When life gives you tomatoes…make bisque!

One of the great things about Austria is the abundance of good fresh produce, at least its been my experience.  It seems that you can be very close to food here because there are tons of pastures everywhere I drive (about 3o minutes drive in any direction out of the city), all chockful of corn, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, paprika (German word for peppers which can be sweet or hot depending on type), grain…you name it, its out there!  You can locate cows grazing on the mountain-side by the sound of their bells and you can smell the sheep and pig farms as you approach and leave. Almost everyone I’ve met has a garden, a chicken coop or at least a few plants, and when you visit the butcher or fish section at the food-store, the date of arrival and the provider (butcher/fisherman) the item came from are clearly posted.

My FIL (father-in-law) presented us with an entire crate of tomatoes with a few sweet peppers and cucumbers; all freshly-picked from the farm.  Now, I have to backtrack here a bit, my kitchen is tiny and my refrigerator is the size of a dorm fridge (literally!); so this left me with quite a quandary as to what to do with over 5 dozen medium-sized tomatoes.  As luck would have it, I was scanning through some of my favorite online recipe sites the week before and had saved to my recipe box a tomato bisque recipe.  Hence, when life gives you tomatoes, make bisque!

Now while I am the self-professed queen of collecting and reviewing recipes, I’ve never followed one to the letter.  I like to add my own little twist for my personal health and gastronomical delight.  Further, I’ve found, after reviewing several sites’ offerings of a specific recipe, that there are basic rules, so that’s what I tend to employ with my own slant; isn’t that what cooking is all about- enjoying the process?

Roasted tomatoes and garlic. While it takes about an hour, roasting tomatoes and garlic concentrates the flavor intensely. Like my mom says, "Good food takes time."

My base - sweet peppers (from my garden!), onions, and a freshly grated ginger. Most of the recipes I reviewed didn't ask for ginger, but I like it and its great for digestion as well.

A watched pot never boils! I disagree, a pot that isn't watched boils over, lol! After slowly sauteing the aromatics over low heat, add your choice of seasonings (mine where the classics - dried oregano, basil, and thyme - along black pepper, hot pepper flakes, cumin and coriander), water, and the roasted elements and bring to a rolling boil.

Make it smooth; puree with an immersion blender (or a regular blender) - be very careful this stuff is super hot!

Make it smoother. The key (from what I understand) to a good bisque is intense flavor of main ingredients and a silky smooth texture. So here we strain out the fiber (makes me sad to waste it, but it is a bisque). Again, be very careful, this is very hot and may stick and burn!

Add a little silk by adding the cream (or in my case, I used 3% milk) to add the silky smooth texture for the palate. I would think you could omit this step if you have milk allergies.

The good thing about a bisque is that you can jazz it up for whomever is eating it. In this case, I added a couple of sauteed shrimp and some fresh basil from my garden; but feel free to experiment with your likes (i.e. garlic croutons, pepper flakes, sour cream, shredded cheese, chicken strips, etc). It'll keep in the refrigerator for about a week.


About A Bahamian In Austria

I am a Bahamian woman, married to an Austrian man, who's been freshly transplanted to Vienna. I started writing this blog when a dear friend insisted that I had to write down my experiences. At best it'll update my buddies on my crazy-going-ons and at least, it'll keep me from stalking them online (LOL). I hope you enjoy :D
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1 Response to When life gives you tomatoes…make bisque!

  1. Pingback: “They like me, they really like me!” | A Bahamian In Austria

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