Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekly recipes 12: Tomato-Basil Soup

The week after Christmas we spent time at my brother's outside Minneapolis.  It was blissful because I was able to sit and relax, chatting, sipping, chatting, and reading while my brother cooked a scrumptious meal for all of us.  During the holiday break I did most of the preparing and cooking while others relaxed so this was a great change of pace for me. Also he is a fantastic cook.  My sister-in-law is no slouch either; she prepared a quiche and a German pancake for breakfast, starting our day off in a tasteful way.

Getting back into the groove of school this week and the freezing cold weather I started our week with soup.  Of course. Tomato soup and grilled cheese.  It was delicious.


Tomato-Basil Soup
{from Chris at Shared Appetite}

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ - 1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch basil, torn into small bite-size pieces
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a dutch oven or large pot. Once hot, add onions and season generously with Kosher salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to avoid burning the garlic.
Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Season generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I like to use about ½ tablespoon of black pepper, which gives a little kick to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer for at least 15 minutes. You can feel free to leave it longer if you forget about it. I have.
Purée mixture using an immersion blender or carefully transfer soup to a blender. If using a blender, return mixture to the pot.
Stir in the cream and basil and let simmer for at least 15 minutes, although I like to leave it for a bit longer so it can reduce down to a thicker consistency.
Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I highly recommend using Parmigiano-Reggiano for its superior quality), a little sprinkle of black pepper, and a chiffonade of basil.

We had some thick sourdough bread leftover from Christmas and it made perfect grilled cheese with Brie and Muenster mixed and melted between fat slabs of bread.

I poured Groovy Girl's portions of soup through a strainer because even though I used my immersion blender it still had diced onions and I knew she would "freak" so to speak.  She loved it. We had it for several meals and I had enough to take for two lunches at school.

I also created a tofu stir-fry with quartered brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, pea pods, turmeric, a little curry sauce, and coconut milk. Instead of rice I used Israeli couscous. Groovy Girl ate two helpings.
{1/2 a German pancake}
She had the day off today and because our week has been a little busy; I had two nights of meetings in between dance classes so I decided to jump in my freezing cold car and head home for lunch to dine just with her.  I prepared German pancake mix and left it in the fridge in a pint jar before I headed out for school while everyone else was still sleeping. Before I left school at noon I asked her to turn the oven on so it would be nice and hot when I walked through the door. Before I even took my coat off I scraped a large pat of butter into my cast iron Lodge skillet and stuck it in the hot oven.  When the butter was melted and browning I pulled the pan out and poured the pancake mix in and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes. We took it out, lifted it out of the pan, and ate it all up with jam, syrup, and powdered sugar. It was delicious. Memories made.

It was a great cook week here.  Even in the freezing cold temps we survive. How about you?

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