I loved this month’s Let’s Lunch theme the instant I read it. I just knew there would be a zillion fun possibilities. Muaaah ha ha!!! Cue creepy music. This was going to be such fun!
Problem was, I couldn’t think of anything scary that I actually wanted to eat.
Ghosts made from homemade marshmallows? Nah.
Brownie-bodied spiders? Ick.
“Frog guts” made from food-colored rice krispie treats. Gag.
My mind was a blank. Nada. Zippo. Bupkis.
What did I really want in all this rain and cold and drear? (If you’re in the US Northeast, maybe you’ve noticed it’s been raining for weeks…).
What I really wanted was a warm, soothing soup. Something that held a hint of summer’s brightness and warmth. Ain’t nothing scary about that.
Then I saw this picture, and my creaky brain wheels began to slowly turn.
Tomato soup. Made from slow-roasted tomatoes and a bit of saffron, rich-tasting, but not heavy. Comforting and warm, but easy to make.
And the eye? That definitely put the dish high on the creep factor chart.
The original picture uses what looks like a peeled hard boiled egg. It works, but…yeah, I don’t really like eggs. They scare me, but not in the Halloween spooky way.
Ah…. I remembered that really cool Molecular Gastronomy kit my sister gave me as a gift. There’s a recipe in that kit for making “yogurt ravioles” which look a whole lot like pupil-less eyes.
Oh yes. Mad scientist lab experiments! Now we’re cooking!
So, with the help of Hyla, my “cycloptic assistant”, I set to work in my
We tried two methods: painting with gel food coloring, which gave a really bloody and oozy effect; and the more restrained olive slice pupil and saffron thread veins. Both have their merits.
Either way, the eye pops in your mouth, then oozes. Gross, right? Perfectly scary.
Hey, while you’re making roasted tomatoes for the soup, why not make a second tray so you can put some roasted tomatoes into the freezer for the winter? ‘Cause what’s scarier than a bowl of soup that stares back? A whole winter without a roasted tomato. That’s what.
Here are some other scary offerings from fellow Let’s Lunchers:
Lisa’s Pretzel fingers at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy’s fabulously spooky Halloween cakes at A Cook and Her Books
Annabelle’s Halloween Spice Cookies at A Glass of Fancy
Linda’s Pumpkin Spiced Flan at Spicebox Travels
Rashda’s Spooktacular Stuffed Pumpkin at Hot Curries & Cold Beer
Joe’s Sloppy Vegan Joe with Mock Meat at Joe Yonan
Polyhemus’ Ambrosial Roasted Tomato Soup
Makes about one quart of soup
For the roasted tomatoes (I use this recipe from Fine Cooking):
- 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-1/2 to 5 lb. medium-large ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 12), stemmed but not cored
- kosher salt
- granulated sugar
- scant 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
For the soup:
- 1 medium shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pinches of saffron
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- plain yogurt or sour cream
- the end sliced off one black olive
- Oven roast the tomatoes using the Fine Cooking recipe or any method you prefer. This will take 3-4 hours. It’s fine to do this a day or two in advance. Let the roasted tomatoes cool, put them and any pan juices into a sealed container, and then store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make soup.
- In a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, saute the sliced shallots with the tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. You want the shallots to get nice and soft, but not to brown or burn. This can take about ten minutes.
- Add the roasted tomatoes and all of the reserved juice to the pot.
- Add two cups of stock.
- Puree the stock with the tomatoes and shallots, either by using a hand blender in the pot, or batch by batch in a blender or food processor. I pureed my soup until it was smooth, but if you prefer a lumpier soup, by all means, puree as much or as little as you like.
- If you used a blender or food processor, return the soup to the pot.
- Add the remaining two cups of stock and a pinch of saffron. Stir to combine with the tomatoes, juice, and shallots, then slowly bring the mixture just to the edge of a boil.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with or without optional eyeball. To add the eyeball, you can either make a “yogurt raviole” (as demonstrated in this video), or just add a generous dollop of firm sour cream or Greek yogurt. You could also use a peeled, hard-boiled egg. Finish the “eye” with a slice of black olive for a pupil and saffron threads for gross-out veins. If you’re being extra creative, you can use some red food coloring to give the eye a blood-shot hue. Yum!