As I admitted the other day, after investing a gallon of milk and an hour of my life into a mozzarella cheese making kit, my interpretation of the kit’s directions left me with a teaspoonful of mozzarella.
It seems I gloss over quite a few important instructions now and then.
Over our 2nd sick weekend, I wanted to use a few of our counter-ripened garden tomatoes for tomato soup and spent too long searching online for recipes (canned tomatoes either make a mean soup or no one can part with fresh tomatoes for soup).
I settled on a lovely simple recipe from The Former Chef that happily would use up carrots and celery leftover from another sick day soup. I halved the recipe because I only had 5 tomatoes (6 cups diced). I didn’t have the onion the recipe called for, but I was following the “spirit” of the recipe and all was looking beautiful.
Following the letter of the recipe, I added the tomatoes and broth and simmered for an hour. I even let the soup cool for an entire 15 minutes before straining.
My parents came by to play with the kids (total highlight of our 2nd sick weekend) just as I finished straining the soup and the mini sourdough bread came out of the oven. I love having lots of taste testers and rewarding my volunteers babysitters with good wholesome food, but its amazing how my parents always show up (hungry) just when I’ve made an aromatic new creation in very short supply.
The recipe called for using an immersion blender, but my straining was so effective, it didn’t need it.
After taking the requisite photos, the soup was ladled into bowls and finished in minutes. Ryan asked for a second bowl, which alas, he didn’t eat, and since we’re not finishing each other’s food right now on account of all the germs, no one could eat.
My dad loved the soup, adding the reserved carrots, celery and tomatoes from the strainer to his bowl. “How come you left out the best part?” he asked.
I agreed it seemed weird to not actually include the carrots and celery in the blend, but hey, that was the recipe. Those veggies must be like bay leaves, Snag the flavor but remove before serving.
Or that was what I thought the recipe said until I started writing this post last night. Just to be clear, you can use the immersion blender BEFORE straining the good veggies out. Blend them into a nice puree, and then strain to eliminate just the tomato seeds and peels. Or not.
Unlike the case of the evaporating cheeseball, my straining method worked out just fine. This is a recipe you just can’t mess up.
Fresh Garden Tomato Soup
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (Serves 8)
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 3 cups diced onions
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups water or chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
Roughly chop all the vegetables, approximately the same size.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots, celery and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes, but don’t let the vegetables brown. Add in the tomatoes and water or chicken stock. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the carrots are soft.
Turn off the heat and cool for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup with a stick blender.
Once the soup is all pureed, press soup through a strainer to eliminate the tomato skins and seeds. Be sure to push through the rest of the vegetables.
Put all the strained soup back in the pot and add the salt and sugar.
Reheat the soup before serving.
Yields 12 cups.
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