Monday, March 2, 2009
Tomato Better Than Campbell's, I Promise
I write this post from the dark cave of my bed. When it rains, people say something like, "it rained buckets". What do people say when it snows that much? What does snow fill up? Cones? Shovels? Who knows... Anyway, there's a ton of snow on the ground. So I doubt I'll be going anywhere today. Sure, I have a ton of reading to do, but in general Meg tradition, I plan on doing some cooking or baking first. I think I will try to make carrot cupcakes, continuing my mission to make something good--really good, out of alternative sweetener. Something upstanding.
But first I'd like to share with you a quick soup meal I made last night. I was introduced to this soup by my friend, Rebecca, who makes a very similar version to the one below. It's a tomato soup, way better than anything that comes out of a box or can. I especially like making soups that do not require the use of stocks, because I can be very impulsive with my cooking, and if I don't have a stock on hand, I don't want that to be an impediment to creating something lovely in the moment. The last time I made this stockless soup it was more brothy, but this time I added some tomato paste to thicken it up a bit, and I am pleased with the results: nice, simple soup that is both tasty and hearty. Have it with some crusty bread, a grilled cheese, or alone. It is very good all ways.
"Quick" Tomato Soup Meal
2 T extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed or diced
4 rosemary sprigs
2-3 c cooked chickpeas
1 16-oz can or box diced tomatoes, with their juice
3 c water
1/4 c tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
3 c cooked orzo pasta
In a large saucepan or small to medium stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic. With 2 of the rosemary sprigs, remove stems and roughly chop leaves. Leave the other 2 sprigs alone. Add the chopped rosemary leaves to the garlic in oil. Be sure not to brown the garlic (eh, if you do, it's not the end of the world).
Stir in the chickpeas.
Add the tomatoes and juice.
If you're using canned tomatoes, you can refill the can with water 1 1/2 times and dump into the soup pot. Otherwise you can just add 3 c water. Stir. Add the tomato paste and the two remaining whole sprigs of rosemary to the pot.
Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, and leave uncovered. I cook the soup for the amount of time it takes me from this point to boil a new pot of water for the orzo and cook it. When the orzo is done, the soup is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, spoon some orzo into the bottom of the bowl. Ladle some soup, being sure to bring up chickpeas from the bottom, on top of the pasta. There you have it! Great tomato soup meal.
*If you eat it with grilled cheese, the soup makes a wonderful dipping apparatus for your sandwich!