Tomato Soup

  • Good for a Winter`s day
    Tomato Soup
    1-1.5 kg red tomatoes
    1 tsp salt
    1-1 1/2 slices of bread
    1 T sugar
    1/2 tsp dried basil (the herb, not the hare) (can be fresh)
    1/2 tsp dried oregano (can be fresh)
    1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    approx 2 tsp wine vinegar

    Put the tomatoes into a large microwave casserole dish, halving the big ones. Break bread into small piece and add to tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, basil and oregano. Add the garlic and onion. Cover loosely and microwave on high for about 5 minutes, then shake and press through a coarse sieve. Add the vinegar, tasting after one spoonful is mixed in.

    Chill and serve cold or reheat it.

  • Here's how I make it:

    1-2 onions (depends on how much I'm making)
    Garlic cloves, minced (lots, I never cook with less than three)
    2 celery stalks, minced
    1 large carrot, chopped (optional)
    Fresh or dried basil, oregano, thyme (use less herbs if fresh, more if dried), minced small and stems removed
    Several pounds of tomatoes (I use about three for two+leftovers), chopped
    A couple cups of liquid stock (veg, chicken, or beef)
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    A pinch of cinnamon and/or garam masala, and a bit of chili or cayenne if you're feeling adventurous (optional)
    A spoon of yogurt or sour cream (optional, haven't tried it yet, but it should thicken and smooth the consistency a bit)

    Saute your onions in butter, and when they start to get soft, add everything else but the yogurt/cream and allow to boil (if using a pressure cooker, cook for 5 minutes on high pressure)*. If using more savory spices and seeds, roast them in the pan for a few seconds until fragrant and then add your butter/oil and onion right away. For your stock, add enough to make it soupy – depending on how many tomatoes you use, it could be one to several cups. Once everything is very soft, blend together with the yogurt. I use an old fashioned hand egg beater, but a fork or an electric blender will work fine too. I don't bother peeling the skins off the tomatoes; they add texture, nutrients, and flavor, also it's a pain to skin them.

    Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches (Fancy version:  sauteed onions+bacon/meat of choice+brie+savory fruit compote or marmalade).

    *When using an onion+garlic combo, always get your onions sauteeing first, and then add minced garlic. The garlic will burn if there's not enough liquid in the pan. Garlic adds a lot of flavor, so when in doubt add some in and then add more than you think is good -- let your nose guide you. Also, I've found that when making savory dishes, adding cinnamon adds a lot of depth to the flavor, doesn't have to be much to round out the taste.

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