Monday, July 30, 2012

Keeping it Simple - Cream of Tomato Soup

This soup is pretty simple.  Put some canned tomatoes, a little chopped onion, some chicken broth, and butter in a pot, let it simmer for an hour, add whipping cream and you're ready to go.  It's also pretty delicious.

My mother-in-law found the recipe in an old issue of Taste of Home, liked it, and set it aside to share with me.  With it, she gave me two quarts tomatoes that they grew, picked and canned. 

Last night Matthew and I savored the final hours of our weekend and gratefully ate this soup.  In spite of this hot and humid South Carolina summer, and we both had seconds.  Even Matthew who generally does not care for soup. 

Don't let the simplicity or the ingredients (butter and whipping cream!) concern you.  One pot makes 8 servings, and one serving is right under 300 calories (if online calorie counters are to be trusted).  Because the soup has so few ingredients, I recommend using the best quality you have available.  Use real chicken broth rather than bullion and high quality canned tomatoes. 

So without a lot of fuss or fanfare, here is the recipe carefully saved for me by my mother-in-law.  I wish I could give each of you a jar of homegrown tomatoes to go with it.

Old-Fashioned Cream of Tomato Soup
Adapted from from Taste of Home

1 quart of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken broth (I used Trader Joe's organic, free-range)
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a large nonreactive pot combine the first five ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.  In a heavy saucepan, heat whipping cream.  Do not let the whipping cream boil.  Just before serving, use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Slowly add one cup of soup to whipping cream.  Add whipping cream mixture to pot of soup.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

Friday, July 27, 2012

From My Binder: Italian Birthday (Week)Night

I mentioned in my post on hospitality that I keep a binder for meal planning.  I am a sucker for food blogs and Pinterest, and I love to plan a meals with a theme. 

Unless it's just Matthew and I: then cereal, leftover salami, and string cheese are a meal. 

Themes give me a structure to work in and make me feel like my meal is complete.  They can also give me a headache and make me want to take on way too much work.  But I'm getting better at keeping my expectations real even if it means adapting what I see in food magazines.
As I've mentioned (just a couple times), I work a lot, and if I'm going to pull off hospitality on a weeknight the food has to be mostly make-ahead. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Forty-Five Left to Go

We were in that tricky spot in our marriage where the honeymoon had worn off, and we were still frantically trying to figure out how to live with each other.  I think we'd been married a little over four months.  The life expectancy of our bliss was the same as the life expectancy of light bulbs, and we stood in the aisle at Lowe's trying to figure out the difference between halogen and incandescent. 

An elderly couple came by, pushing a cart with a poodle in the baby seat.  We stopped them to ask about the dog and give her the appropriate pats on her head- as fluffy white as her owners'. 

"Are you newlyweds?" the wife asked shrewdly.

I wondered if we wore our awkward affection like a sandwich board.

"We've been married fifty-six years."  She smiled at her husband.  "Don't worry - the first fifty are the hardest."

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