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!


Strawberry-infused Vodka!

The other day, A and her boyfriend hosted a BBQ for his birthday. I [it’s me, J!] had already discovered this amazing (and easy!) recipe a few days earlier and thought it would be a great idea for the party. Thanks to Tracy of Shutterbean for the heads up! :)

Did I mention it’s easy? Cut up strawberries, throw them in some jars…

Then add some vodka all the way to the top…

Seal them up tight, put in the fridge for 3 days, turning the jars a few times a day so the stuff doesn’t settle (that’s definitely a technical term). Then (no picture of this, sorry), strain the strawberries and the liquid through a strainer and then a very fine strainer (or I used a piece of cheese cloth), and voila! Strawberry-infused vodka! It smells like Jello-O when you’re done! You’re going to want to taste test this right away, so please, go for it. Either on ice, or I brought a bottle of tonic water to the party so people could mix it up a bit. Awesome, right?


[A] + [J]
photos by [J] 

*I must make one amendment, my very smart friend Laura pointed out that the strawberries that you strain out could be frozen and saved for future drinks to use as ice cubes! Maybe so they don’t stick together, you could put one in each slot of an ice cube tray before filling up with water. As they melt, the vodka would seep into your drink! GENIUS! [J]

**Disclaimer: don’t let the kids get into this ice cube stash!