Saturday, October 8, 2011

~Tuscan Tomato Soup~



Martha Stewart Living, January 2001

Signora Adorni gave Martha her recipe for tomato soup using red, ripe tomatoes from the August garden. Martha uses her home-canned tomatoes all winter with excellent results. As a variation of this recipe from "Entertaining" by Martha Stewart, you can strain, puree, and thin this soup with light cream for a more elegant presentation. Stir in a teaspoon of pesto into each bowl of soup and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Martha Stewart Living, January 2001
  • Yield Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 3 medium onions, finely minced
  • 3 quarts canned tomatoes with juice or 14 large, ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy kettle. Cook the carrots, celery, and onions for about 20 minutes, or until very tender. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking over moderate heat for 25 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley and basil, season with salt and pepper, cook a minute or so longer, and serve hot.

Rainy, cold weather makes me crave a bowl of hot, nourishing soup.  Warming us from the inside, soup is perfect on those chilly days. 

Before the rain came down sideways, I picked the last of our ripe tomatoes from our garden. I also gathered up a bunch of our greens for the soup (also the last, until the fall garden takes off).  Soup is great because you can add just about anything to it and it still tastes good. 

A tasty soup is often remembered by those that savored its flavor long after the soup spoon has been set down.  My father still tells me about his Mother's delicious soup pot that simmered on the stove for what seemed like days on end. 


Side Note:  This doesn't have to do with this particular soup, but it is an important comment anyway.  I've been slightly confused about shallots over the years and so I sent Martha a message on Facebook.  I commented on her roasted vegetable salad for fall and this is how the dialogue went.

Morgan: Great! Can you also answer a question for me? What exactly is a single shallot? When I purchase them, they come in what looks like several that are attached at the root. I'm confused.

Martha Stewart: Hi Morgan! A shallot is a bulb, like an onion or a head of garlic. Like garlic, one shallot bulb can be comprised of several cloves which are all attached at the root, as you said. As a rule, if a recipe calls for one shallot, use the entire bulb. Hope that clears things up!

Morgan: Thanks, Martha! I will make sure that my blog readers get this information as well. Very helpful :) www.marthaandmorgan.blogspot.com

And so I have.  I hope this clears things up for you, too.  Let's not go into my initial confusion about garlic when I was 17.  I thought a clove was the whole head of garlic.  Boy was I confused!  Of course I figured that one out after the first bite.



Photo Gallery

I captured a picture of the weather before we started cooking.  I enjoy dramatic, stormy weather because of the scarf, rain boots and hot cocoa (and soup) that usually accompany such a day.  With the weather being the way that it was the action was in the kitchen.  The three of us huddled around the stove and we began cooking our Tuscan tomato soup.
After several minutes of boiling, the tomatoes were ready for an ice water bath.  The tomatoes were boiled about a minute too long, as you can see from the cracking tomato skin.  When you have two children running around, sometimes a minute or two slips away in what seems like a matter of seconds. 
Here are the carrots, parsley and the onion.  I was going to use the parsley, but then I decided not to use it. I had purchased the curly and not the flat leaf (our local store was out).  The more I thought about it, I decided to skip it.  I added some of our garden greens instead.  Curly parsley is much more spicy and a bit more over-powering in my opinion. 
This picture is by far my most favorite of Gabriel (while he is in the kitchen).  Not for the photo-factor, but because Gabriel finally, whole-heartedly wanted to cook.   He was delighted about making soup and he was excited to see all of the changes that were taking place in the pot.  We talked about colors and watched the butter melt away in fascination. 

As always, when the children are at the stove, they are under direct supervision.  For about ten months now, they have been cooking regularly in a safe manner with no complications.  They understand where it is hot on the stove and they know to stir carefully (and when only mommy or daddy are with them).
Sarah saw her big brother's delight and so she wanted a chance to cook too.
I enjoy finding the beauty in common things.  I am always amused at how beautiful oil and vinegar are when they are combined.  This reminds me of a Picasso painting, or a piece of abstract art.  The oil and vinegar were for the bread. 
The soup is finished and the kitchen and house are now filled with the aromas of onion, butter and vegetables.  This dinner hit the spot on this blustery-cold evening.
By now, the kids have become picture-lovers.  Gabriel gathered up the family dog, Chester and his sister for a group picture.
The kids are at the table and they're ready to eat!
Served with a fresh salad and a slice of bread, Tuscan tomato soup is superb.
Gabriel liked the bread, but not the soup.  However, the following day we had a different soup and he loved it. You just never know with kids.  I'm going to keep on serving up healthy, fresh dinners and one day they will learn to appreciate their flavors.
After several tries, Sarah tasted the soup and felt similar to Gabriel about the dinner.

Ben and I on the other hand, thought that the soup was quite good! 

Gabriel and Sarah are telling their Dad about the their soup making adventures.  They were very proud to have helped make the meal.

Gabriel let me in on a little secret.  He told me that the reason he makes a good soup is because he has "strong muscles".  I would have to agree.

~Dinner Is Served~


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