Tomato soup sounds like it should be the easiest thing in the world to make. However, like many other things, I find that it is one thing that is very hard to make well. Usually, I hate tomato soup, for the main reason that it hardly ever really tastes like tomatoes. Some versions are so acidic that they taste like you are sucking on a handful of duracells, other versions have so much cream in them that you lose the tomato taste.
I stumbled on a recipe for tomato soup a while ago that used bread to give it the illusion of creaminess. I thought that it sounded like a good idea, but kind of filed it away under the category of "maybe I'll try that later", which, if you are anything like me, sometimes turns into the category of "maybe I'll try that never." Well, by some stroke of fate/luck, I finally decided to make this and was pretty pleased with the results. I tweaked it a little here and there, adding vermouth where it called for brandy and substituting pain de campagne for white sandwich bread. It really does taste (and even looks like) like there was some sort of dairy added to it, but not in an obnoxious way. The clear flavor of tomatoes is really pronounced without being acidic, and the creaminess is a nice compliment without being heavy or stodgy.
Also made some shrimp and salmon with a brown sugar/paprika rub. Marth gave me some beet tops from her momma's garden that I sauteed with some broccoli stems and caramelized onion. If you haven't tried beet tops, you really need to. We've been eating them on pizza at the bakery...kind of like spinach , but with more flavor. I heart them.
The last pic is some rosemary/lemonzest/garlic pork paillards with some honey glazed roasted carrots. cutting the meat into thin medallions is a great way to save cooking time and also to fool your stomach into thinking that you are eating more than you actually are.
34 Degree flatcrisp crackers. OH...JACKPOT! For those of you who have a crispy/crunchy/cracker tooth, welcome to nirvana. Had some of these over at iske's a couple of weeks ago and I can't get enough of them. Super thin. the texture is what gets me...I love crunchy. Great for dips or spready cheese. I picked mine up at leons.
"creamy" tomato soup: (serves about 4, or three hungrys)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 can 28 0z tomatoes, whole in juice (tomato juice that is!)
1 tbs brown sugar
3 large slices quality country bread (like pain de campagne or sourdough), crusts reserved
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more if you're a spicy
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable if you want to make it vegetarian)
2 tbs vermouth
salt and peps
scallions or chives and cherry tomatoes/crust croutons to garnish
heat 2 tbs of the oil in a dutch oven, or heavy pot over med heat and then add onion, garlic, red pepper, and bay leaf. stir and cook for about 4-5 minutes. put in the tomates, juice and all and smash them up with a wooden spoon or potato masher until they are pretty smashy, no big pieces left. Stir in the sugar and bread, bring to a boil and then turn down to med-low and cook until bread starts to break down, another 4 or so minutes. remove from heat and throw out bay leaf. Working in batches (about 2 batches), transfer the soup to a blender. cover with a towel and pulse until smooth. Once it is smooth and the threat of hot exploding soup has subsided, turn it on and slowly drizzle in one of the remaining tablespoons of olive oil. transfer soup to large bowl. Repeat with other half of the soup. Rinse out the pot and add all of soup back to pot. Stir in your chicken broth and vermouth. season with salt and peps. Garnish with some minced scallions, small dice cherry tomatoes, and croutons you made out of the bread crusts.
Brown sugar rub:
2 packed tbs brown sugar
1 rounded tbs paprika
1 tsp blk pepper
1/2 tsp salt
put everything in a bowl and stir it up until incorporated. I like to use this on whole roasted chickens and also on seafood. piece