My husband built a few raised beds in our yard last summer with the help of some very kind and generous neighbors. We are sort of helpless in the DIY department so I’m not kidding when I say, “it takes a village.” We planted the standards such as tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, string beans and assorted lettuces and were rewarded with an assortment of fresh veggies all summer long.
Fall came around and we turned a neglectful eye to our faithful tract of fertile ground, leaving plants and unripened vegetables to rot in a very unaesthetic manner. Winter came and went (thankfully) and by the middle of spring our neglected beds were overcome with weeds but when we ventured outside to tend our little piece of God’s green acre we made an amazing discovery. More than half of those “weeds” were new tomato plants! That’s right, through our inexperience and, well, laziness we have enjoyed a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer. We can’t eat them fast enough.
I walked back into my kitchen this morning with about 2 pounds of tomatoes and a hankering for fresh tomato soup. Too lazy to search my cookbook library for a recipe, I decided to wing it using a sharp knife and a little bit of intuition. Here’s how I did it.
I like my tomato soup to have a bit of sweetness as well as an undertone of fresh herbs, so I caramelized 2 red onions, 2 small carrots, a rib of celery and 3 cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of evaporated cane sugar and a pinch of salt. While my base was simmering away I roughly chopped my tomatoes.
When the onion mixture was golden brown I added about ½ cup of dry white wine. I allowed that to reduce and added the tomatoes, 2 dry bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and enough water to barely cover. I brought the would-be soup to a boil and set it on the back burner to simmer away until reduced. Once it was sufficiently reduced I swirled in a tablespoon of Earth Balance (vegan buttery spread). I pureed the soup in batches and strained it for a light, velvety texture. (Feel free to add ½ - 1 cup of cooked brown rice for more body). Garnished with some shredded basil this soup is summer in a bowl.
I’d like to say I will treat my garden with more respect and tender loving care as the seasons change but laziness has never been so rewarding!