One can’t just jump head first into holiday cooking. One must dip a toe in, perhaps begin with a familiar classic that, actually, might have nothing to do with Christmas, but more to do with comfort. Like tomato soup. And with that, I present our first Guido’s Holiday Break Haul.
Clockwise, from top:
Boom Chica Pop Popcorn: Bertrand likes popcorn (can you tell??), and he favors this for its perfect amount of salt and sunflower oil. “The hint of oil ensures that it’s not too dry,” he says.
Rustic Bakery Rosemary & Olive Oil crackers: Great with cheese, of course, but I prefer them without.
GT’s Enlightened Kombucha in Gingerade: This, to me, is like ginger ale with a splash of non-alcoholic beer that’s good for your microbiome. I mix it with a shot of espresso in a large Mason jar full of ice, and convince myself that I enjoy it more than the fattening soy lattes I used to drink.
Droste Cocoa Powder: Contemplating baking Texas salted chocolate sheet cake sometime over break (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/salted-texas-chocolate-sheet-cake) so I bought the main ingredient today.
Oranges and a clementine: So far, I’ve eaten just the clementine. Very disappointing.
(Guest appearance: Wedge of Parm from Rubiners: Bertrand can’t resist a beautiful wedge of Parm. (http://www.rubiners.com/)
Tex Mex Blend: We stopped eating this snack about a year ago, but it caught my eye. “We’re on vacation!” I reasoned as I instructed Bertrand to add scoop after scoop.
Vegetable Broth: When we make soup from a vegetable, we try to keep the broth the same.
Basil: I bought the basil to add to the tomato soup, but I experimented. See recipe at bottom.
White onion: We actually had this onion in the kitchen already, so I’ll use it up in the soup and hope it provides the kind of flavor that its yellow cousin does.
Radicchio: I have every intention of figuring out how this can work into our tomato soup. Or, I’ll get lazy and make a salad with it. I love the bitterness of this lettuce, especially when grilled with some mozzarella.
San Marzano Tomatoes: I prefer using canned tomatoes in soup because they have better texture and hold more flavor than fresh ones–at least, in the off-season, and at least, in soup. We’ll save the cherry, plum and heirlooms for Summer salads with burrata.
Guido’s raw almonds: Bertrand’s going to make almond milk. Just you wait.
Guido’s pistachios: Nuts are good for you. (https://guidosfreshmarketplace.com/)
Guido’s roasted cashews: Nuts are good for you. Raw nuts are better. One step at a time.
Warming Tomato Soup Serves 4-6
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large white (or yellow) onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed and/or minced
- 1 12 oz. can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 12 oz. can of Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 1 baguette
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 8 springs of basil, divided
- 2 t sugar, divided
- 2 cups water
- 2-4 T parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Preheat oven to 350. In large Dutch oven, heat 2 T olive oil medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent–about ten minutes.
Place baguette in oven for 15 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, boil water. Add four sprigs of basil to boiling water and one teaspoon sugar. Boil for about three minutes, then reduce to simmer. Cover and let simmer for one hour. Let cool, and set aside.
Remove baguette from oven and slice into 1″ thick pieces, then quartered, and set aside. Meanwhile, Add garlic to onions in Dutch oven and stir for a minute or two–until fragrant. Stir in both cans of tomatoes and cook until nearly all liquid has evaporated, then add bread. Mix well, then stir in broth. Chop remaining basil sprigs and add to soup. Add basil water mixture to taste (I use all two cups) and bring to boil. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. When ready to serve, sprinkle with a healthy coating of freshly grated parmesan.