Autumn also makes me think of warm, comforting foods. It's no secret that I love to cook - I think it's in my blood! I remember voluntarily signing up for a cooking class at my elementary school when I was a small child and I absolutely loved it. The cooking bug must have bit me hard way back then and has definitely stuck with me through the years.
At this time of year I'm facing a mound of produce from the garden that's ripening all at once. It can be somewhat overwhelming at times, since I do work full time and don't always have time to deal with it right then and there.
That's what weekends are for! I'll often spend a Sunday having what I call a "cooking marathon" where I'll produce some recipe en masse to be stored in the freezer for the months ahead.
This weekend it was Roasted Tomato Soup.
Because of this.
Check out all those gorgeous tomatoes!
To give you an idea of how big the pile really is....
And this is actually only the pile that is very ripe and needs to be used immediately! There's a whole other pile that is making it's way into other recipes this week.
So, what's a girl to do? I don't really can tomatoes, especially these small ones. However, I did just recently pick up a copy of a wonderful cookbook - The Sprouted Kitchen - A Tastier Take on Whole Foods - and while browsing through it I found a recipe for a Roasted Tomato Soup.
Of course, I can never leave well enough alone so I did a little google search for a similar recipe and found this version which is the one I ended up going with, for the most part. Minus the parmesan wafers, since it was destined for the freezer. And I'm pretty sure I had more than 4 lbs of tomatoes here so I just increased all the ingredients as I went along.
Easy Peasy, right?
So, I started with a bucket load of tomatoes and some large cloves of garlic (skin on), drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Popped them into the oven to roast according to the recipe directions.....only to find out my oven wouldn't go over 100 degrees. I guess it was on strike after me not using it all summer long?
So I put the broiler on low and roasted them that way. It worked fine.
And I have an appointment this weekend to find out what the heck is wrong with my oven.
But I digress.....
Look at those gorgeous roasted garlic cloves - oh, my!
I did tell you about my obsession with garlic, right?
And how I drove about an hour to the closest still-open farm stand in our area right before Christmas last year to pick up $50 dollars of organic garlic to last me through the winter?
It worked. I still have some, which I'll be planting shortly. But the garlic I used for this is the garlic we pulled out of our garden a couple of weeks back. It's amaaaaaazzzzziiinggggggg!!
Like, BIG TIME love.
Can you see the beauty of these awesome roasted tomatoes? This probably took about an hour on low broil. Same as it would have if my oven had been cooperative. Roasting tomatoes intensifies the sweetness and brings out a whole other dimension of flavor.
Next step was to let the tomatoes and garlic cool while I sauteed chopped onion with a little butter, a teaspoon of raw sugar, and about a teaspoon of dried oregano. Sauteed until soft and starting to turn golden.
Next came the chicken broth. I used low sodium, fat free broth that I had in the pantry. It's a staple in my house. Dump the tomatoes back in (along with all the drippings in the roasting pan) and the peeled (whole) garlic cloves and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Out comes the immersion blender (a MUST for anyone who likes to make soup! No, really!! Run out and buy one NOW!!)
And here's the finished product - gorgeous! The recipe called for putting it through a fine sieve but I didn't see the need. It's beautiful just the way it is. I also did not add any cream. I can always add a tiny bit at serving if I feel it needs it.
There's still a tiny bit of texture from the roasted skins and seeds but the immersion blender does such an amazing job of pureeing it down to such a smooth soup there is definitely no need to go any further.
That's 6 family portions and 1 lunch portion right there, heading for the freezer. How awesome is that?
All it needs now is a grilled cheese sandwich on the side and a sprinkle of parmesan.
And a cozy fire.
Bring on the cold. I'm ready!