne was drained, we mixed some pesto into it for some extra pizazz.  Then, we topped the pesto penne with our crazy veggie/potato concoction and sprinkled on some shaved parmesan for the final touch!

Paired with the Malbec, it ended up being a random, but awesome dinner.  So, readers, don’t despair.  Two friends with an empty fridge can yield a bountiful meal.  Bon appétit!

[A] and [J]
photos by [J]

Oh my

My oh my… where does the time go? I have been meaning to post but have been so busy these last few days. So here’s a recommendation that I’m kind of obsessed with (is this becoming a theme?)

I like to cook, but that doesn’t mean I do it very often. Sometimes it’s expensive, sometimes there’s just not enough time (like the last few days), but when there is time and when there is (some) money, I’ll do it up right and try to find a yummy recipe to eat with a friend or two. Which leads me to the last book I read (back when I had some time to read).. It’s called “A Homemade Life” and it’s written by Molly Wizenberg. Very well written and there’s a story behind every recipe (did I mention a recipe in each and every chapter too!) I was captivated, but maybe it’s because I’m one of those people who can read recipes like novels. Even if i’m not in the kitchen. I like to read over every ingredient, think about whether I have it in my own cabinets, or where I can get it, imagine each step in my mind and then I imagine a kitchen table full of friends eating up every last bit of it. Dinner parties in my mind. There, I said it. I’m going to have to find some time for it, make it a reality, with real food and real friends and REAL eating. Ok, goal for next week: make a meal for me and at LEAST one other person. (A, I might be looking at you)

Back to the book! Molly Wizenberg runs a food blog! It’s called Orangette, and I actually hadn’t even heard of it until I picked up her book a few weeks ago at Skylight (indie bookstore plug), but I’m very glad I did and now it’s full of dog-eared pages. Recipes that I will share with you, I’m sure, in future posts! Go forth! Read!

(Look at all those dog-eared pages! Yummy-ness!)

photos and post by [J]

just speak plain

Happy Thursday!  This week’s jam comes from one of my favorite bands of this year, the Cold War Kids.  I had the pleasure of seeing them at an impromptu performance in a friend’s backyard a few months ago.  This song, Skip the Charades, has been haunting me since I copped the album.  It’s a great soundtrack for a late-night drive.  Enjoy!



Just came back from an epic weekend in the Santa Ynez Valley.  My boo and I stayed at the Hamlet Inn in the quaint, little Danish town, Solvang.  The inn has been recently remodeled into a hip, mid-century modern motel…totally my steez.

On Saturday, we borrowed super cute, red touring bikes from the inn and cruised around town for a day.

In the evening, we visited the Jonata Ranch with a friend and his folks to tour the vineyard on ATV’s (pretty badass, right?), taste the wine, which was amazing, enjoy a tasty lasagna dinner around a legit firepit, and watch the stars with more wine.

Before we bid farewell to dear, sweet Solvang, we feasted on ridiculously awesome Danish pancakes at Paula’s Pancake House.

I have to say, I miss it already.  I <3 Solvang.

photos and post by [A]