Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roasted tomato soup

As a kid, I think I tormented my parents, teachers, and other adults in my life due to my obsession with one little word.


Who knew three letters could send people into such a panic?  And, as you can surmise, when you're young and see that something you've done or said can garner such a reaction from adults, you vow to do it again... and again and again.  I'm told that my parents always feared I'd let that three letter word slip out of my mouth during the weekly Sunday children's sermons.  You know, when all of the children are invited up onto the chancel steps in front of the whole congregation for a quick lesson.  Rest assured, I never did ask the minister "why", and my parents' hair continued to gray at its normal rate.  You're welcome, Mom and Dad :)

My love for that same little word has only grown as I've gotten older, but I've decided to add another three letter word after it: "not."  If you haven't noticed, I kind of have a thing for making things that can be easily purchased at any grocery store.  Cinnamon rolls that taste so much better homemade than out of those refrigerated tubes.  And the world's best macaroni and cheese with mountains of real, not powdered, cheese.  Even flaky pie crusts easily made from scratch and the most flavorful white bread you'll ever sink your teeth into.  Heck, I even dared to reinvent the wheel Oreo and made chocolate sandwich cookies in my own kitchen -- dynamite stuff, I'm telling you!  To all of my friends who, like young Katy, asked, "Why would you make those when  you can buy them?" I shake my fist and say, "Why not?" 

The same goes for this soup.  Once you try it, you'll never be able to eat the gloppy canned stuff again.  Roasted tomato soup will cure all that ails you and protect you from anything coming your way, I promise!

(Never you mind about that toasted bread peeking out behind the soup bowl.  I'll get to that doozy of a sandwich tomorrow!)

Apparently keeping with this week's unintentional theme of "little work, big taste", this soup comes together almost as easily as it would with the flick of a magical wand.  Roasting the tomatoes brings out their best flavor.  Then, with the addition of a few basic pantry staples, the whole party goes into your friendly neighborhood blender or food processor and comes out ready to wow.

Thick and hearty with so much tomato flavor!  You know, rather than thin and milky and "does this really taste like tomato?  I guess since it's sort of red..."  Plus, it's totally packing nutritional value with real tomatoes, healthy fats from olive oil, and low on salt with the right broth.  I never knew making tomato soup could be so easy.  Matt, if you're reading this, get ready for lots of soup dinners!

You know what would be perfect with tomato soup?  Check back tomorrow :)

Two years ago: Baked apple pie oatmeal

Roasted Tomato Soup
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Bon Appetit)
-serves 4

3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional, I omitted)
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Wrap garlic cloves in a tight foil packet. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Add foil packet of garlic to tray.  Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Unwrap garlic packet and peel cloves.  Transfer cloves, tomatoes and any accumulated juices to a blender or food processor and pulse machine on and off until tomatoes are a chunky puree.  (If you prefer to blend more or less, go for it.)  Transfer tomatoes to medium pot and add thyme, crushed red pepper and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.  Top with cheddar cheese, if using, and enjoy!

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