I just have too many cookbooks. I pulled this one out the other day: Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by The Moosewood Collective. I've always considered it one of my favorite books, but if truth be told, I've only ever tried to make a handful of things (or less). This cookbook concentrates on soups and salads, and is mostly vegetarian (some seafood). I have earmarks throughout, but I haven't actually made most of the recipes that have been marked (shame on me!). I've had the book for more than 10 years, so I really have no excuses.
Anyway, I revisited this cookbook with a new approach: I've been playing things relatively safe (food-wise), and I want to try some new flavors - things that might not actually have cheese in them (I'm discovering that I may be lactose-intolerant, for one - I'm sure I'll be discussing that at some point, but for now I'm trying to forget...). Ok, new but also familiar - you know? I mean, I did bookmark the "Caribbean Sweet Potato Coconut Soup", and it does sound really good - but lets not get crazy just yet - I mean, the goal is for Picky to at least try it, right? I might have to work up to some of the more interesting recipes...
And that's why I landed on "Jamaican Tomato Soup". Picky already likes tomato soup, although I admit that I don't usually make it - I buy the boxed version - Pacific Natural Foods makes a good roasted red pepper and tomato soup that Picky accepts, so I haven't bothered to come up with my own recipe. There is one other tomato soup that we've tried, at a restaurant nearby, and we all love it - and I have to say that this recipe comes very close to the flavors in that soup, but without all the cream.
Of course, I've modified it a little, because I can't seem to leave things alone...
Jamaican Tomato Soup
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup chopped onions (ok, I need to admit something here - I hardly ever measure stuff like this...I figure that 1 medium onion equals about 1 cup chopped...and 2 big glugs of olive oil is about 2 Tbsp - I mean, soup isn't a science, you know?
- 4 14.5 oz cans of tomato, undrained (the original recipe called for 3 cups fresh and 3 cups canned tomatoes, but it's winter, ok? I realize that boxed tomatoes would probably be better here, considering the stuff they use to make cans, but I haven't made the switch. I'm sure you can figure out the portions if you use something else - just think "6 cups")
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I surprised myself and actually measured this - it was much less than I thought it would be...)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or juice from one big juicy lemon)
- 1 Tbsp grated orange peel (I zested one large orange)
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (please use flat leaf here...curly parsley isn't really food...)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- chopped fresh basil, parsley, or scallions
- curried croutons (I didn't do this, but they do have a recipe for it if anyone is interested...)
- nasturtium blossoms (sounds pretty, but unnecessary...)
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, the basil, sugar, lemon juice, and orange peel, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove 1-2 cups of the tomato mixture and set aside. Add the orange juice, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper to the soup pot and puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender in batches) until smooth (be careful here - this tends to splash). Add the reserved tomato mixture for texture, or just use it as a garnish for those who like a little texture (in other words, not Picky).
- Serve hot, topped with chopped basil, parsley, or scallions and with Curried Croutons (like I said, I skipped the croutons)
- Another variation that worked for me: I added a swirl of half-and-half to Picky's bowl (because I had some in the fridge from some other recipe...). It cut the acidity a bit and made it more palatable to her...
According to the recipe, this is also good cold (in summer, I imagine...).
Picky did try this, and proclaimed it "delicious!", although she then ignored it and ate her quesadilla. But still. I thought it was delicious. And really simple. And I love delicious and simple. She'll come around. At least she didn't say "Yuck!", right?