Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tomato Soup

I'm 10 years old and sitting for a portrait in Mrs. DeWitt's home, my 5th grade teacher who also happens to paint as a hobby. She lives up the street from us in a brick duplex and asks me if I would mind sitting still for a couple of hours while she paints my portrait - lunch included afterwards and I get to keep the portrait. I agree, figuring I haven't got much to lose.

Except lunch was canned tomato soup. I've never eaten tomato soup before, and it tastes pretty awful. I try my best to swallow more than a spoonful, but it's obvious to Mrs. DeWitt that I'm less than enthralled. It's not that I don't like tomatoes. In my house, we ate plenty of tomatoes - raw in salads, cooked in sauce, but never as a soup by itself. If we had extra tomatoes from our garden (which took up the whole back yard) they were vacuum-sealed in mason jars and used during the winter for everything from stews to gravy - but never tomato soup.

More decades later than I care to admit, I have to say that the tomato soup drought has ended. Although I've got a surfeit of tomatoes in my garden, I don't feel like standing over boiling pots of hot water to preserve jars for wintertime. Instead, I took the plunge last week and made tomato soup for the first time - and you know what? It was nothing like that canned drivel that I remember eating so many years ago as a young girl. Sorry, Mrs. DeWitt, but your painting skills were far superior to your culinary talents. I just wish I knew where that portrait got to.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Printable Recipe Here

about 4 to 5 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks (no need to take off skins or remove seeds)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 sticks celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large onion, diced

2 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

3 cups chicken broth

one bunch basil (about 40 leaves)

half and half, or heavy cream - to taste (optional)

decoration: yogurt thinned out with milk (optional)

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper and basil. Cook for about 1/2 hour. Puree everything in a blender, then pour back into the pot. Add as much half and half or heavy cream as you like, but leave it out if you're counting calories. Freezes well too, but add the cream just before serving.

Decorate with a bit of plain yogurt thinned out with a little milk until it's the pourable. Make concentric circles with the mixture, then take a toothpick and move it back and forth to create the web design. Sprinkle a little minced basil on top.

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  1. Love it! I am making this next week. If I can wait that long....

  2. This is gorgeous!
    I love tomato soup w/ grilled cheese, but no one ever swirled the cream like this for me. :>

  3. A beautiful soup! I love that cream swirl.



  4. I never have made homemade tomato soup (it was one of the few things my father "cooked" - from a can - and sigh - I loved it.) I am allergic to steaming pots of water in the summer - but this sounds do-able. And your presentation - couldn't be lovelier.

  5. We just made this yesterday!! So delicious! Today I will be freezing some of the tomatoes from the garden to use in soup this winter.

  6. Delicious soup...I need to prepare something like this very soon, it is too hot these days in Siena. Need something fresh and light like your lovely soup. Un bacio, Pat

  7. I love that photo with your artistic cream design, Mrs. DeWitt has nothing over you!

  8. che buona deve essere Linda! me la segno...Un abbraccio....

  9. I am one inspired meatball!!!!


  10. this soup should be the signature dish of your blog if for no other reason than its beautiful color...this looks so amazing!

  11. I've never been a fan of tomato soup either, but that gorgeous photo has me rethinking that.

  12. I have to admit I grew up on and loved canned tomato soup made with whole milk with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. This looks, and I'm sure tastes, a whole lot better :)

  13. I find this more of an insignia which makes a perfect chowder to enjoy with friends

  14. How gorgeous is that? Wow! You must have been a food stylist in another life. Tomatoes are starting to come to market here, so there is no excuse for me not to make this. My family will love it. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  15. Linda - you should "screen capture" this post. The soup plus your banner makes a most memorable blog post image.
    P.S. YOUR soup sounds perfect. Our sorority cook made a tomato soup like Mrs. DeWitt's. I haven't tried to make my own after all these decade either...

  16. Ah, your tomato soup looks so pretty! I'm sorry I missed this post -- I have been running around from florist to florist trying to find one who understands what my daughter likes and at the price we can afford. I never thought it would be so difficult!

  17. that is one very stunning bowl of soup that i would happily devour in a not so pretty way. lol
    it's the cream swirl that gets me all crazy happy.

  18. Tomato soup made with vine ripened tomatoes is hard to beat. We had lots of the canned stuff when I was a child so I can really appreciate the wonderful flavor of homemade soup.

  19. How pretty! And my tomatoes are finally ripening enough to make it. Perhaps some grilled cheese on the side?

  20. This looks so delectable and vibrant. Great blog. I am from New Zealand and blog on food amongst other things. You might be interested in this post about asparagus soup – although it doesn’t look anywhere as nice as yours Will enjoy following your blog.