It's hard to believe just two days ago I was wearing shorts. Today it's 42 degrees and I'm freezing my buns off. I'll say this: Texas winters are never boring.
We'll be back in the 70's by Thursday, so I'm not complaining. Sometimes I think it gets cold in Texas just so we can all have an excuse to pull out our favorite sweater, make some soup, and reminisce about summer (i.e. complain about winter).
Yes, summer. Remember those great tomatoes? I do.
Back in June, when I was inundated with tomatoes and too busy to do anything with them, I washed a batch and stuffed them into a one gallon freezer bag. Simple as that. Other than washing them, I didn't process them in any way. This is what they looked like today when I pulled them out of the freezer and let them defrost a bit.
I let them rest in a colander, while I started working on making some homemade tomato soup. I don't want the tomatoes to fully thaw, because I think they are easier to work with when they are still mostly frozen.
Today I'm following this recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/melanies-garden-tomato-soup
I use the word "following" loosely, because I rarely follow recipes. Like many cooks, I improvise based on the ingredients I have on hand or what I'm in the mood for. Here's my ingredients list for today's soup:
2 generous splashes of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
9 frozen tomatoes, various sizes
6 oz tomato paste
6 oz water
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
I combined the olive oil, onions, garlic and herbs and cooked until the onions and garlic were softened. Funny how so many good recipes start with olive oil, onions and garlic! I feel warmer already.
While the onions and garlic were cooking, I started peeling and chopping the tomatoes. Frozen tomatoes shed their skins with only the slightest prompting. Just let them defrost a bit and the skins slip right off like magic.
When frozen, the consistency of the tomato is more like a ripe apple. I just cut out the core, pushed back the skins, and chopped the tomato into pieces. It's so easy and it doesn't make a big, juicy mess, because all the juice is frozen.
I tossed the chopped tomatoes into the pot with the onions and garlic and added all of the remaining ingredients except for the heavy whipping cream. Then, I cooked the mixture over medium heat until hot.
I couldn't find my emulsion blender, which would be perfect for this job, so I improvised and processed the soup using my Nutribullet. When the soup was pureed to the consistency I wanted, I added the heavy whipping cream as a final step.
Garnished with just a sprinkling of dried basil, this soup was like sunshine on a cloudy day.
And, the best part... Yummy leftovers for tomorrow!