Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup

Before I opened the box I knew – probably tipped off from the mere weight of it- it was the dutch oven I’d been waiting for. I basically cooed like a mezimirized child at the shiny yellow pot with matching lid as if it was the coolest, most amazing new toy ever.

 

And really, it is. Then the inevitable happened, which is me asking myself repeatedly why I waited to get one as a gift when I could have gone out and bought one. Oh right, they are a couple hundred dollars but dare I say they are worth every last penny?  I do say it. They are worth it if you can spare the extra cash. And nowadays you can pick up a cheaper model at Macy’s and they will  most likely do the job. There is one reason I’m so happy to have gotten my dutch oven as a gift – everytime I use it, I’ll be thinking of those nice people who gave it to me (us…I’m going to be honest, it’s mine). Granted I still have to meet them, but the gifters are awesome in my book.

Dutch ovens have been around for hundreds of years, so my exclamation can not be considered new or unique. But if I can convince one more person to run out and buy a cast iron casserole pan (or demand it from someone asap), I’ll be a happy cook. Now about the soup. This easy, basically two-step soup takes minimal time to make and tastes so delicious- creamy, perky, and fresh. I say perky because the peppers give a little oomph you wouldn’t necessarily find in a tomato soup. I think its the perfect addition to a spring menu, topped with a dollop of creme fraiche and some chives.

Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 roasted yellow or red peppers (or a combo), sliced
  • 1 quart plus 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large potato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • creme fraiche or sour cream for serving
  • fresh chives for serving
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese for serving

How To:

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Add chopped onion and garlic. Let saute over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until onions are transleucent. Add peppers, broth, potato and oregano. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until potato is soft.

Puree in a food processor or blender in batches. Place back into stockpot and heat through. Season to taste. Serve with creme fraiche or sour cream and chives, or shredded cheese (such as Monterrey).

Bran Muffins

On some mornings, you really need an excuse to get out of bed. While bran muffins may not sound so interesting and delicious, the smell of this recipe baking in the oven is enough to bring the deepest sleeper to consciousness. At the very least they can sleep walk their way into the kitchen and if they are really talented (or on ambien), sleep-eat.

I added raisins and chopped dried dates to my batch because I like a punch of sweetness first thing in the AM. Bran muffins can also be so-so unless there are some added ingredients of interest. You can get away with using one box of bran cereal, although the recipe calls for two different types. If you aren’t a normal bran eating person, why buy two boxes of bran cereal?

Finally, don’t eat more than several of these in one day. They contain a lot of bran…

Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 cups white sugar minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups kellogg’s all bran
  • 2 cups kellogg’s bran buds
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk

How To:

Pour water over Bran Buds and let set. Mix oil, sugar and eggs. Add milk. Stir until well combined. Add Kellogg’s All Bran. Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Combine with creamed mixture. Fold in soaked bran.

Bake in greased muffin tins for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees. You can also keep the batter for up to 6 weeks tightly covered in refrigerator. Leave space at top of container as batter may grow.