Monthly Archives: February 2021

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all well with the snowstorms today in the northeast and my prayers to our friends in other parts of the country dealing with ice storms and severe weather.

I wanted to share with you what happened to me and I think it is a perfect example of trying to find the silver lining when things don’t go as planned.

I ordered a grocery delivery from Instacart for Costco purchases and when the order arrived I was quite surprised by one of the delivered items. I ordered 2 containers of Campari tomatoes (which are small and are the size of a golf ball, somewhere between a cherry tomato and a roma tomato).

In my order (even though I specify no substitutions), instead of Campari tomatoes, I received 12 gigantic tomatoes on the vine. Now it is impossible to return them, so I had to think of what I could do with them and then the lightbulb went off. Tomato soup……

So I washed & cored the tomatoes and roasted them for 30 minutes, added them to a pot on the stove with sun dried tomatoes, vegetable paste (like tomato paste but veggie- see photo below), sun dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, bay leaf and chicken broth. I simmered this mixture for 30 minutes and blended it with the immersion blender (stick blender) and we had the best tomato soup. I was about to add some heavy cream to make it a bisque but I added some honey instead ( a tip I read about on Pinterest. The honey will cut the acidity of the tomatoes but not make it overly sweet). It was delicious and I wanted to share the recipe with all of you.

This is the vegetable paste I buy…

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we did. I made a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with the soup and a garnish of pumpkin seeds & basil and it hit the spot on a nice cold snow day.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 12 vine ripened tomatoes (approx. 2-1/2 to 3 lbs.)
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, diced
  • 3-4 (or more) cloves of garlic (peeled & minced)
  • 4 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tbsp “Le Verdurine” paste- vegetable tomato paste- purchased in Italian deli’s or online – if you can’t find it substitute regular tomato paste.
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or (1/2 tsp. dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup of packed fresh basil leaves (wash and dry)
  • 2 tsp of honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  
  • ¼ tsp of Red pepper flakes or a Calabrian chili pepper if you want heat (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. butter (optional)
  • Pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

  • Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, and season with salt, and a couple cracks of fresh ground pepper
  • Arrange cut side up on a sheet pan and roast for 20-30 minutes until caramelized.    
  • Preheat a large pot on the stove and add 2 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onions, salt and pepper until the onions are translucent and soft (approx. 6 minutes).
  • Add the garlic, vegetable or tomato paste, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili pepper (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes- stirring often
  • Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, bay leaf, basil leaves and butter (if using).
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes with the lid on the pot.
  • After simmering, remove the bay leaf and add 2 tsp of honey and check for seasoning (may need more salt and pepper to taste).
  • Using an immersion blender (stick blender), puree the soup until smooth
  • Garnish with chopped basil and I use a tbsp. of roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • If you do not have a stick blender and need to use the regular blender, be CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF and only fill the blender halfway at a time to blend. Pour the blended soup into a different pot and repeat with all the chunky soup and return to low heat. 

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Salmon with Garlic Honey Mustard Glaze

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well and are handling this deep freeze we are experiencing in most of the country. Stay warm and stay well.

I should rename this post- Dinner in a Panic….. Bob never panics about dinner and is very low key and would eat ice cream if I said that is what I planned for the meal (he never complains) but I am the one that panics because I like to have everything organized.

I am sure most of you have been in my shoes at least once without a plan for dinner and the clock ticking away.

Yesterday, Bob had the day off from work since it was President’s Day and we were busy working around the house and time flew by and I forgot to marinate the salmon we bought at the fishmonger.

Of course, I didn’t realize this until it got closer to dinner and I had planned on marinating the salmon in lots of garlic, soy sauce and maple syrup and at that point my original plan was out of the question.

First of all, I have to share with you that I am not a big fan of salmon at all. I do make it for Bob when he requests it because he loves it so much but I would rather have pasta or a chicken cutlet, anything but salmon. I usually make something else for myself on the “salmon nights” but I was just too tired last night and decided to bite the bullet and eat the salmon as well.

Since I didn’t have a plan, I had to come up with something quickly. I opened the cabinets and refrigerator and started to add a little of this and a little of that to make a glaze (Grandma would have been proud). It was as if I was on an episode of the Food Network show- Chopped.

I was praying as I prepared ingredients that the cooking Gods were with me to prepare something delicious and I am happy to report, we had success.

I am surprised to admit it, but I really enjoyed the salmon (chalk this up to something close to a Christmas Miracle).

I just have to share with you what I did, just in case you need a little inspiration one night…

I know a few weeks back I told you about a new product I found that you all loved and I received so many comments that you bought the Miss Vicky’s garlic honey; so that was my first ingredient.

But I have another foodie find to tell you about that was my second ingredient. This product helped me make the salmon glaze. A simple purchase from Trader Joes, their Sweet & Spicy Mustard Sauce. It was fabulous!

The ingredients in the mustard sauce are whole mustard seeds, red bell peppers, white distilled vinegar, green jalapenos and a touch of maple syrup, turmeric, sea salt and cloves. It was only $ 2.29 for the seven-ounce jar and I just bought it on a whim and I am so glad I did.

And before anyone asks…No, I do not get paid by Trader Joe’s to promote this product (I don’t work for them) and I do not have any sponsors on my blog, I just love sharing these foodie finds with you.

Here is a picture in case you want to look for it.

My two favorite jars in the kitchen…..

So, let me put this recipe in writing in case you want to try it…….

I served the salmon with a spinach salad and rice.

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Salmon with Garlic Honey Mustard Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6-7 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Green onions/scallions – 2 stalks sliced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. TJ sweet and spicy mustard sauce
  • 1 tbsp. garlic honey
  • Garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or cooking spray
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  • Prepare a 9 X 13 baking dish with either 1 tbsp. of olive oil or cooking spray
  • Pat dry the salmon fillets and salt, pepper, and garlic powder both sides generously
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic honey, minced garlic and mustard
  • Divide the glaze evenly over the salmon fillets and let any extra drip into the pan
  • Dot each salmon fillet with a pat of butter (approx. ½ tbsp.) and a few black sesame seeds if using.
  • Bake in a preheated oven until salmon is cooked through about 15 minutes
  • After the 15 minutes, you can broil the salmon for 2 minutes to make it a little crispy (optional)
  • Top with sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges

ENJOY!

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, 

I Love hearing from you.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2021

Hi Everyone,

Happy Valentine’s Day !

I hope you are all well and I wish you many blessings not only for Valentine’s Day but for a lifetime of LOVE, health and happiness!

This year is a little different for celebrating for all of us with the pandemic. Many restaurants in our area have opened up for indoor dining but I am not quite feeling confident with going out to eat, so Bob and I chose to celebrate at home.

We celebrated yesterday so I could prepare this post for you and we had a theme of “heart shaped” food for every meal. We started with heart shaped waffles, heart shaped pizza, heart shaped ravioli and ended with a heart shaped cake for dessert (raspberry mouse and chocolate).

I hope you have a wonderful day and tell the ones you LOVE how much they mean to you; if they are with you in person, a phone call away, a zoom celebration or a text. The smallest gesture can mean the most to someone. (It happened to me today and I will share with you at the end of the post).

So the following is our Valentine’s Day in pictures. I hope it gives you some inspiration.

Breakfast – chocolate chip heart shaped mini waffles with scrambled eggs with chives & berries….

Lunch– heart shaped deep dish pizza….

Dinner– heart shaped ravioli (served with a side salad -not shown)

Dessert – And last but not least, heart shaped raspberry mousse and chocolate cake.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!!!

Stay well,

Diane

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And here is the story that made my day today…… a friend I made on a food group many years ago wished me Happy Valentine’s Day today in such a special way that touched my heart so deeply that I had to share. His name is Joe Pinto and he sent this to me on Facebook this morning that made me cry because of his genuine lovely sentiment (so the smallest gesture can brighten a person’s day).

Here is what he wrote:

“Happy Valentine’s Day to all my family and friends but there is one person I like to single out. Two years ago I made her a special cake in her honor. We were friends in a different group and she went in for a Heart ❤ Transplant. Today, two years later she is here cooking and baking up a storm. Happy Valentine’s Day and God Bless You Diane Kantor

May be an image of dessert and indoor

I will be forever grateful to Joe for his thoughtfulness and kindness. Love you too Joe….. Diane 2.0 (my nickname for having a 2nd heart).

Have a great day everyone…..

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, 

I Love hearing from you.

Happy Chinese New Year- The Year of the Ox.

Hi Everyone,

As always, sending you good wishes for you every day but today is the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox.

I was reading a few fun tips from China Highlights.com and wanted to share them with you below. It is a very interesting read and it will give you a little insight to the Chinese customs for this holiday and help you if you feel like celebrating this holiday….

The main Chinese New Year activities include 1) putting up decorations, 2) eating reunion dinner with family on New Year’s Eve, 3) firecrackers and fireworks,  and 4) giving red envelopes and other gifts. 

Chinese New Year Show

Public celebrations: In many Chinese cities, from New Year’s Day, traditional performances can be seen: dragon dances, lion dances, and imperial performances like an emperor’s wedding. A great variety of traditional Chinese products are on offer, and rarely seen Chinese snacks. City parks and temple fairs are the places to go for this.

Chinese New Year 2021

Chinese New Year 2021

By FercilityUpdate Feb.08.2021

2021 Chinese New Year Animal is the Ox

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival,is China’s most important festival. It is time for families to be together and a week of an official public holiday.

Chinese New Year Quick Facts

Chinese New Year Facts

Chinese New Year falls on Friday, February 12 in 2021.

Chinese New Year 2021 is a Year of the Ox

Chinese Zodiac Years

1. Chinese New Year Decorations — Lucky Red Items

Every street, building, and house where Spring Festival is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as red is believed to be an auspicious color.

Red Chinese lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.

2. Chinese New Year’s Eve — Family Time

Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is a time for families to be together. Chinese New Year’s Eve is the most important time. Wherever they are, people are expected to be home to celebrate the festival with their families.

The Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner is called ‘reunion dinner‘, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year.

Chinese New Year's Eve Date

3. Firecrackers and Fireworks at Chinese New Year

It has long been a Chinese tradition to set off firecrackers from the first minute of their new year. Fireworks have increasingly been added to the cacophony. From public displays in major cities to millions of private celebrations in China’s rural areas, setting off firecrackers and fireworks is an indispensable festivity.

Chinese New Year Activities

4. Chinese New Year Gifts and Red Envelopes

Like at Christmas in other countries, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. In rural areas and for older people the New Year gift giving tradition is still strong, but increasingly younger people prefer just to receive red envelopes (by hand or electronically).Chinese New Year GiftsAt New Year red envelopes are customary in China.

The most common New Year gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes have money in, and are believed to bring good luck because they are red. They are given to children and retirees. Customarily only employers give red envelopes to working adults.

Chinese New Year 2021 celebration

What Chinese Eat for New Year’s Eve — Foods with Lucky Meanings

Chinese lunar New Year 2021 Date

Food for the New Year emphasizes lucky symbolic meanings such as fish, which sounds like the Chinese word for ‘surplus’. These foods are eaten during the 16-day festive season, and particularly for the New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner.

The luckiest Chinese New Year foods (and their symbolic meanings) are:

  • Fish (an increase in prosperity)
  • Chinese dumplings (great wealth)
  • Glutinous rice cake (a higher income or position)

The Luckiest Things to Do at Chinese New Year

  • Giving money/gifts in lucky numbers and lucky red packaging with lucky greetings.
  • Eating lucky food like fish on New Year’s Eve, especially carp or catfish with some left over for New Year’s Day.
  • Lighting lots of red firecrackers and fireworks to scare away evil and bring good luck.

The Unlucky Things to Do at Chinese New Year

  • Having an accident, especially if it means hospital visits, crying, and breakages: all bad omens.
  • Giving gifts with unlucky meanings, colors, words, or numbers, or even saying something inauspicious.
  • Sweeping up on New Year’s Day: don’t “sweep all your luck away”.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!!!

Stay well,

Diane

Two-Year Heart Transplant Anniversary!

Hi Everyone,

I just want to take the time out to thank so many of my members for all the congratulations and well wishes I received for reaching this milestone of

2-Years Post Heart Transplant.

It has been a bumpy ride but I want to thank all of you for your support & love. Your kindness and caring mean the world to me. I appreciate your patience when I was in recovery and couldn’t post regularly and your encouraging words to keep me motivated. You have all become family to me and I cherish each and every one of you. Thank you.

I had a small celebration this year and couldn’t go out to dinner with friends like last year but Bob came through as he always does and he made me dinner, decorated and bought me a scrumptious cake – a 3 tier shortbread cake with cream around the edges and filled with fresh strawberries. He remembered how much I liked the cake last year (photo below) that was also a shortbread cake but filled with bananas, strawberries and raspberries and all topped with macarons.

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I wanted to share with you some pics from this year……. my beautiful cake, balloons and cards from family. It was such an emotional day for me and I am so grateful for this second chance at life and the opportunity to have these past 730 + days to make new memories and appreciate each moment of being alive and being able to do things that I couldn’t do before transplant like go for a long walk or climb a flight of stairs.

So, take it from me- when things get tough, look for the silver lining. There is always something to be grateful for each and every day. Stay well, stay safe and know how much I care and cherish each one of you for being a part of my life.

Looking forward to year # 3 and what life brings….

January 31, 2021

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!!!

Stay well,

Diane