We usually do a traditional beef chili, but I saw this in my google reader and decided to give it a try. One word - amazing!
It is made in the crockpot - my favorite preparation method. This only took 5 minutes to throw together before work. You could even mix it up the night before and just turn the crockpot on before heading out the door. The chili was delicious! It was even great reheated for lunch the next day.
While tomato soup recipes often call for tomatoes in myriad forms (fresh, roasted, canned, pasted, sun-dried, pureed or chopped, just to name a few), this soup intentionally highlights the gorgeous, perfectly-ripe tomatoes that currently grace our local markets. The last of the late summer crop are arguably the best tomatoes of the year (perhaps second only to the long awaited first bite in June). The heat truly brings out the sweetness of this often under-appreciated fruit. And in this recipe, the tomato is the star, giving the soup and flavor a brightness that off-season or canned tomatoes just can’t beat.
I also knew that I wanted to make a galette and I wanted to have pears in it. I seem to recall my mum making a blackberry pear jam when we were kids and I thought it would be a really good flavour combination. And I’d never made a galette but they always look so beautiful. I also knew I wanted to use goat cheese and I got the idea for sweetening it with honey from this Food Network recipe. As a total aside, did you know that Melissa is actually Greek for honey bee and Meli (my nickname) is Greek for honey? Appropriate, yes?
The family loves this dish. It comes out juicy with amazing flavor. With the gravy over top, you can't beat it. This dish requires you to start it 24 hours in advance. I start this dish for the next day after I finish cleaning up dinner from that night.
When I am looking for side dishes for special meals this time of the year, brussels sprouts always come to mind as they are one of my favourite winter green vegetables. There are so many great ways to serve brussels sprouts and I have to say that a creamy gratin is top on my list, especially when you have the oven on already for something like the roast beef that I made on the weekend. As far as gratins go, this brussels sprouts gratin is pretty simple. You start out by blanching the brussels sprouts to make sure that when they come out of the oven they are nice and tender and fully cooked. Salty and smoky bacon pairs particularly well with brussels sprouts and I always enjoy adding them to a brussels sprouts gratin! Next up is the creamy sauce which I like to start out with sauteing some diced onions and garlic before moving on to making the bechamel sauce with the butter, flour and milk. For this gratin a tried something a little different and I added some grainy mustard to the mix to add a bit of a kick and a nice contrasting texture along with a bit of colour. Now you could throw the gratin into the oven like this but a crunchy crust is always nice and super easy to make with some panko bread crumbs mixed up with some finely grated cheese.