Almost Meatless Monday

As a private chef, I see and hear a lot of intimate things. There’s a comfort level that goes back to the chemistry of the family. You have to truly care for the family you're working with in a job-related situation like this. As close as I feel to the family members as even though they're inviting and enveloping me in their lives, I'm still an outsider working in their home. I can't get too comfortable. On the other hand, I might spend hours looking for a favorite potato chip, and if I don’t buy that brand, there are going to be problems. In any other job situation, you might tell someone where they can go and how to get there.

Every other Sunday night, I sit down and write out a weekly menu. I'm responsible for 14 meals. There are a few nights that are infamous at the house: Lasagna night, roasted chicken night and pot roast night. Three out of four nights ain't bad!

A lunch favorite is my Roasted Tomato Soup. I put everything on a sheet pan and let it all roast for over and hour, blend and then season to taste. I serve it with an oven-baked chicken patty that is flavored with roasted zucchini, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 5

5 large tomatoes, cut in half
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 jalapeno, cut in half lengthwise, seeded
1 red bell peppers, seeded, cut half
2 carrots, peeled
6 whole garlic cloves
olive oil
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, red bell peppers, carrots and garlic cloves on baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil all over, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for a minimum of 20 minutes, no more than 45 minutes.

Add all vegetables, tumeric, garlic powder, salt, pepper, vegetable broth in a food processor or blender. Blend until you get a nice puree. Slowly pour in heavy cream. Pass through a sieve or food mill to make the soup smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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