Heirloom Tomato Soup



My wonderful father in-law, one of the two lovely in-laws who’ve inspired this blog, also inspired my garden this year. For Christmas, I was presented with the most thorough catalog of seeds I’ve seen in some time. With not enough space to go pumpkin crazy, I opted for rewarding tomatoes. Six varieties to be precise and would you think that would stop my seed gift? No way, he even planted, sprouted and babied these specimens until they were ready to head to earth.

With a late start to the summer and a bit of a back problem, these little babies soon grew into towering providers. Eight feet of unstretchable plant has blossomed into hoards of tomatoes that now, so close to the first of fall, have finally begun to ripen; all at once.

With the more than occasional rain and cooler nights, I’ve summoned my three year old farm hand, who has no trouble crouching, to help with the over abundant harvest.

The soup, I could handle. It was pretty simple and very delicious.

CREAMLESS CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
2 Lbs Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes, I used Black From Tula, Snow White Cherry, Roma & Riesentraube, diced (or one large 300z can)
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Slice of Bread, crusts removed, torn
3/4 teaspoon Salt, more or less, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, optional, to taste
Fresh Basil, chopped, optional for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot.
Dice and add the onion, minced garlic and bay leaf.
Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned.
Add diced tomatoes and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened, released their juices and lost their skins.
Stir in the sugar, bread and broth, then bring the soup to a boil then reduce it to a simmer.
Once the bread is soft and begins to break down, remove the bay leaf.
Using a hand immersion blender, mix the soup until smooth.
In batches if necessary, pass the soup through a mesh strainer and return to a cleaned pot.
Reheat as necessary.
Add salt, and pepper if desired. Seasoning to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil.

Serves 4

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup


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VEGAN CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

2 Tbsp oil
1 Onion diced (red if you can)
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C Dried porcini or shitake mushrooms
4 C Sliced mushrooms – white, porcini, portabello, shitaki approx. 2 medium portabellos and 6 cremini. (the earthier the mushroom the richer the flavor)
3T Cognac (optional)
1 Potato (peeled and cubed)
2T Flour
1 Sprig of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2T Large leaf parsley (finely chopped)
10 C Water
1 C Soy milk
2T Arrowroot powder

Method

In a large bowl cover the dried mushrooms with 6 cups of boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to re-hydrate for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel to reserve the liquid. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside.

Prepare the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent (about 2 minutes), add the cognac and cook the alcohol down for about 1 minute. Add the raw mushrooms and in batches if necessary not to overcrowd the pot for about another 2 minutes. Listen for a persistent sizzle, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
Add the re-hydrated mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Toss the mushrooms with the flour, stir to coat.
Add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the remaining 4 cups of water, scraping any “bits” from the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and bring the soup to a rolling simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once the potato is soft, remove and discard the rosemary sprig and reserve about 1 cup of the mushrooms, stir in chopped parsley and set aside.

Purée the soup using a immersion blender or in batches with a food processor.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in the cold soy milk and drizzle mixture into the hot soup.
Adjust seasoning.

Serve garnished with reserved mushrooms and brushed garlic crustini.