Market Finds: Tomato Hoarder Edition

Market Finds: Tomato Hoarder Edition

There’s nothing that says love than a big bowl of tomato soup. Why not share this recipe, brimming with Farmer’s Market bounty, with your numero uno?!! Click to skip to the recipe

Heirloom Tomato Soup

 

Facemask in hand, I was strolling the mark last week and found a few exceptional produce offerings.

It is TOMATO TIME.

The varieties of heirloom tomatoes are on full display at almost every farmer’s stand.  If there were a TV show that centered on tomato hoarders, I would be featured on episode number one! I just can’t help myself.

I fill my straw basket with these red, ripe beauties and then take them home and display them on my counter. 

Luckily, I am married to the numero uno tomato consumer and we eat them at every meal. But, when the numero uno consumer can’t keep up with the number one hoarder, we have a problem. 

Enter my recipe for heirloom tomato soup. I think you are going to love this one.

One of the most interesting additions to my soup is elephant garlic. Remember those beautiful garlic scapes we found in the spring? Well, those scapes are on the top end of growing bulbs of garlic that are dug up right about now. 

The cloves from this garlic are huge and have more of the texture of a turnip than a potato. The taste is more delicate and doesn’t overpower the flavor of this soup.

Last but not least, I found delicate zucchini squash blossoms still attached to their mini mates. These need to be dealt with quickly, as they don’t have an awfully long life span in the fridge.

I stuffed the flowers with a combination of ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and roasted them alongside the mini-squash for a delightful bite of cheesy vegginess. 

It was an excellent side dish for the soup. A super YUM on the Yum-O-Meter.

I offer my soup recipe for you to try this week, whether your strolling the market or not. 

There’s nothing that says love than a big bowl of tomato soup.

Why not share one with your numero uno?!!

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Elephant garlic gives this soup a unique flavor as well as an interesting texture.

Ingredients

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, about 6 large

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves elephant garlic, thinly sliced, about ¼ cup (substitute with 3 cloves regular garlic)

1 cup sherry 

1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes

1-quart vegetable stock

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ cup half and half

Yields:   A crowd

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Peel the tomatoes by first slicing the skin crosswise at the stem and then placing them in boiling water for just a few seconds. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and peel the skin. Cut the tomatoes into chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more. Pour in the sherry and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to emulsify the soup. You can also use a stand-blender or food processor to accomplish this step but cool the soup first. You don’t want hot soup in a blender!

Stir in the half and half. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. You can add more salt and pepper if you like, or any other herb or spice you want to flavor your soup. It’s all good!!

Dipping My Toe in the New Normal

Dipping My Toe in the New Normal

Comfort food is just what we need, whether we are in self-isolation, quarantine, or shelter-in-place. My Tomato Soup recipe hits the spot and offers a savory solution to navigating “the new normal”.  Click to skip to the recipe!

 

Tomato Soup in Bowl with Crackers

 

We’re about to start the process of opening our county after eight weeks of social distancing. In a way, we’ve grown accustomed to staying at home.

Shelter-in-place has been weird. But what is even weirder is how quickly we’ve become used to it.

Waking up alone or with your kids or with your significant other and your kids and your significant other and maybe your mother…. and having nowhere to go. No plans on the horizon. No reason to get spiffed-up. No goals, no pat on the back for a job well done. It’s been lonely, challenging, and life-changing.

And now, just like that we’re supposed to go back to a new norm.

When I canvas my friends, I hear apprehension. While we’re home and quarantined, we’re safe from the silent enemy. But now, venturing out, facemasks in place, we fight a new challenge: how to exist in a society where the virus hides around every corner.
It is a crazy, insecure feeling; one that we must overcome in order to go on.

Personally, I am going to rely on my comforts as I dip my toe in the new norm. My hand sanitizer is stashed in my glove box. I’ve ordered designer face masks (of course I did….). I wash my hands constantly and stay six feet away from people that I encounter. I even follow the arrows in the grocery store!

But when it comes time to enter the phase that allows us to gather in small groups, my plan is to gather. I plan to gather just a few friends for a glass of wine to start and then maybe a shared snack or lunch and then maybe a social-distance approved supper outdoors with a couple of pals.

Yes, there is some apprehension, but it is time!

Perhaps it’s time to make your plan. There’s a lot to think about, whether you’re going back to work or considering shopping at the corner boutique.

Is it time to get your nails done, or does anxiety put the plan off for another week? Is it time to invite your baby best bud for a playdate? Is it time to let him go to his friend’s house? No matter how or when you plan to embrace the new norm, it’s time to make a plan.
What I always do when I face the road ahead is to take some time to think and strategize.

And while I fashion a plan, I like to surround myself with comfort food.

It kinda makes things less scary. The whole activity of cooking that food relaxes me. So, while you’re mulling over your plan for your new norm, why not take a tip from my playbook and whip up a pot of comforting soup. Tomato Basil Bisque is my go-to soup because it pushes all the comfort buttons. It is creamy, flavorful, tummy-filling and the perfect bowl to sneak in a fistful of crumbled crackers. Just the dish needed before you walk out the door for the first time.

Swallow your anxiety, take your time and step forward….Safely!

God Bless!

Tomato Soup
With Jalapeno, and a Hint of Fennel

Serves:

Time:

4-6 

40-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

Adding just a bit of jalapeno adds a little heat to tomato soup. But the addition of fennel takes this soup to a spiced-up, licoricey lip-smackin’ treat!

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced into small cubes

1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ cup dry sherry

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

4 ounces tomato paste, about ½ cup

1 quart homemade chicken stock, or prepared low sodium broth 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ large fennel bulb, optional

½ cup half and half

¼ cup sour cream

Pour olive oil into the bottom of your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Place the onions and pepper into the pot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Pour in the sherry and simmer until most of the liquid disappears, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, and sugar.  Place the fennel bulb into the soup.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer the soup for 20 minutes allowing the flavors to blend.

Remove the pot from the heat.  Remove and discard the fennel bulb.  Stir in the half and half and sour cream.

Serve the soup with crushed crackers, another dollop of sour cream, and the tops from the fennel.

A Creamy Tomato Soup to Power You Through Xmas

A Creamy Tomato Soup to Power You Through Xmas

No matter your winter activity, albeit ice skating, ice fishing (well, maybe I’ve got some fans in the frozen tundra), or just plain exhausting shopping and decorating, there’s nothing better than a piping hot bowl of soup. My recipe for Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons comes from the “Pic Niques” chapter of SUNDAY BEST DISHES. If you’re lucky enough to live in Florida, this DISH OF THE DAY is perfect for a spur of the moment winter break picnic, and if you don’t live here with me in the tropics? A hearty tomato soup with cheesy croutons is just the best in a snowed in cabin, too! It’s the perfect meal to serve as you gather friends and family to decorate the tree.

Myself, I’m going to need a big warm comforting bowl of this soup, to finish wrapping gifts and signing my autograph. My beautiful bookplates are here! Email me soon for your signed copy of Santa’s favorite cookbook, and be sure to include your address so he and the reindeer can find you!

https://www.amazon.com/Sunday-Best-Dishes-Jorj-Morgan/dp/1480940496

Now go make soup!

Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Soup

with Grilled Cheese Croutons

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

 Garlic

3 heads garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut off the top third of each head of garlic and discard. Place the heads onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Fold up the foil around the garlic, leaving a small hole at the top. Place into the oven and roast until the cloves are golden, soft and popping out of their skins, about 30 to 40 minutes.

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Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced, about 1 ½ cup

2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and chopped, about 1 cup

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

4 cups homemade chicken broth, or prepared low sodium chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¾ cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Stir in the onion and carrots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the veggies with flour and cook for several minutes more.  Stir in the broth, crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.  Cook until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Add the roasted garlic and basil and cook for 1 minute more.  Cool the soup. Transfer the soup in batches to a food processor (or blender) and pulse to emulsify.

Pour the soup back into the pot over medium heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat.

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Croutons

1 large hoagie roll

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded, about ½ cup

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

            Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the hoagie roll in half horizontally. Spread the butter over the cut side. Lay the cheese on top of one butter-slathered slice of the roll. Place the top on the roll. Smush the roll down so that the cheese sticks to the butter inside. Brush the top, sides and bottom of the roll with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Slice into 1-inch cubes. Bake until golden on all sides, turning every so often, about 3 to 5 minutes total.

Pour the soup into a thermos. Pack the croutons into an air-tight container. Serve the soup with a garnish of basil and top with 1 to 2 croutons.