Last Sunday morning we went to Suma and Tom’s to meet their new addition, Rani, a perfect baby girl! She slept the whole time on Tom’s lap while we visited. Welcome Rani to this beautiful world and congrats to the parents! I can’t wait till she grows up a bit more so I can hold her. I don’t like to hold them until they’re a bit ‘firmer.’ It was nice to see Ajay too. He’s got more personality now and looks so happy! That visit reminded me of my teenage years in Brazil babysitting some of my nieces and nephews. Hello there, Dennis, Carolina, Juliana and Carlos Augusto! It was fun… sometimes. Our friend, Carey, also came to meet Rani. She made a yummy frittata with among other things, avocado! Mm-mm-mm! Hopefully she’ll share the recipe sometime so we can publish it here.
After leaving Suma and Tom’s we went grocery shopping. First we tried the Asian markets on Clement Street but after circling the hood for a long time we gave up because parking was impossible. We ended up at the UN plaza farmer’s market for fresh veggies. It was a little late in the day. The veggies were a bit picked over and some of the green leafy ones were wilted. Still we were able to get a massive and beautiful cabbage that seems like a mix of regular cabbage and Savoy. The dry farmed tomatoes, as usual, looked incredible! Super ripe, still holding their shape and so sweet! I tasted a couple before committing to buying them. They were very affordable too, just a dollar per pound. I brought home 5lbs. I roasted them all. Some of them we’re going to eat in salads or whatnot and the rest I transformed into this luscious Indian inspired soup.
It’s that time of the year when the Earth tilts and the sun shines more in the southern hemisphere. Up here leaves and temperatures fall and I feel like entering hibernation, or even better, migrating South just like birds do…ahh! Since I can’t do either right now, soup seemed my only remaining option.
What could be better than savoring a smoky, mildly spicy tomato pepper soup with creamy and velvety feijão navio?* It’s perfect to celebrate the end of another luminous Summer…
Vegetarian Roasted Tomato, Red Bell-pepper and Feijão Navio Soup
2 heads garlic
3 red bell peppers
1 cinnamon stick – approx 1inch
3 green cardamom pods
4 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into a few slices
1 dozen ripe medium sized tomatoes, halved with woody tops removed
½ tsp sugar
Fresh black pepper and Kosher salt
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup cilantro leaves with a few sprigs for garnish reserved
Leaves from 3 sprigs of mint
1tbsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1 ¾ cup freshly cooked (or rinsed canned) navy bean
If using dried beans, soak one pound in cold water for about 3 hours. Drain water and transfer beans to a pot. Fill pot with water till about 2 inches above surface of beans and cook for about 30-40minutes or till beans are soft. Additional beans can be used for other purposes.
Toss tomato halves with sprinkles of salt, the sugar, freshly ground black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Lay them cut side up on a baking tray and roast on low temperature ~215F for about 90 minutes.
Meanwhile brush peppers and unpeeled garlic heads with olive oil and roast them on your grill at high temperature for about 15-20 minutes until charred, turning a few times for even cooking. Remove from grill, let cool, then peel skins from garlic and peppers. Also remove stems and seeds and ribs from peppers. Set aside.
Make a bouquet garni with cloves, cardamom, ginger, bay leaf, peppercorns and cinnamon stick.
Transfer roasted tomatoes and peppers to a pot. Add enough water to barely cover them. Add bouquet garni, mint, cilantro leaves and ¾ of the roasted garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for about 25 minutes on high simmer. Turn temperature to low for the last 8-10 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and puree soup with a stick blender.
Toast cumin seeds in a pan for about a minute and set aside.
Add a few cups of tomato puree to another bowl with the navy beans. Using stick blender again, blend till smooth. Add bean mixture to remaining tomato pepper soup. Add remaining whole garlic cloves and toasted cumin seeds. Adjust salt. Serve with cilantro leaves and one half roasted tomato as garnish. We ate our soup with small chipotle pepper flavored tortillas and a bit of goat cheese.
* I like to tease Steven by calling navy beans “feijão navio.” It’s a literal translation into Portuguese—a cute mistake for a beginner, which was what he was when we first met. In Portuguese, they’re called feijão branco, or “white beans” in English.