Garlic can explode.

(I am currently in Italy (Venice, today!), but I thought I’d leave a couple entries for you while I’m gone.)

I think a lot of food blogs make it seem like the author is incredibly talented and perfect and never has an off night. It’s hard, when you’re putting yourself out there for the world to see, to present the failures in addition to the successes (and maybe readers don’t care to see the grim results), but posting my pizza disaster was so therapeutic that I thought I’d give you another little window into my less-than-perfect world.

A couple weeks ago the temperature dropped suddenly, and we had a really chilly, wet, clammy day. I was feeling a bit clammy emotionally, too, so I thought tomato soup and grilled cheese would be just the ticket. I googled around a bit to find an easy recipe for tomato soup. One that I found suggested roasted the canned tomatoes with a little olive oil before making the soup, which seemed like a swell idea, so off I went, feeling a little smug and very domestic.

tomatoes pan

I tossed a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves on the sheet pan, thinking roasted garlic would be a nice addition to the soup, put the pan in a 400 degree oven, and went back to work in my office. 10 minutes later there was a very, very loud BANG! in the kitchen, followed by a strong scorching smell. One of the garlic cloves had EXPLODED. Violently. The entire oven was covered in shards of it. I pulled the other cloves out of the oven and dropped them on the stovetop (hot! ouch!), and eventually threw them in while I was softening onions and celery for the soup.

(Picture is blurry because it’s very hard to take a photo of an oven without it being all oven light, plus my hand was shaking.)

If you look closely, you can see that the garlic forced itself up to the lining that rims the outer edge of the door.

Meanwhile the tomatoes weren’t looking remotely roasted at 15 minutes (which was when the recipe said to take them out), so I set the timer for 15 more and walked away. The house was full of burned-garlic smoke, by the way. And then I forgot to come back and check the tomatoes’ progress before the buzzer went off.

When I did pull them out, I found this:


The tops of the tomatoes never roasted. The bottoms scorched and welded themselves to the pan. I popped the minuscule unscorched remainders off and tossed them in with the juice from the can, and set the pan to soak for a couple hours. Meanwhile I figured I might as well still make soup.

soup ingredients

Using the immersion blender improved my mood, and thanks to the remaining semi-roasted garlic the soup was plenty creamy without any cream added:


It was kind of bland. I should have grated parmesan into it.

By the way, I had bacon to add to our grilled cheese, and I was so dismayed by the Garlic Explosion that I decided to cook it in the microwave instead of hassling with it on the stove. I have done that before and it works ok, normally (nothing to write home about but fine for a sandwich). Not this time. Somehow all the salt was drained out and we were left with what I imagine those Beggin’ Strips dog snacks taste and feel like. I erased the photos.

soup sandwich


(Hopefully I am eating unbelievably delicious soup Canal-side, as you read this.)

4 thoughts on “Garlic can explode.”

  1. So, my mom’s trick to perfect bacon grilled cheese is make a crap load of bacon at one time and freeze all of in a doubled up zip-lock (suck out the air of both bags as you seal it) and just stick the frozen bacon in between the bread when you are ready. Heats through pretty quickly and lasts forever. 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear how Italy was when you get back!!! xoxo

  2. I found some canned roasted whole tomatoes- I think it was Del Muir brand. They were good.

  3. How could this have been a disaster? It looks FANTASTIC!!! I can’t think of a more comforting meal that what the last pic shows!
    Which makes me think – we are taking an awful lot on faith with most food bloggers. Maybe they are just great food stylists!
    Thank goodness you are unfailingly honest, sweet Kate, and never steer us wrong when it comes to the yummy.

    Which is of course, one of the most important things in life.

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