Sunday, August 22, 2010

soup revisited

As you probably know by now, having your jaw wired shut jaw really limits your dining options. Milkshakes and smoothies get pretty tiring after awhile, which is why it's good to switch it up with some nice savory soups. Today I'd like to talk about two different soups that I've made in the past couple of weeks. I've actually covered both tomato soup and broccoli soup before in the earliest days of this blog, but in both cases I did some things differently this time around.

a roasting pan of tomatoes

For the tomato soup, I put some of my beautiful food co-op tomatoes to good use by rubbing them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them on a baking sheet in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes. I also roasted a handful of garlic cloves, two sweet Italian peppers and almost all of a jalapeno, which was cut open and deseeded.

tomatoes and peppers from the food co-op, and garlic

I neglected to photograph everything after it's stay in the oven, but rest assured that everything was deliciously shriveled and blackened. If I wasn't reduced to only the smoothest of purees, I might have been tempted to stop at that. Roasted tomatoes are a beautiful thing. However, under the circumstances, soup was my only option, so I plowed ahead without even so much as tasting one of my roasted beauties.

While the tomatoes were roasting, I started the soup on the stove top, sauteing onions in some hot olive oil with salt and pepper. Then I added a can of whole tomatoes, and let that cook. Then I added a couple of cups of homemade chicken stock, which has been a big part of my liquid diet and will be covered separately eventually.

Once my pan of tomatoes had cooled off a bit, I set aside one of the sweet peppers and two garlic cloves for hummus, but added the other red pepper and all the tomatoes to the soup. I discarded the jalapeno, because I could tell just from smelling everything that a good bit of its heat had run off into the pan juices. This proved to be a wise move, as the soup was almost spicier than I could handle as it was. I can't even imagine the damage that any jalapeno solids would have done, if the juices alone were that potent. Unfortunately, the red pepper kind of got lost amid all the juicy tomatoes and the heat of the jalapeno. If I made a tomato soup with peppers again, I'd probably use almost as many peppers as tomatoes.

tomato and red pepper soup with fresh basil

To finish things off, I added a large handful of basil leaves and then went to town with the immersion blender. Because I didn't peel or seed my tomatoes, I had to strain this soup in order to drink it. This is often the case, and it's definitely a pain. However, this soup was good enough that I didn't resent my time spent straining.

a spicy soup

The second soup was a broccoli and swiss chard soup, and it was very easy. Just some garlic and onions cooked in butter, and then chicken stock with broccoli and chopped chard. Once everything was nice and soft, I blended it all up and put it through a strainer. I also added some grated romano cheese. I lost a great deal of the broccoli when I strained the soup, and what was left separated from the broth, which actually turned green from the chard stems. It was definitely not the world's prettiest soup, so I didn't take any pictures.

Interestingly, I eventually doctored up both soups with some cream, albeit for very different reasons. As I mentioned before, the tomato soup, while tasty, was just a little too spicy for my liking. Some heavy cream smoothed things out quite nicely. The broccoli soup suffered from a very different problem. It tasted like bad health food or something. It was just "green" tasting, with no richness or other flavor. Some grated cheddar and half and half made a HUGE improvement. The soup that I'd been struggling to stomach was suddenly tasty! Dairy really does make all the difference.

1 comment:

  1. I roasted a huge flat of San Marzano tomatoes this weekend, yielding six frozen "cans" for winter use. LOVE those roasted toms.