You know what’s very necessary and lovely in this horrible and unlovely weather? Tomato soup. As evidenced by the fact that I made it twice in 24 hours.
Actually, chunky Indian-spiced tomato soup!
Let’s rewind. I had selfishly escaped my cold house and arrived to stay with the gang, and it was Thursday, and that means potluck.
This week we had a theme: Things Stuffed in Things. I had helped come up with the idea but obviously my de-electrified kitchen meant I couldn’t contribute as much as I liked.
So, I opened my freezer as quickly as I possibly could and yanked out these, an impulse HMart purchase:
An large, dome shaped food with an outer shell that was purple (taro flour?) but basically tasted like a less firm bagel.
People seemed a little weirded out by them, so I cut them into appetizer-sized portions.
The inside? Sweet potato!
As an additional appetizer (and a welcome serving of vegetables, which are always a bit in short supply at potuck), I made that tomato soup. More on that in a bit!
Steve made mulled wine, or “glugg”. Have I adequately imparted his obsession with Scandinavia in this blog? Doubtful.
Anyway, it’s traditionally made with almonds but he used leftover salted macadamia nuts… yeah, probably not the best substitution.
Patricia’s boyfriend Ryan made pigs in a blanket, which he took to the next level (not that hot dogs and crescent rolls aren’t already bliss inducing) by adding American cheese. Wowza.
Very early on in the meal he ate like… seven. And then seemed to feel very ill and didn’t talk very much after that.
Carolyn made completely magnificent stuffed shells.
This was one of the THREE trays she made (because she is awesome.) They had squash, peppers, onions, tomatoes… I don’t know what else. Drenched in an awesome, olive-oil-rich tomato sauce. With cheese. And herbs.
She is amazing.
This was also a serious week for dessert.
Erin is AWESOME and made AMERICORPS PIE! Part of our employment is always wearing this logo on our body:
Even more American than Americorps? Apple pie :D Sooooooo good.
Also, Patricia made almond cupcakes, which she displayed in these completely ridiculous cupcake holders her mom gave her.
But wait! This is “Things stuffed in things” week!
Thus, the inside contained NUTELLA. AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH.
So, so, so good.
Erin models the rest of the evening’s festivities, which included truly bizarre wine juice boxes (which can be found at Target and are, per the box, “perfect for picnics or the beach!”) and Apples to Apples.
I was also impressed with the artistry of Erin’s plating. Homegirl was a painting major.
Right okay so enough excess, back to this tomato soup.
Back home Friday night, feeling sickly, feeling guilty about abandoning my mother in the cold, I decided that what would be better than… more tomato soup!
This time properly documenting the methodology (if not the exact quantity of ingredients).
When I envisioned this I knew I wanted tomato soup and I knew how delicious I found tomato as an ingredient in curries with Indian spices.
So, I began by sauteing both onions and minced fresh ginger in oil.
Then I added my spices. Cooks Illustrated taught me this: heat makes your spices more intense and flavorful. If you add them to something liquid that’s boiling (like a soup that’s already been put together), the hottest they can get is 212 degrees, the temperature of boiling water. If, however, you toast ‘em in the pan, you can get them like 500 degrees, thus considerably amping up your flavor potential. Thus, the toasting.
I used these, with a ton of paprika, fair amount of cumin, little bit of cinnamon, and just a hint of curry:
(the first time I made it I was at Steve’s apartment and just rummaged through his cupboard. Glad I did, because he is on a cumin kick- he puts it in tomato sauce, fried rice, everything, because he is Steve and goes through food phases- and cumin MADE it).
The first time I made it I grabbed the most convenient and obvious cans on my shelf, which were:
We always have fire roasted tomatoes and the condensed soup was all Malindi (my sister, who’s considerably less preoccupied on fresh vegetables than I).
And they were so good that I just repeated the exact same thing the second time.
Let everyone combine (mix the condensed soup with water, of course) and let it cook down til the flavors have melded. Finish with a lotta black pepper.
I served up my mama’s with grilled cheese, just because duh, tomato soup and grilled cheese.
I fried it in butter. Grilled cheese is just not good if you don’t fry it in butter. If you don’t want to fry it in butter, just don’t make grilled cheese.
I, suffering from a troubled tummy, ate my bowl(s) with my current favorite tea which combines ginger and turmeric (!). It soothes your stomach, warms you to the core, and convinces you that all the beneficial spices you are ingesting will undoubtedly prolong your life, like those of the yogis in India who live to be 120.
Tea and sympathy. And soup!