Monday, January 6, 2014

#1,483 Baker + Downton's Back.

After a short nap this afternoon, I went to the laundry room to fold clothes. And I found Baker, looking for me:

He's a funny dog because he's unusually calm. Like a very old dog, though he's only about 3 years old, the vet thinks. He's never hyper, but he's always looking for a snuggle. He tries to hug like people. All the time. He won't jump on anyone, or lick anyone, just gentle hugs. Much as I love Chevy, he won't ever snuggle. He's always working.

First Baker went with the hip hug. He sits upright and wraps one leg around your leg. The way a timid 3 year old might hold on to his parents.

So I sat with him at the doorstep.

And he reached out and put his paw on my knee.

Then he went to the top step.
Yeah, Baker's my dog. Chevy is Ben's. 

Anyway. Downton Abbey is back! Which called for roasted tomato bisque with garlic cheese toast beside the fire. Did you watch? I thought it was a little dull, but maybe I'm just getting back in the swing of it. Can't wait for next Sunday night!

For anyone interested in the recipe, here you go!

Tabella Roasted Tomato Bisque by Robert St. John

10 lbs. of Roma tomatoes (OR use 4 large 28 oz. cans of fire roasted crushed tomatoes)
vegetable oil, as needed
3 cups diced onions
1/4 cup bacon fat
1/4 cup fresh minced garlic (get out your garlic press—jarred garlic won't ever do!)
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 quart chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar

The recipe says to toss the Roma tomatoes in vegetable oil, then roast in the oven at 400* for 45 minutes, turning 3 times, then let them cool just enough to handle and peel them. Discard the skins. This took FOREVER and I think using fire roasted crushed tomatoes would be just as good. Not sure, but that's my hunch. Anyway, set the tomatoes aside.

In a HUGE pot, put your bacon fat on medium-high heat and cook your onions until tender, stirring frequently. Next, add garlic, spices, salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for 5-6 minutes, until paste is caramelized. Don't let it burn!

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and bay leaf and let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, stir in the cream and vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes more. Puree until smooth with a stick blender (I made a ginormous mess by just pouring it in batches into my regular blender because I don't own a stick blender. Wouldn't recommend that.) 

Seems to make about 2 gallons, maybe? 

This is what I order every single time we go to his restaurant. It's especially good with focaccia bread, which I have no idea how to make.


  1. The pic of him with his paw on your shoulder is a classic! We had to take the lambs out of molly's field last month for a few days-- when we got back to the farm a few days later, she had climbed out of her fence to go sit with other lambs in another field! I forget how passionate they are to have a job to do.
    I fell in love with downton season 1 when I was on leave -- would you recommend that I jump right in or will i regret not waiting to watch the seasons in sequence? At the current pace at my local library, it may be a few years before my hold number comes up!! :-)

    1. Aren't they the best dogs ever? I know we won't ever have another breed. Sweetest things.

      You've gotta see every episode in order. I wouldn't jump in right now—it would be dreadfully boring!

  2. You should know better by now, you cannot post a food pic without the recipe - we need to have it for the soup! Downton was dull but the British are good at building momentum so it will increasingly get more exciting and our appetites will be wet for more. Baker is a gentle, old soul - love him. I cannot imagine the hair you have to contend with from the dogs but I admire you for doing it. They are so sweet.

  3. I was so busy trying to catch up yesterday on Series 3 that I missed the premiere of Series 4. After sobbing through Sybil's death and then being angry when Matthew is killed, I may be ready for a boring episode. Elizabeth McGovern just blew me away in the events leading up to Sybil's death, the death scene, and the aftermath...She is an incredible actor. :)

    1. Woah—that all seems so long ago! I love her too. She reminds me for the world of Whitney Pickering. Know what I mean?

    2. Oh wow...I've never thought of that comparison, but you are definitely correct!! Ed says "Everybody has a twin," and whenever we're out with Sonya Davis or the SGA groups, they have fun pointing out people we know in the strangers they see. I get tickled at them!!

    3. Ben and I love that game, too!

  4. I love the pictures! I so love my dog. (and he is MY dog!) :) He is a lover as well.

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