I have been waiting anxiously for the new House of Cards to come out and it's finally here. Want to know how much I've watched? About half of the first episode. Want to know how many times I've watched that old, weird claymation Rudolph this June? At least 10. When House of Cards time rolls around at night, I just cannot stay awake. I lay down with Ruthie so she can twirl my hair as she falls asleep (go ahead, roll your eyes at me, I'm probably rolling my eyes at myself 🙄 #faveemoji) and then I inevitably fall asleep also and that leaves zero House of Cards time. Sometimes going to sleep at 8 PM causes me to wake up at like 3 AM, but the Underwoods are too creepy and evil for that hour of the night.
THIS SOUP. I found a recipe that inspired this recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart (like 1996 old). My mom kept every issue she's ever received in the mail and if you would have told my 14 year old self that one day I'd be into vintage Martha Stewart magazines, I would have told you to get the hell right on out of here. But here we are, I'm 30 and I love Martha, both old and new. If you're familiar with Martha, you know her recipes are typically pretty complicated (especially the old ones) and involve ingredients that require trips to deepest Peru and knowledge of foraging forest mushrooms. This original recipe had so many spices in it I almost ignored it until I saw one word in the ingredients: CHICKPEAS. What? But I don't SEE any chickpeas...where could they be hiding? OMG THEY'RE BLENDED IN?! HIDDEN PROTEIN AND FIBER?! So now minus a few ingredients, it's become a go-to recipe if I don't have much happening in the fresh produce drawer, but I want something with some veg to accompany my cheese on cheese sandwich.
THE SANDWICH. Something else that is very 1996 about me, I love my bread machine. It does all the tough work of making bread for you. It kneads, rises, kneads, rises and then if you want it to it will BAKE your dough into a weird, torpedo shaped loaf. Mine smells like serious burning on the bake cycle, so I usually take it out and use the oven at that point but sometimes I live on the edge and go full bore on my bread making and let her bake. I made a loaf of brown sugar flax bread specifically so I could engulf it in cheese, fresh mozzarella to be exact. Add sautéed basil and it tastes like a fancy summer outdoor dinner party (I don't think I've ever been to one of those but I like where this is going). Sautéing the basil means you can cram more on the sandwich. I also added in a few handfuls of baby spinach so more vegetables is always better. So mozzarella + basil + tomato soup = caprese (right?!) and caprese = SUMMER.
Makes 4 servings soup and 4 sandwiches
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 28 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup chickpeas (rinsed if using canned)
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
3 cups basil, loosely packed (you can definitely get by with less)
1 cup spinach, loosely packed
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (for outside of sandwich before grilling)
8 slices of good, chewy, nutty, whole wheat bread (or whatever you've got!)
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add diced onion and cook until softened. Next add diced garlic and cook until fragrant (a minute or two). Pour in diced or crushed tomatoes along with about 1/2 cup water. Stir in 1 1/3 cup chickpeas. Sprinkle in oregano and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Scoop into food processor and blend until smooth. Top with coarse salt before serving.
For sandwiches, spread mayo on outside of each piece of bread. Fill with mozzerella and sautéed basil and grill in pan until melty.