roasted tomato soup and the critic
Oliver has been asking for tomato soup for several weeks now. At first, I thought he was kidding. This is a kid who has declared his hatred of tomatoes from day one, after all. He and his father are both alike with their tomato aversion.
As it turns out, he has tomato soup at his school occasionally, and he really likes it. I’ve never asked his school what type of tomato soup they serve. I always just assumed it was canned. I even have a soft spot in my heart for canned Campbell’s Tomato Soup. My father used to make that for me when I was a kid and had to stay home from school because I was sick. It may have only happened a few times, but the food memory is permanent. A bowl of hot tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich, cut into two triangles, never rectangles, and perhaps some saltines. That is the meal that will forever remind me of Dad.
Despite my affection for Campbell’s tomato soup, I wanted to make my own soup to serve to Oliver. I roasted the tomatoes for an hour, hoping to concentrate as much of the flavors as possible during the roasting process. I threw an onion on the roasting pan, and added some garlic towards the end. I used my new KitchenAid Blender – which, by the way, I am in LOVE with – to puree the ingredients. Before long, and just in time for lunch, I placed in front of my son a nice hot bowl of homemade roasted tomato soup.
He tasted it.
“Where’s the rice?” he asked. “There should be rice on the bottom.”
Who puts rice on the bottom of their tomato soup? His school, apparently. So, either they serve the soup over rice, or they are serving the other version of the canned variety that I’ve never tasted, Campbell’s Tomato Rice soup.
Despite the harsh critique, he almost finished the bowl. I’ve decided to serve his over rice next time. This goes against all of my own memories of tomato soup, but serving it with rice is the least I can do for my son. Oliver’s memories of tomato soup involve rice, and I won’t deny him that.
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I’m headed to the Culinary Institute of America later this week for a 2-day bootcamp course on basic cooking skills. This is purely for fun, and I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I’m looking forward to the experience and to sharing it with you all, here, when I get back.
Also, I’ve decided to start a new blog, because I have so much spare time and all.* It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, and I hope it’s a worthwhile endeavor. If you’d like to check it out, it’s called Eating Despite Cancer. The blog is in its infancy, so please be patient with me. And if you have suggestions or comments, I’d really like to hear them.
Yield: Serves 6.
Roasted Tomato Soup
3 pounds tomatoes, halved
1 yellow onion, halved
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock (reduced-sodium, if using canned)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
On a half-sheet pan, place the tomato halves and onion halves, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and onion, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Roast for 50 minutes, then add the halved garlic cloves to the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes.
In a blender, puree the roasted vegetables and any collected pan juices until smooth. Add thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Puree again until well-blended.
Pour tomato puree into a large saucepan set over medium heat and stir in chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream at the end of cooking time, stirring well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.