Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Awesome Summer Soup: Tomato Basil

This morning I was thinking about tomatoes and lunch. We have a huge Roma tomato plant that has given us more fruit than we can eat in salads and sandwiches. We have tomatoes on the vine, on the kitchen counter, and ripening on the deck.

I opened Bernard Clayton Jr.'s The Complete Book of Soups and Stews (a present from my sister Sara) and turned to "tomato" in the index. When I saw Iced Tomato and Basil soup I knew I had a starting point. Of course my current diet eschews the oil and mozzarella crostinos recommended in the recipes, but I adapted quite nicely. The result was delicious. When Andy came home for lunch and we ladled up the soup, we felt like we were dining in a multi-starred NY restaurant.

Ingredients: 5 pounds of tomatoes, which equals about 20 Roma tomatoes
5 garlic cloves
1 cup shredded fresh basil (or one Tbs dried)
One box vegetable broth (or chicken if you are so inclined).
Salt, pepper, to taste; dash of sugar
Optional toppings: 1/2 cup soy milk; cream; pesto 

Clayton's recipe called for 5 pounds of fresh garden tomatoes. I rounded up about 20 small Romas.

He suggested dipping them in boiling water and, after a minute and a half, dunking them in cold water. This allows the skins to slip off easily. He also advised slicing them down the middle and removing the seed cores, which I did. I also trimmed off any tough stem ends.

I then followed his directions to dice the tomatoes into small pieces and cook them in a pan for 5 minutes. He uses oil; I used a nonstick pan with a little water.

Meanwhile, I sauteed his suggested 5 cloves of minced fresh garlic in a non-stick skillet. Since I didn't add oil, I deglazed with a few tablespoons of vegetable broth.

After the tomatoes had cooked down for 5 minutes, I added the garlic and 1 cup of shredded basil and simmered for 5 more minutes.

Then I added a box of vegetable low-sodium vegetable broth (Clayton uses chicken) and let these all meld together for several more minutes.

I sprinkled in salt, black pepper, and a dash of sugar.

I departed from Clayton's recipe by dumping this all in my food processor and churning it to remove any tomato pulp and chunks of garlic and basil.

When I returned it to the pan, I added about 1/2 cup of soy milk. If you are into cream, that would do nicely too.

I had plucked extra basil from the garden and, before churning the soup, had made a pesto using fresh basil, one garlic clove, nutritional yeast, and about one cup of walnuts.

A spoonful of this pesto added to the soup was just … hmm … je ne sais quoi

Oh, yes, Clayton recommends eating this chilled ("iced") but admits it is delicious hot also. That's how we enjoyed it, due to timing issues. By the end of lunch hour the pan was empty so we'll have to try the chilled version another time.