Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sane Rain

It has been quite a gloomy week here in the neighborhoods of Virginia. Yesterday, mother nature nourished us with an ice, cold, sharp rain flurry. On top of that, her minty, crisp, freezing breath whistled in my face as I ventured out to retrieve the mail, my groceries, and relieve the dog's bladder. It was tres miserable. However, between those tedious errands was a large amount of sanity--Sane rain. How is this possible?!

A rich, creamy, heated bowl of tomato soup is the solution, folks! Topped off with some homemade croutons, and voila! Sanity. Staying sane through the rain. Sane rain. And for those of you back home in Northeast Ohio, call it what you will--Show snow--as in "I'll show you snow! ..That I can survive this bitter frost!" Or whatever you please. Okay that may be a little goofy. But goofy is good. Don't get me trying to figure out a word that rhymes with 'goofy' because I will do it if I have to!

This tomato soup is very rich in the tomato-ey department. A friend recommended adding cream to it. It's a great idea if you want to cut down on the strong tomato taste!!

Creamless Tomato Soup
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped medium
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes (I just tried Hunt's this time, I liked it! Will repeat. Usually I use RedPack)
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1'' pieces (I have done it both ways..good white bread and leftover french bread...I don't think it makes much of a difference)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pot over med-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices. Heat for about 3-5 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the tomato pieces until no pieces bigger than 2'' remain. (Don't break the bay leaf) Stir in the sugar and bread; bring the soup to a boil, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Transfer half of the soup to a blender. Add 1 tbsp oil and process until the soup is smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Pour this into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining soup, being sure to remove any large pieces of tomato. Return all the soup (including what was poured into the bowl) to the pot. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top in individual bowls.

**The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of brandy (optional), but I don't really have a lot of alcohol on hand so I never tried it. It also called for 1/4 cup chopped chives... Your choice!

This recipe serves 6-8 people. Great for leftovers. Great with croutons or grilled cheese!

Adapted from ??? I know this recipe by heart and I eyeball it depending on taste

3-4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 loaf of french bread, cut into cubes
fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pan, heat olive oil. Add minced garlic and stir for one minute. Add the bread and parsley, making sure to soak it up in the olive oil and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes or until desired crispiness! Serve in your soup! It melts in your mouth. Also great in Caesar salad.

"[The cold weather] either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail." 


  1. Your photos are wonderful and the recipe you use for your soup sounds delicious. This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by!! I recently just started blogging back in Feb., so please excuse the lack of posts and recipes! My goal is to try to post a couple times a week! I am so excited you found me. I plan on checking out your blog as well. So in the meantime, happy cooking, happy dining! Stephanie