Fire Roasted Dinner

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah, so I had off from school, and Kirk took the day off of work. Our kids did have school in Newburyport, so we had a day all to ourselves. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are my favorite days of the year for this reason — and because September has some of the best weather New England has to offer, making for excellent al fresco dining and bike rides to the beach. Before all that, though, we took care of some things outside, including building a fire:


We still have lot of tomatoes. Lots. So Kirk built a wood fire and let it burn down so we could roast a bunch of the biggest ones. (The fire was also nice during the cold part of the early morning, too.) These were just cut in half, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and laid out over foil over the embers. The foil had some holes punched in to let smoke get to the tomatoes, too. Later Kirk added a couple bell peppers to the fire, and we were on our way to fire-roasted tomato soup for dinner: 


If you have the patience to build the fire, this is pretty easy to make. Kirk sautéed celery and onions, then heated up the roasted tomatoes and peppers in a pot (leaving on the charred bits). It all got stirred together, then pureed with a hand blender to make it smooth. It still has a little tooth to it, but it's not a chunky soup. It's really good — sweet and kind of smoky, bright with tomato but warm with onion and celery. Yum!

The other thing we threw on the fire was a couple big heads of garlic:


We wrapped the bottoms in foil to keep the papery skins from burning, then nestled them in the embers. I forgot about them, so they were in the ashes all afternoon as the fire died. When I pulled them out before dinner, the cloves were good and soft. Roasted garlic is sweeter and much more mellow than raw, and it's much easier to peel: Just give the soft garlic a squeeze and it pops right out of the skin. This was so warm and soft that I spread it on some toast instead of butter:


So here we have our fire roasted dinner! Definitely a special treat, since we don't often have all day to tend a fire for cooking. It was a great way to use up a bunch of our harvest in a new way, too. 

A last note: This morning I spread some leftover roasted garlic on my bagel before topping it with plain cream cheese. Soooo good. Hopefully the garlic will keep in the fridge for a few more days so I can have more of those on my way to work this week!

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