A couple of tasty recipes from City Weekly staffers:
Scott Renshaw: My wife is a soup fiend, and I’m always looking for great recipes. After sampling the delicious roasted tomato soup at Paradise Cafe & Bakery, I looked for something I could re-create at home. I combined a couple of different recipes for something that’s great for vegetarians. It’s a bit time-consuming, but worth it. Prepare two jelly-roll pans with parchment paper or foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut in half and seed two pounds of on-the-vine tomatoes. Quarter three sweet onions and one large red bell pepper. On one pan, place the tomatoes skin side down and sprinkle generously with salt. On the other, place the quartered onions and pepper (skin side down), along with five or six plump, unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle the contents of the second pan with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place both pans in the oven. Tomatoes may be ready—collapsed-in, skin wrinkled—in 12-20 minutes, depending on their size. Remove the garlic from the second pan after 10-12 minutes, turn the onion quarters, and continue roasting the onions and pepper another 8-10 minutes until the onion is caramelized and the bottoms of the pepper quarters are blackened.
Allow all the vegetables to cool for 10-15 minutes, then peel garlic cloves and remove the skins from the tomatoes and pepper. Place all the veggies in a stock pot with two cups of vegetable stock and blend with a hand blender (or purée in batches in a food processor or blender) until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of paprika. Heat through, adding up to a cup of additional stock until it is at the consistency you’d like. Add additional salt to taste, top with shaved Parmesan (if desired) and enjoy with crusty bread.
Stephen Dark: Since I seem to be on a tapas jag at the moment, I tried a Spanish recipe for meatballs recently, which was spectacular. The meatballs themselves are pretty traditional: minced pork meat, garlic, finely chopped onion, a pinch of nutmeg, seasoning—and then bind with an egg. But it’s the sauce that gives this particular version its joy: Toast in olive oil a handful of almonds, add two slices of bread, broken up, a teaspoon of garlic, and toss everything around. Throw in two-thirds of a cup of white wine and process the lot with 1 3/4 cups of vegetable stock. The resulting sauce is simply divine: smooth and rich, with the wine-tang giving it that extra bite that makes the dish memorable.