One of the best things about living close to my parents is getting access to the fruits of their labor — literally. You see, they have a garden which my dad tends to with fastidious duty and discipline. And this garden has produced a crop of the most delicious, ripe tomatoes, a bounty of which landed in my kitchen fruit bowl and have been bugging me to do something with them all week. Mostly I've been afraid I'd come home after work and sadly discover they'd turned to a moldly mess of fruit fly fodder during the day.
I should stop and confess something: one of my biggest hang ups in life is throwing food away. I hate, hate, hate throwing away food. I force myself to eat things that have been in the fridge for probably a little too long, cut of dubious pieces of cheese to salvage the remaining bits, and live in defiance of expiration dates. I'm a rebel with a cause, you guys. And that cause is being frugal to a point of possibly risking food poisioning just to be economical with the food in my apartment. I also never got sick from food once in Southeast Asia, sooooooo ...
Anyhoo. My fear of letting food spoil led me meant I spent a week with this anxiety looming over me: what would I do with the tomatoe? But just as I received the first batch of tomatoes from my dad, my friends John and Youky invited me over for dinner and served bowls of homemade tomato soup (made with tomatoes harvested from John's mom's garden in Calistoga) and uh-may-zing grilled cheese sandwiches. So, with inspiration, and in a race against the inevitable moldy-mess-fruit-fly scenario, I frantically searched the Internets for a tomato soup recipe worthy of my dad's crop. I settled on one that looked promising and gave me the opportunity to use up some carrots and basil my dad had also bestowed on me.
Maybe it's the incredible flavor of the homegrown tomatoes, maybe it's the fact that I used almost double the tomatoes from the original recipe, maybe it was the addition of a third cup of sour cream, but this soup is just beyond delicious. It's bright, it's sweet, it's down right yummy. Best of all, I can sleep easy tonight knowing the tomatoes have been properly used up.
Fresh Tomato Soup (adapted from Raising Generation Nourished)
- 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 - 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 8 - 10 tomatoes (I used 2 big tomatoes, 6 medium-smallish tomatoes and 2 small tomatoes; I would say it was between 3 - 4 cups diced tomatoes)
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 bay leaf
- dash of oregano, thyme, and white pepper
- 1/2 tsp honey (helps to counter the acidity of the tomatoes)
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup sour cream
- salt & pepper to taste
Heat butter/oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and let them cook for about 15-20 minutes, adding a dash of salt to help bring out the juices.
Add the tomato paste and cook a minute.
Add the tomatoes, then the stock, basil, bay leaf, and dash of oregano, thyme and white pepper, and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat, remove the bay leaf, add a small drizzle of honey, and purée using an immersion blender. Once blended, temper the sour cream with some of the blended soup, then add the sour cream into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your own labor — which, in this case, is a pretty darn amazing soup.