Tuesday, April 17, 2007

a rainy day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Today I had every intention of stopping by Whole Foods after school, purchasing some fresh lump crabmeat, and creating a delicious dinner of crab cakes with wilted spinach and tomatoes, a la Rachael Ray in her lastest cookbook, 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds. I was deterred, however, by the constant stream of rain that persisted in falling all day...it just didn't seem like an evening for crab cakes. Instead, I opted to make Charred Tomato Soup with Pesto and Prosciutto Stromboli, a recipe that I'd often passed by from my most often used Rachael Ray cookbook, 365: No Repeats. Granted, when most people crave soup on a rainy day, it's because the damp cold has seeped into their bones and they feel that they need the comforting warmth of soup to soothe them. Here in Austin, however, there are no chills to be had. Instead, I was faced with a Amazonian jungle-like wave of humidity as I quickly made my way from my car to the grocery store. Not pleasant. I almost reconsidered my earlier craving for soup, which really came when I was forced to stare out the window at school, as a respite from the utter drudgery of administering a state standardized exam. The steam bath that I encountered upon going outside was not recognizable from that window! Needless to say, all it took was a glance at the lovely bank of plum Roma tomatoes waiting in the store to convince me that my craving was really for tomato soup, not the proverbial comfort of soup.

This particular recipe involved slicing the tomatoes in half lengthwise and throwing them on a baking sheet along with chunks of red onion, topping them with a drizzle of olive oil and generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and salt, and roasting in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. There is something amazingly wonderful about roasting vegetables. It truly is as if they take on completely different, more pronounced flavor, one that is much more rich and defined. An experience only slightly less enjoyable than biting into a delicious roasted vegetable (all roasted vegetables, by the way, are delicious) is basking in the warm glow that seems to permeate a kitchen when vegetables are roasting. It reminds one of of mom, growing up, holidays, getting warm after being out in the cold, and coming home, all at once... Quite satisfying, too, when one aspires to have a welcoming home for a husband to come home to.

The roasted vegetables were pureed in the food processor to make a base for the soup, which turned out very well. The pesto and prosciutto strombolis were even better-I only used the tiniest slices of prosciutto and provolone to top the pesto filling, and the results were great! A salty, spicy treat that was so good dipped in the hot, creamy soup. Turned out to be exactly what I wanted!

Perhaps I will try crab cakes tomorrow...

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