Saturday, January 4, 2014

Soup, Soup, Soup!

Baby, it's cold outside! And that's an understatement. If you live in the United States, chances are you just met the force of Hercules and the chilly temperatures that came with the first winter storm of 2014. Personally, I'm okay with snow and the fact that I got to work from home for two extra days, woooo!! But it's frigid and icy and I already learned the hard way that icy pavement is very slippery and very hard when you fall on it.
A very snuggly Kitty

Luckily, I have a home and heat and a space heater and blankets and a cat and fuzzy socks and lots of soup. So many things to keep me warm! I've become a little obsessed with soup since I received an immersion blender last year for Christmas. It made my favorite butternut squash soup go so much smoother--literally. And while butternut squash is right up there in the fall, I'm more of a grilled cheese and tomato soup kinda gal in the winter. Nothing warms my heart and soul faster than a big mug of tomato soup. Because using a spoon is right out, tomato soup is made to be slurped.

A couple weeks ago, I met the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. I had been to the restaurant in New York City before but the actor was in town as part of the American Wellness program to encourage people to stay healthy in the winter months and seek doctor's help as needed. The program originated in New York City as a way for people to contact a doctor without getting an in-person visit. I certainly don't have time to get sick or to go to a doctor randomly so I think it's a great idea! Plus, they were handing out free soup and it was quite tasty.
No soup for you!

I was a little skeptical of this recipe I found because it was in metric units and I didn't feel like converting it so I guesstimated the number of tomatoes. I waited a little long to use these tomatoes so I ended up throwing some away but the rest were sliced and spread on a cookie sheet with onion pieces and garlic. This tray of goodness was roasted in the oven at 400 (an estimate) until they appeared roasted (I waited until the tomatoes looked soft and slightly blistered).
Nice ripe tomatoes

All of the vegetables are added to the pot with vegetable broth (you could also use chicken broth) and seasonings. I opted not to add mozzarella to the soup but to make it creamier, a good hunk of cheese will add a nice thickness to the soup. But if you do opt for cheese, save some to put on top!

It's tricky to me to judge when soup is cooked enough to be pureed. With things like carrot and squash soups, the vegetables need to be soft before being blended but tomatoes are already soft, especially after roasting, so it's more of a gut feeling when everything is done. You definitely want to allow enough time for the broth to heat and the flavors to meld together. I left the soup cooking for about a half hour and let it cool a bit before blending.
Roasted vegetables, so colorful!

The soup came out a little chunkier than store-bought soup but blending for a longer amount of time would thin it out. The next time I make it, I may add some spice to it, just for a little kick. Perhaps some seracha or chili powder. In the meantime, the next soup is going to be this unique coconut carrot soup from Shutterbean. I made it once before but haven't yet added my own spin to it.
This is actually carrot soup but it should still make you hungry

I would recommend eating this soup after frolicking in the winter beauty. A quick walk, some sledding, building a snow man, freezing bubbles. All great activities that would end with a welcome dose of hot soup!

  • 4-6 ripe tomatoes (use fewer tomatoes if they are larger but you want to fill a cookie sheet)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if desired)
  • One ball of mozzarella (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cut up the tomatoes into eighths and spread on the parchment paper.
  3. Chop the onion into sections and sprinkle amongst the tomatoes.
  4. Lastly, slice the garlic cloves and sprinkle over tomatoes and onions.
  5. Gently drizzle olive oil over vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetable platter for 30 minutes or until vegetables appear soft.
  6. Combine the vegetables, broth and seasonings in a large pot. Allow mixture to stew for 30-40 minutes.
  7. If you are adding the mozzarella, thinly slice pieces and add to the soup mixture.
  8. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender until smooth.
  9. Garnish as desired and enjoy!

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