}]; Noreen's Kitchen: What's for Dinner? Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's for Dinner? Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

The garden is brimming with goodness and the harvest is here! Tomatoes and pepper, onions and basil and a world of other fresh produce that we are only blessed with this time of year.

To the avid vegetable gardener, this is nirvana. A satisfying season of abundance. A beginning of the time of year where canning and preserving will be taking place then giving way to the likes of county and state fairs. The latter where the works of many a home cook will be proudly displayed for the world to see and compete with other of the same ilk. A friendly (or not so friendly) competition between men and women where having made the best tomato conserve or strawberry jam can be daunting as well as a tremendous honor.

But the canning will come later and the fair even later still, so August will make way for the first of the fresh tomatoes. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you understand that the anticipation of that first fresh red, ripe juicy love apple can be hard to take. But boy oh boy, when it is ready it is a masterpiece of deliciousness. Standing in the garden rinsing the big boy off with the garden hose, lifting its juicy heaviness to your waiting lips and taking that first magical bite. Mouthwatering? Yes, and no need for salt, for you know that if you have prepared the soil and organically fertilized the plants, there will be no need for superfluous salt. A moment made of perfection. Standing in the middle of nature, surrounded by your bounty, eating your own tomatoes, now that is paradise.

So, now that you have tons and tons of tomatoes and you have pawned off as many as you can on the neighbors and your mom dad and assorted siblings you need to eat them yourself. Make spaghetti sauce, make BLT’s and make this wonderful fresh tomato basil soup.

Enjoy the freshness of the season, and enjoy life. Because it is short! Much to short not to enjoy a fresh tomato, barefooted in the middle of the garden!

Here is what you will need to make this recipe:

4 pounds fresh tomatoes quartered
½ cup chopped bell pepper
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
½ cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed
4 cups water
2 veggie bullion cubes or chicken bullion cubes
1 Tablespoon sea salt
½ tablespoon cracked black pepper
Olive oil
½ cup heavy cream (organic preferred)

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onion, garlic, peppers and celery . Sautee until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and bring pot back to a simmer. Heat water with bullion cubes in the microwave for about 4 minutes depending on your appliance. Remove and stir to break up the cubes. Add to the pot with the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add basil to pot along with salt and pepper. If you have an immersion blender, now is the time to use it, whaz that soup up until beautiful and smooth. Alternatively, you may use the blender, transferring the soup a couple of ladles at a time and puree. Don’t do all of it at once, and remember to remove the middle of the lid and place a dish towel over the top otherwise you will have an ugly mess when that hot liquid explodes on top of your kitchen counter.

Now, turn off the heat and add the heavy cream. Stir to blend and serve. This would be wonderful with a nice crostini on the side or like we did, next to BLT sandwiches, made with organic apple wood smoked bacon and romaine lettuce and of course garden fresh tomatoes.

I hope you like this and I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, see ya!

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