Given the 28 inches of snow outside, it seemed a good day for some tomato soup, and I had a delicious new recipe to try. The basics - diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, basil, chicken broth and a bit of cream - looked promising. However, the devil is in the details.
My initial concern was loading the vegetables into a crockpot without browning them first. Time saving, yes, but what about the flavor created when fat and my vegetables meet at high heat? I browned the veggies in my stockpot, ditching the crockpot (which takes waay too long anyway).
The next red flag was the recipe's 2 tablespoons of dried basil. Maybe your dried basil is fresher than mine, but two tablespoons of almost any dried basil would leave a dish bitter and stale. Since I didn't happen to have any fresh basil on hand in the middle of a blizzard, I grabbed the next best thing: four small frozen cubes of basil, sold for a pittance at Trader Joes. Each little cube is sealed in plastic to avoid freezer burn. Genius!
But then came the worst crime against good soup; a roux made with a stick of butter and 1/2 cup of flour. Look at the photo below left and tell me that soup needs to be thickened! I left the roux out, saving both my time and 2 tablespoons of butter per serving.
A quick blend with my stick blender (a necessary cool tool if you like to make soup), some fresh Parmesan (below middle) and a bit of cream later, it was lunch!
My daugher is 14, but I still have her toy IKEA tea set. The cups and saucers make great little dishes for condiments, and in this case, for photographing food. The soup looks so pretty with one tiny oyster cracker on top! Of course we ate from much larger bowls, but we did have oyster crackers just like the picture.
If you'd like to make your own creamy tomato soup, here is a link to the recipe.
With Pintrest and all the recipes on the internet, you will run across some duds (see my Pintrest "Wall of Shame" board here). Don't be afraid to use your cooking skills and good common sense to make the necessary adjustments!
Finally, if you live in New England, I hope that you are enjoying your blizzard as much as I am. Stay warm and enjoy your soup.