A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: October 2016

Chicken with Leeks, Artichokes and Capers

Chicken with Leeks, Artichokes and Capers

This is one of those look in the cupboard and see what I have recipes. It has a few key things in common with chicken piccata, but isn’t really chicken piccata. But it does have a bunch of stuff I really like. Leeks and artichokes […]

Braised Chicken in a Lemon and Shallot Sauce

Braised Chicken in a Lemon and Shallot Sauce

I wanted to make a braised chicken dish with shallots from a recipe I remembered saving, but I couldn’t find the recipe so I winged it. First I heated up butter and olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. After seasoning […]

Tomato Basil Soup with Halloumi Cheese Croutons

Tomato Basil Soup with Halloumi Cheese Croutons

I decided to make some tomato soup, and I decided to make halloumi cheese croutons to go in it. These were both good decisions.  I looked at a few recipes, and I had some ideas of what I wanted to do, and this is what I came up with.

I started with slowly cooking a small chopped onion in melted butter and olive oil over medium low heat until the onion was soft, but not browned. I added minced garlic and stirred just until I could smell the garlic.
I added a pint of my home canned tomato sauce.
I then added my own chicken stock. And, because I wanted some basil flavor, but didn’t want it to be overwhelming, I then threw in a couple of sprigs of basil. I had used this ‘poaching’ method before with sauces and thought it would work well here.
After bringing the soup to a boil I reduced it to a simmer, and ended up simmering it for around 30 minutes. I was looking for both consistency and flavor out of the simmer time.
When I took the soup off the heat to cool, I started making the cheese croutons. A friend uses this cheese a lot and had talked about making the croutons. And ever since I have had the urge to make them and put them in soup. All I did was brown each side of the cube in olive oil over medium heat. This does take some care and watching.
At the same time, I made a chiffonade of basil to sprinkle on the soup.
Draining the croutons.
And, the final product. Simply delicious.
Tomato Basil Soup with Halloumi Cheese Croutons
 
Soup
1 Tablespoon (or so) butter
1 Tablespoon (or so) olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used a pint jar of my own canned sauce, which was basically the consistency of crushed tomatoes)
1-2 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh basil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Toppings
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Cubed halloumi cheese (as many as you like)
Several leaves fresh basil
Melt butter together with olive oil in soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, and slowly cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Don’t let it brown, and lower the heat if it does. It will take about ten minutes. Add the minced garlic, and stir just until you can smell the garlic, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and stir together, and then add the sprigs of garlic. Season with salt and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let simmer until it reaches the consistency and flavor you like. For me, this took about 30 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and take out the basil. While the soup cools, heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cheese cubes, and watch carefully, turning every 45 seconds or so, until all sides are is browned. This took me about ten minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Chiffonade those basil leaves.
Blend the soup in the pot with an immersion blender if you like.
Pour the soup in a bowl and top with the croutons and basil.
This is so easy, with so few ingredients, and it was so darned good!   The bites with the cheese croutons were especially scrumptious.
I think this could easily be made with vegetable stock to make it vegetarian.