Roasted Red Pepper & Orzo Soup

While between jobs in Detroit, I worked for a few months at a place that served only soup – pretty good soup, too. They had one that, after I had decided it was my favorite, they quickly discontinued. With some help from this recipe, I hit on a pretty good replica.

6 red bell peppers
2 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small can tomato paste
2 t sweet paprika
5 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 c orzo
3 T heavy cream

1. Preheat broiler, position rack about 4 inches under element and line cookie sheet (use one with sides!) with foil. Cut the peppers into quarters and remove seeds and ribs. Place peppers on the cookie sheet skin side up. Roast the peppers for 15-20 minutes, until skins are mostly blackened. Using tongs, place peppers in a large ziploc (also, pour in any juices collected on the foil) to steam and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove peppers, peel blackened skins and chop coarsely.

2. In a deep soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent. Add rosemary, tomato paste and paprika, stirring until tomato paste is well distributed. Add peppers and chicken stock, bring it all to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Remove rosemary from the soup. Using a stick blender, process soup until fairly smooth and no large pieces remain. Add one cup of hot water to soup, stir well and bring back to boil. When boiling, add orzo and cook according to package directions. After orzo is cooked, turn down heat and stir in cream. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Five Munich Christmas Markets and an upcoming trip to Turkey

Englischer Garten near Chinesicher Turm

Englischer Garten near Chinesicher Turm

Yesterday we headed down to the Munich Airport in Freising to scope out some deals for Christmas travel. We were thinking about some place exotic, and at least kind of warm (though a fantastic deal on a trip to Iceland would not have been out of the question), wanting to add another country to our list. Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and even Thailand were in the mix. In the end, we opted for a 10-night stay in the Turkish Riviera region at an all-inclusive resort. Since we’re going toward the end of December, we’re not expecting weather particularly well-suited for pool lounging; rather we’re hoping for more opportunities to check out the area. The travel agent assured us that hotel-arranged and public transport would meet our needs for getting out and around. Feedback in advance about the area will be much appreciated!

After that, we met up with the Zurikas and caught a bus to the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten in Munich. We hit the Christmas Market there and snagged some adorable mugs as memorabilia. We didn’t have to renege on the deposit at all — they’ll happily sell you clean, unused mugs for the same price as the deposit on the one you just drained.

After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying four, yes four! additional Christmas markets:

  • The artsy one in Schwabing
  • The one at Sendlinger Tor, where I purchased some really nifty “glittens” — fingertipless gloves with a removable mitten-like hood over the otherwise exposed fingertips (these will be perfect for winter photography and bike-lock fumbling)
  • Pink Christmas
  • The renfesty one (near Odeonsplatz), which was suprisingly crowded, considering the lack of soup-in-a-bread-bowl until we got ourselves some Feuerzangenbowle (see the goblets with rum-soaked sugar cubes on the side? Yeah, they light that stuff on FIRE!)

Aw, bummer, we’d just missed him!