If you are a regular visitor to My big, fat, Cuban family you know that I homeschool my kids. One of the subjects we cover is what I like to call Life Skills.
I want all four of them to be able to function in life outside of the world of academia. My husband and I, like all parents, seek to model behavior we know they’ll need to function productively in the real world.
So cooking is an essential part of our curriculum. I usually grab a handful of cookbooks from my extensive collection and set them out on the table. Of course, the ones with pictures are the favorites.
Imagine my delight when my son, Adam, who is now 23 years old, comes home and declares, “Mom, I had the BEST tomato soup! But I bet we can make a better one.” (I noticed his use of the pronoun immediately.)
I’m up to the challenge!
We pull out a large stack of cookbooks (I have a lot!) and open them up to anything that looks remotely good in the world of tomato soups. Then we decide the things we would include (definitely basil) and exclude (no cherry tomatoes) and what we might add (honey! for a slightly sweet flavor). Soon we’re headed for the grocery store with list in hand, picking out some plump Roma tomatoes, just because we like how fresh they smell.
“Let’s add leek,” I suggest. “Okay, I trust you.” he says. This makes me smile. =D
I believe that the love of cooking is more caught than taught.
“This is going to be great!” he exclaims. I think so, too. I grab my camera and hand him the apron. ;-)
The Best Tomato Soup EVER
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced into rings
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 2 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, leek – I tie them together with thin twine – fresh herbs are best. This is removed when the cooking is done)
- 1 leek – some to wrap with the bouquet garni – some sliced and placed directly into pot
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 3 large basil leaves – fresh
- coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil (added to soup later)
- chives, finely chopped for garnish
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and shallot until just soft.
2. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Just until soft. Do not brown!
3. Add tomatoes, bouquet garni, honey, basil and and sliced leek.
4. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt and pepper about halfway through.
5. Remove the bouquet garni.
6. Blend the soup in a blender or food processor – a little at a time. Adding olive oil to add flavor.
7. Strain, if desired. (We decided we liked ours with a bit more texture, so we did not strain it.) Add more salt and pepper as desired.
8. Sprinkle with chopped chives for garnish.
9. Serve in warm bowls with crusty bread.