Updated: Mar 6
Tomato soup is one of those soups that really can comfort you at any time of year. In comparison, chicken noodle soup, I feel calls for a cold winter day when you have the sniffles and just long for a hot and tasty broth-like soup. In spite of popular belief, it won't cure the flu, but it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy from the inside out. I would not serve chicken noodle soup in July. One can agree to disagree. This is only my opinion which means is a belief or judgment that falls short of absolute conviction, certainty, or positive knowledge; it is a conclusion that certain facts, ideas, etc., are probably true or likely to prove so.
For this soup, it is imperative to get the best and ripest tomatoes possible. I saw some amazing tomatoes in the store the other day and immediately thought about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Add a little goat cheese and off you go. Culinary euphoria here I come. I slightly squeezed them and then performed the "Nose" test and smelled them. They smelled like real tomatoes, earthy and fully ripened the old-fashioned way, in due time. It was their fragrance that sold me immediately!
Good, ripe tomatoes are hard to come by at the grocery store. Although they have the right color but usually fall short of the fragrance of good ripe tomatoes. Most produce and fruit are harvested underripe to survive the transport and then gassed to bring out the ripe color.
Picked green and rock-hard, unripe tomatoes are loaded into trucks and taken to storage facilities where they are literally gassed. Ethylene gas is what makes a tomato turn red. Tomatoes naturally produce their own ethylene gas and slowly redden as they ripen at their own pace, and that takes time. Never refrigerate tomatoes. Buy only as many as needed and keep them at room temperature.
We have quite a few farmers around here who sell their harvest during the summer month into autumn at produce stands on the side of the road. That would be a better place to get good tomatoes. Shake hands (not during COVID-19 times) and get to know your local farmer and find out what else they got. Maybe back at the farm they have goats and make their own goat cheese. Always be in discovery mode. The further north you go, the more produce stands you will find. It's very rewarding to find great local produce that tastes like the way is suppose to. Besides, supporting the local farmers is always a good thing.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the ultimate comfort meal.
~ Ina Garten
The Basics: "Kitchen Knives"
We all can agree, we will need a knife or several knives to prep and cook with. What we need to figure out is, what kind of knives and how many. Are you cooking every day or just occasionally? Are you simply chopping and slicing vegetables feeding the family or do you aspire to precision and perfection? Depending on how many days a week you spend in the kitchen and what variety you cook, you will need an assortment of chef knives. For the basic cook who just executes the essential cuts, an 8 or 10-inch Chef's knife and a smaller paring knife will do, to begin with.
But instead of me regurgitating what’s already out there, better and easier to understand I will simply include this link of understanding knives so you can look it up for yourself. One thing I will caution you on though, DO NOT buy cheap knives or God forbid those infomercial knives. A real good 8 or 10-inch chef's knife will set you back around $100 to $150 bucks, but it will last you a lifetime and you will be proud to use it. I promise! It's an investment for the rest of your life or an entire career.
Even though I am from Europe I prefer Japanese steel. It seems to me, it is thinner, sharper, and somewhat flexible. But it's like with everything else, you either love it or you don’t. You got to find your own "Holy Grail" of knives. For whatever reason, whether it's the steel, looks, or feel of the knife. It becomes a personal choice. All good knives have one thing in common, they are expensive. Never, ever put a good knife into the dishwasher. Handwash it only with soap and water.
I purchased this Dalstrong Chef's Knife - 8" Shogun Series X last Christmas for my daughter. She loves it.
Japanese chefs believe our soul goes into our knives once we start using them.
You wouldn't put your soul in a dishwasher!
~ Masaharu Morimoto
My YouTube Channel: The Clever Gourmet
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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (2 Esslöffel)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
2 pounds vine-ripe tomatoes, washed, stem removed, and chunked into pieces (1 kilo)
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste (170g)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, store-bought (0.70 liter)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (2 Esslöffel)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, to remove any acidity (1 messerspitze)
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (1 Esslöffel)
salt and pepper to taste
goat cheese crumbles, optional
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add garlic and cook until it loses its raw appearance, then add onions and sweat until translucent and soft, but not brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add baking soda (it will foam up, don't panic) and puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
Strain soup through a kitchen strainer into another pot to remove all seeds and skin. Add balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Do a final taste test before serving. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and serve piping hot.
Makes about 6 to 8 cups
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