Recipe Review – Blooming Onion Sourdough Loaf and Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

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Original Image from Just Drops in the Bucket

Blooming Onion Sourdough Loaf

 

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I for one was always a fan of the blooming onion.  I knew it was bad for me.  All that fried batter and greasy golden onion-ey goodness can’t be healthy.  But hey – it has a vegetable in it!  Even if an onion is harder to justify as vegetation than say… fried zucchini.  But as I got older and smarter, my indulgences in blooming onions dwindled to… yeah, I can’t even remember the last time I had one.  It’s been at least a couple of years and I only do so when there are lots of people around to share.

At any rate, when I saw this lovely pin, I had to grab it right away.  Maybe it captured the taste of a blooming onion in a somewhat healthier capacity!  How could I resist?

The ingredients were simple.  The directions were simple.  I added it to the menu on a night I was making soup, because what’s more natural than bread and soup? I used trans-fat-free margarine instead of butter, but otherwise followed along with the original ingredients.

While this went together easily, I discovered a small problem once dinner was on the table.  I hadn’t baked this quite long enough.  I followed the directions exactly, and I have a very new oven that heats very evenly, so I knew it wasn’t me, but this needed at least five more minutes, maybe as much as seven or eight to get fully baked through.  The center was still cool and the cheese un-melted.

I also recommend having someone with large hands cut your loaf of bread for you.  I have short, stubby little fingers, and I had no trouble cutting the bread in the first direction, but had real issues going the second way.  I finally settled for cutting one side, then spinning around the bread and cutting the other side.  It was the only way I could hold together the bread enough to get nice, even cuts.

 
Dinner Table Deliciousness!

My husband heartily approved of this pull-apart bread.  It was excellent with soup, and there was lots left over the next day (to have with leftover soup, of course). It would be fabulous at a party, where everyone can grab a chunk or two, or at a smallish dinner party, where everyone can have fun grabbing from the center of the table.  It is definitely going to be a make-again in our house.

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Original Image from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

 

5 Stars (5 / 5)

I fully intended to cook this in my crock pot.  I really, really did.  But I happened to head out on the road with my husband on the day this was on our dinner menu, and didn’t get home til fairly close to dinner time, which meant it wound up in my soup pot on the stove top instead.  I had to cut the recipe in half to fit in this particular soup pot; this is an enormous recipe.  The half recipe wound up making four huge main-dish servings for us, which was great as far as having leftovers was concerned (and it heated up like a champ – many homemade soups don’t).

As you can see by comparing my dinner table pic with the shot from the right, this is a pretty, pretty soup, and it came out looking exactly like the image.  I find this sort of unique among some foods.  Often my stuff looks terribly different from the recipe shot, despite following instructions exactly.  I blame food stylists who spray things with shiny substances and don’t actually eat the food they’re shooting.

At any rate, this was also quite an easy dish, compared to many home made soups that I have in my recipe repertoire. The prep time was short, and it smelled absolutely amazing while cooking.  I was kind of glad it wasn’t in the crock pot because I’d have been going nuts all day smelling how yummy this was.

This made for a fairly healthy main dish item.  My husband sometimes gets cranky on vegetarian night (though he puts up with it in fear, I suspect, that I will suggest a husband-cooks-night as a substitution if he’d rather…) but this night there wasn’t a single peep of complaint.  In fact, between the bread and soup, there wasn’t much sound other than slurping and nomming and general happy-man noises.  This soup has a rich, full flavour and is creamy without being overly thick. I did substitute skim milk for part of the half-and-half and vegetable broth for the chicken broth.  I also used diced tomatoes with peppers instead of plain diced tomatoes, which gave it an excellent little kick.  There’s no question that this is a make-again, the husband has insisted upon it!  Maybe next time I’ll try it in the crock.

This is wonderful for cold nights, and would shine as the soup course at a dinner party, particularly served before or after a slightly acidic salad.  It would pair nicely with a spinach salad with citrus or strawberries, or try it as your main dish with some yummy warm fresh-from-the-oven baked goodness alongside.

Double thumbs-up on this two-fer!  Give them both a try!

What did you think?