This soup caused a scary little whoopsie-daisy in my kitchen. Hours after it had been made, served, enjoyed and digested, I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water before bed, and I discovered that the (gas!!) burner had been on for hours. Yikes! This brought back another scary memory of the time I went home for the weekend back in college and came back to discover that the Yankee candle next to my bed had been burning unattended for more than 48 hours. Apparently I’m something of an accidental firebug.
(In case you’re curious, I’ve only started one actual kitchen fire, and it happened while I was 12 years old and making macaroni and cheese for the children I was babysitting. Less than ideal.)
After this most recent burner incident, a funny thing happened. I started dreaming about unattended kitchen burners. On at least three separate occasions in the past couple weeks, my dreams have included scary little scenes where I discover a long-since-forgotten burner just burning away. It’s gotten to the point where I actually go out of my way to check the burners when I first get up in the morning. So far so good, but I think I’m in the market for a timed off-switch for my oven burners. You know, like coffee makers have? Someone needs to get on that.
ROASTED RED PEPPER SOUP WITH SEARED SCALLOPS (adapted from Food & Wine 2007 Annual Cookbook)
4 large red bell peppers, cut in half vertically with stems removed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 oranges juiced (about 3/4 cup juice)
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
6 sea scallops
- Preheat oven to 425. Put red bell peppers on cookie sheet, stemmed side down, and bake 45 minutes or until skins turn black (mine took a little longer than 45 minutes). When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins, cores, and seeds. Finely dice 4 of the pepper halves, leaving the remaining four halves intact.
- In large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic, onion, cumin, and crushed red pepper and cook over low heat until onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the four intact pepper halves and chicken/vegetable broth, bringing to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Add orange juice, orange zest, and cilantro.
- In blender, puree soup in batches (make sure to do it in small batches — the hot soup can explode out of the blender if you put too much in at once). Return soup to saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Keep hot.
- In medium skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil until shimmering. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to skillet and cook over high heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn scallops and cook other side for 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with scallops and remaining diced peppers and serve.
I loved this because it had a really bright, fresh flavor but still packed plenty of heat. I did not love it because it almost burned down my kitchen.
I guess I can’t blame the soup for that…