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Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Pimento Cheese Bites

A classic mealtime favorite, elevated and made even better with KITCHENAID®
September 28, 2016

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There’s really nothing better—or more comfort inducing—than tomato soup.  And like most things, tomato soup really does taste better with a little homemade effort.  Sure, a can of tomato soup will suffice in a pinch, but homemade is truly a difference you can taste.  And when you hear the words, “tomato soup pimento cheese” anywhere in the same sentence, you know you’re in for a treat. 

My take on the classic is a tad on the fancier side with the use of roasted tomatoes.  By roasting the tomatoes whole along with using fresh cloves of garlic, then blending, I get a thicker, creamier consistency that is just SO much more satisfying than a one note from the can version.  

Along with the roasting, the other key to my recipe was hinted above: blending.  Last time we talked blending, it was to share my love for the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Blender and that love is not lost today.  By blending, even if it’s only a portion of a soup, you’re creating a richer and tastier texture.  I find that blending is actually the key to most soups, so trust me when I say it’s worth the extra effort.  

Once blended, I really do enjoy a dollop (or two) of heavy cream if I’m serving this roasted tomato soup as a starter.  BUT when I’m serving it as an entree I like to put a little Southern spin on it by serving it alongside grilled pimento cheese bites.  

Grilled pimento cheese bites are just as heavenly as they sound…crisp pan fried sourdough encasing rich, ooey-gooey pimento cheese.  The combo really should be illegal!  But lucky for us it’s not, and even luckier for us is that grilled pimento cheese bites are super easy to make.  Simply cut the sourdough bread into smallish squares, spread with pimento cheese and fry it all in a sauté pan until crisp and golden brown.  You can most certainly use store-bought pimento cheese, but if you’re using homemade, here’s a quick tip: be sure to blitz the ingredients in a blender for a smoother, spreadable texture that is sure to melt better.  

So now that I’ve shared my spin on the ultimate comfort food, all you’ve got to do is try it! Truly, MKR

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Pimento Cheese Bites
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
For the soup
  1. 2 28oz cans of organic whole roasted tomatoes
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  4. 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  5. 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  6. 1 teaspoon fresh thyme,chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  8. 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  9. Salt & Pepper to taste
For the grilled pimento cheese bites
  1. 4-5 slices sourdough bread
  2. pimento cheese
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven or toaster over to 425 F degrees.
  2. Place the tomatoes on a baking dish and slightly crush or break with your hands, add garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt & pepper. Roast until garlic is soft and tomatoes are jammy, approximately 30 minutes.
  3. About 10 minutes before roasted tomatoes are done begin heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high, add tomato paste, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add roasted tomato mixture and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  6. Working in batches, purée tomato mixture in a blender until smooth and pour soup back into pot. Taste, then season with salt and pepper and put the lid on to keep warm while you make the pimento cheese bites.
For the pimento cheese bites
  1. Cut the sourdough bread into smallish squares.
  2. Smear butter on outside sides of bread.
  3. Spread with pimento cheese and in a saute pan coated with cooking spray saute on high to medium high until golden brown.
  4. Serve with tomato soup, and enjoy!
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha  |  This post was in collaboration with KitchenAid, a brand we love and adore.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

Homemade Caramel Corn with Pecans & Candy Corn

A perfectly addicting, seasonal sweet snack
September 26, 2016

Homemade caramel corn with pecans and candy corn, the perfect recipe for fall, @waitingonmartha

I get very nostalgic when it comes to homemade caramel corn.  Memories of my dad whipping up a big batch as soon as the leaves started to change.  Melting it all low-and-slow, and then shake-shake-shaking the mixture in a big paper bag before spilling out the warm, sweet, crunchy goodness on the table for Mom and me to devour until we literally made ourselves sick. 

Being one of my favorite fall treats, I wanted to try my hand at making homemade caramel corn myself this year.  It seemed simple enough…traditional stovetop popcorn (which in my humble opinion is the only way to make popcorn) + pecans + candy corn + homemade caramel sauce.  And it really is simple as long as you have a few tricks up your sleeve.  Tricks I’ve finally perfected after a few trial and error test batches.

First, you’ll logically want to put the candy corn directly into the popcorn, pecan and caramel sauce mixture before before baking it all together in the oven.  Don’t.  Since candy corn is essentially all sugar what ends up happening is the candy corn pieces completely melt leaving you with patches of yellow and orange dotted throughout your mixture. Instead, you’ll want to sprinkle on the candy corn pieces right when you bring the mixture out of the oven, when it’s still warm.  That way, they stick in the mixture, but don’t melt.  

Second, line your oven with aluminum foil to catch any rouge drips of caramel sauce.  If you’re heavy handed with the caramel sauce like me, then your sauce will likely bubble over during baking.  Trust me when I say, sticky caramel sauce on the bottom of your oven is a major pain to clean up.  

Lastly, when making the caramel sauce, constant stirring and timing really is everything, so make sure you read the recipe at least twice before beginning, and DO NOT walk away from the sauce.  It can all go terribly wrong in less than 30 seconds, just trust me on this!  Happy fall y’all!  Truly, MKR

P.S. When the homemade caramel corn comes out of the oven, it’s my favorite time to indulge since it’s so warm, gooey and not too hard, but try to show a little self restraint and set some aside to package up for neighbors, teachers, and coworkers!  xo

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Homemade Caramel Corn with Pecans & Candy Corn
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 to 1 1/2 cup corn kernels
  2. 2 cups pecans
  3. 1 package of candy corn
  4. Caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)
  5. enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of your pot
For the Homemade Caramel Sauce
  1. 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 cups brown sugar
  3. 1 cup light corn syrup (I always use Karo brand)
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Start by making traditional stovetop popcorn (get a huge pot, cover the bottom with the tiniest layer of vegetable oil, add in popcorn kernels. Light stove to high and cover the pot with the lid. Once the kernels begin to pop periodically Shake the pot back and forth mixing up the kernels and making sure they do not burn.)
  3. Once popped divided popcorn into several large mixing bowls, and add pecans. You can also use a large paper bag like my father, just make sure the paper is extremely thick or double bagged.
  4. For the caramel sauce; add brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.
  5. Boil 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; mix well.
  6. Drizzle caramel sauce over your mixture, covering completely and mixing or shaking to combine.
  7. Spread the mixture evenly on to parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheets.
  8. Bake low and slow, at 250 degrees for about 45 minutes. Mix periodically; I place two batches in the oven, and switch the racks halfway through.
  9. After baked, remove from the oven and sprinkle with candy corn. Let cook for an additional 5 minutes and begin to break up the mixture however you want it; at this point you could even make caramel balls when it's warm and moldable.
  10. Enjoy!
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

 

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Easy Seafood Paella & Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)

Feel transported with this succulent, seasoned one-pot entree & traditional Spanish side dish
September 20, 2016

Easy seafood paella recipe by @waitingonmarthaTraditional Spanish side dish: espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) Easy seafood paella recipe, @waitingonmartha Easy seafood paella, waitingonmartha.comEspinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas) recipe by Waiting on Martha

If you didn’t catch yesterday’s post let me catch you up.  We kicked off our Monday by hosting a vibrant Spanish themed dinner (and a MAJOR giveaway) with two of my favorites, Le Creuset and Williams-Sonoma.  And today, as promised, I’m sharing the recipes for my Easy Seafood Paella and Espinacas con Garbanzos. 

So first, a little backstory: I love seafood paella. And I’ve wanted to take a stab at making my own for awhile now, but truthfully I’ve been a bit intimidated to try and tackle it at home.  Though some recipes slightly vary, I’ve always enjoyed it as a traditional rice dish with fresh mussels, little neck clams and shrimp, simmering in a fiery bath of spices and seasonings (think cayenne, saffron, smoked paprika and more).  It’s really no surprise that people from all over consider this traditional Spanish dish an elevated comfort food, and it’s dramatic one-pot presentation makes it a true show stopper.

To my delight, making my own seafood paella was so much easier than I had imagined. What I thought would be a painstakingly long process, turned into an under-30-minute (or just about) meal!  I mean I was shocked.  You will spend that active time simmering, blending and boiling, but you’ll find that the level and depth of flavors you’ll achieve is well worth the time spent over the paella pan.

Next up (which can serve as a first course to the seafood paella or by itself as a tapa) is the traditional Spanish side dish: Espinacas con Garbanzos, which translates to “spinach with chickpeas.” Sounds simple enough, but this spinach and chickpea Moorish-style stew is a comforting, filling dish that’s typically served hot and has a smoky, hearty flavor. This, like the seafood paella, is an under-30-minute dish, so it’s a great option when you’re hoping to kick up your weeknight routine or impress (without all the fuss) at your next dinner party.  Truly, MKR 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter our week-long giveaway with your chance to score a 16-piece Le Creuset set in the color of your choice!  All the details are listed below in the widget, and I’d love to hear: what color would you choose?!  

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Easy Seafood Paella
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 Tbs. olive oil
  2. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  3. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  4. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 cups Spanish paella rice
  6. 1 cup peas
  7. 1 tsp. saffron threads
  8. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  9. 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  10. 3 cups vegetable broth
  11. 1 lb. shrimp, shelled & deveined
  12. 1 lb. little neck clams, scrubbed
  13. 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  14. salt & pepper to taste
  15. Cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
  16. Limes, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large paella pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion, pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the rice, saffron, cayenne & smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until the grains are well coated, about 2 minutes. Pour in the broth slowly and stir in 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid, press the clams, shrimp and mussels, into the rice and top with the peas. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque and the clams have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams and mussels and serve immediately with cilantro and lime garnish (optional).
Notes
  1. When preparing your seafood discard any mussels or clams that will not stay shut to the touch before cooking.
Adapted from Williams SOnoma
Adapted from Williams SOnoma
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/
Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  2. 1 large bag fresh spinach, washed
  3. 1/4 cup blanched unsalted Marcona almonds, rough chopped
  4. 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  5. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  6. 1 cup tomato sauce
  7. 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  8. 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  9. Extra virgin olive oil
  10. 2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar if sherry vinegar is hard to come by)
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  12. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  13. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  14. Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Coat a large saucepan over medium-high heat warm olive oil and add garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne and black pepper sautéing until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add almonds and lightly toast.
  2. Transfer the ingredients to a blender/food processor and add the sherry vinegar. Blend the ingredients together until you have a thick paste. Return the paste to the saucepan and add your garbanzo beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste. Stir gently until the chickpeas are fully coated by the sauce.
  3. Add the spinach and stir until spinach is wilted and everything is evenly incorporated.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Waiting on Martha http://waitingonmartha.com/

Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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