Monday, October 26, 2009

Mr. Solo Part 2 - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

The main man, Mr. Solo, is back for round two. Exciting news, I have two more guest bloggers lined up maybe more. And here he is....

Mr. Solo -
The idea for the second dish has actually been kicking around in my head for about a month for no better reason than hunger and the fact that my roommate and I seem to share a love of pan-fried bread. It's a grilled cheese sandwich with cream of tomato soup. Take some Challah bread, some dried oregano or other herb, and heat up some oil in a non-stick frypan. Throw the bread on there until it's soaked up most of the oil and is starting to brown. In the meantime baste some swiss cheese in truffle oil (you've essentially ended any effort to make this dish taste less than awesome once the truffle oil makes a showing). Flip your bread, throw the cheese on to melt for a few more seconds. For style points, add caramelized onions and chopped chives to the finished sandwich.

The tomato soup is actually pretty involved, but well worth the effort. You need to roast roma tomatoes with olive oil/herb of your choice (thyme works well) at 400°F for an hour. You also need to throw some standard tomatoes through a food processor, and then throw the pulp on a strainer with some salt in the fridge overnight. All the liquid drips out (incidentally, you've just made tomato water which has about a hundred amazing uses) but what remains is your very own homemade tomato paste. Fire up some onions on the stove with some butter, let them rock until they're translucent, throw in some rough chopped normal tomatoes, then the roasted tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and water to cover, and let that simmer down. When you're finding that the water is coming out of the tomatoes and things are trending more liquid than creamy, throw in your homemade tomato paste. It soaks up all the excess liquid like a friggin' sponge. When everything's softened down, throw your concoction through a fine-mesh strainer. Add a junkload of butter, a touch of heavy cream, salt to taste, back in the pot and crank the heat until the whole thing comes to a boil, then immediately turn off your heat. D for done.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mr. Solo - Tomato Tatare and Green Beans

The next guest is the one and only Mr. Solo. If you don't know who I am talking about, trust me.... you know!!!! Good thing setdinnerhereveg has a executive board of only ONE, because if we put this to a vote, I might lose my head chef/blogger status... replaced by Mr. Solo.

He contributed two courses of a fantastic meal that he cooked for fellow friends and forwarded the pictures and description. Here is part one.

I guess [Mr. gorgeous] wasn't kidding about having a guest month on his blog! SO without further ado...a little bit of background on this I'm a pretty voracious meat eater, but with an increasing cadre of vegetarian friends. In the interests of being able to have people over for dinner every once in a while without thrusting steaks on unwilling palettes I've been forced to explore their strange and unfamiliar world. Fennelwhatnow?

Being a meat eater at heart, the first dish is actually a riff off of raw steak tartare, the idea being that you could use tomatoes instead and approximate the same color and texture as uncooked beef. I've been referencing the French Laundry cookbook, a recent Bible of mine, so I definitely can't take credit for the concept. There's two main techniques you need for this dish, quick blanching and slow roasting. Basically you take some vine-on tomatoes, dunk them in boiling water for about a minute, and then immediately shock them in ice cold water. What this lets you do is remove the skins really easily. Then you quarter the skinned tomatoes, remove and discard the pulp, add some olive oil, salt, and thyme, and slow roast the remaining tomato pieces in the oven at 250°F for about 2 hours. What you get is super concentrated tomato with a somewhat more solid texture, that you can rough chop, add chopped shallots and toss in a ring mold. Tartare: done. The salad on top is green beans in a mixture of heavy cream and red wine vinegar (with a pinch of salt), and then the sauce is the oil drippings from the roasted tomatoes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plums by Ms. Pumpkin

Greetings readers! Ms. Pumpkin here, blogging from the great state of Missouri. Recently I had the joy of spending a weekend in our nation's capital with Mr. and Mrs. gorgeous. We had a fabulous weekend of cooking, eating, drinking and other drinking related activities. Such fun!

A Sunday trip to the Dupont farmers' market left us with an abundance of over-ripe plums that had to be used immediately. We decided to finish that night's dinner with a couple of plum-based desserts: kuchen and sorbet.

Kuchen, German for “cake” can come in many forms. As the state dessert of South Dakota (, it's made with a yeasty crust and a custard filling that is enjoyed while wearing olde-tyme German garb. In contrast, our plum kuchen was based on a dense cake flavored with ample amounts of lemon zest and white sugar. We topped it with halved, pitted plums covered in more sugar and some cinnamon. After nearly quarter of an hour baking in the hot oven, the tiny kitchen was filled with the aroma of lemons, plums and cinnamon. The golden cake had plumped up around the fruit, which had softened under the melting sugar and cinnamon. Once it was cooled, the cake easily slipped out of the Gorgeous's nifty spring form pan. Thank God for wedding registries.

We planned to serve a plum sorbet along side our kuchen. The ingredients were simple: plums, water and sugar. The recipe had me blanch and peel the plums before blending them. After scalding my delicate fingers a few times, I gave up on these two steps and just tossed the pitted plums into the Magic Bullet. You can leave the peel on without affecting the taste, but don't leave in the pits. I don't think the Magic Bullet would be very happy. Alone, the sorbet was nothing spectacular, but it paired nicely with the heavy kuchen.

All in all, the dessert was a sweet finish to a wonderful weekend. Happy cooking!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


October is guest month. Get ready for delicious vegetarian recipes prepared by friends and readers of Mr. gorgeous. The first guest is the one and only Ms. Pumpkin.