Friday, October 10, 2008


French Style Tomato Soup

Last weekend took a bite out of me.

It all started innocently enough.

An invitation to a birthday party, a few beers, (my commitment to eating local ends at beverages you must understand) a couple of shots of who-knows-what, a scandalously short skirt and one reckless piggy-back ride, all conspired to land the Ombudsman in the hospital getting stitches at 3 am.

Poor, sweet man. Bled like a stuck pig he did. (Sorry, icky, right?) And after the doctor had his way, he looked remarkably like Frankenstein’s Monster. (With a nicer smile.)

Bless his heart. And his noggin.

Oh. Sweet love. (Thank GOODNESS he never reads this. I swear he would kill me for gettin all gushy. But I’m a girl. And a friend. So there you go.) Needless to say, my guilt is paramount and my heart is heavy and the poor boy is a bit shamed and ego-battered (but enviously well insured! The pay as a city worker may be sputtery but heavens does that insurance rock!) well...all that called for soup.

But what kind at this crux of the seasons?

Looking around the farmers market the next day, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. There were tomatoes and pumpkins. Corn and persimmons. Basil and beets. End of summer, beginning o fall. Which to choose? The last of the warm summer harvest or the new and exciting autumn delights?

I opted for both by making a nourishing tomato soup to offer a bruised and battered man. Summery tomatoes in a warm bowl. The orange and fennel and tomato melding in to a perfect meal.

Fresh and spry, simple and delicious. Very quick (quicker than most of my recipes!) Perfect for what ails you or just the right thing for a lovely luncheon…So try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

(As you can see from the photo I did not include the croutons. I mean, I did, but we ate them before the shot was taken...)

1 small baguette, sliced on the bias (yeilding 12 slices. save the rest for something else)
olive oil
1/4 stick butter
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 small fennel bulb, coarse chop
1 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 small tomatoes, cored and rough chopped
1 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
3 cups vegetable broth
Optional garnish (lower calorie if you skip it)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 more teaspoons orange zest

Preheat oven to 350F.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the bread. Season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until crisp, to make croutons.

In a food processor, chop the onion, fennel, carrot and garlic.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients. Cover and simmer vegetables 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk cream, rosemary and 1 teaspoon orange zest in bowl until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir remaining 1 teaspoon orange zest into soup. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle cream mixture over and serve with a few croutons.

(For those of you following my eat-local-ism...the bread was local artisan made, but obviously not with local ingredients. Everything else came from the Hollywood Farmers market or my own garden.)

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking"

A 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans contains about 1 1/2 cups beans, after draining and rinsing. One cup dried beans yields about 3 cups cooked beans.

Order your Montery Bay Aquarium
Sushi Pocket Guide now! So "you’ll be able to make seafood choices that please the palate and protect the world’s ocean wildlife."

Restaurants in Los Angeles that I have a hard time Googling: Eat. Local. 8 oz. Food. 15. Milk. (Couldn't find links for some. Because their names are dumb! You try searching for "Food restaurant in West LA" or "Local restaurant on Sunset blvd.") Any to add?

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My kind of tomato soup!
Well the soup does sound delicious, and comforting! Hope all is okay now.
Poor man has been wearing a beanie (indoors and out) for a week. Stitches are out and aside from feeling like a goof...he's fine. Thanks!
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