Left-Brain / Right-Brain Cookery

A double-take in the kitchen

Two Tomato Soups

Two Tomato Soups

Two Tomato Soups

LEFT BRAIN: Fresh Tiny-Tomato Soup

Bite-size tomatoes are sweeter and have a thinner skin than their larger cousins. Early autumn’s profusion of red pear, orange cherry, red cherry, and tiny currant tomatoes from my garden result in several batches of this deliciously creamy soup.

Plum tomatoes, which Italians use for sauce, are a good alternative to tiny tomatoes as are meaty beefsteaks. But like all tomatoes, make sure they are tasty ripe. The big advantage here is that there is no peeling or seeding of the tomatoes.

Short-grain Arborio rice thickens the soup and creates the same creamy texture for the soup as it does for risotto.

Makes 4 servings, about 4 cups (1 L)

3-4 cups (450-600 g) tiny tomatoes or diced plum or beefsteak tomatoes
1 tbsp (14g) butter
1/2 cup (100 g) diced onion
1 stalk (55g) celery, sliced
1 clove garlic, cut in half
2 cups (500 mL) chicken broth
2 tbsp (25g) short-grain Arborio rice

  1. Wash tomatoes and remove any stems. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until onion is opaque. Add tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat so soup just simmers for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
  2. Puree soup in a blender or food processor. Place a sieve over saucepan. Strain soup and get the last bit of goodness by pressing solids against the mesh until somewhat dry; discard solids.
  3. Reheat soup; taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Ladle into warm soup bowls. Garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley or snipped chives. Alternately float crisp croutons or drizzle heavy whipping cream on the soup.
  4. Make ahead: refrigerate the soup immediately after sieving. Covered and kept chilled, soup keeps for 2 days or more. This soup freezes very well. Defrost and whisk while reheating for smoothest texture.

    Joanna’s Comments:
    It’s great that the soup is velvety and delicious without cream especially as at this time of year I realize that after a summer’s worth of entertaining at the cottage, my bathing suit is not fitting as well as it did in the spring!

    RIGHT BRAIN: Gazpacho

    Few things bespeak summer’s bounty better than tomatoes pairing up with other vegetables to make a satisfying soup. In the winter make this with canned unsalted tomatoes.
    Gazpacho comes in many forms, but this swiftly made blender soup variety will become a family favourite.

    Makes 6 to 7 cups (1.5-1.75 L)

    1 medium English cucumber (or peel and seed the local thick-skinned variety)
    1 medium green or red pepper, seeded
    2-4 cloves garlic
    2 tsp (10 g) salt
    1/3 cup (150 mL) olive oil
    1/4 cup (60 mL) red wine vinegar
    2 lb (I Kg) very ripe tomatoes

    Blend well and serve cold after all the flavours have been allowed to meld for a few hours in the refrigerator. Pass small bowls of finely-diced vegetables, chopped hard-boiled egg and crumbled crisp bacon for people to add their own garnish.

    Marilyn’s comments:
    This gazpacho is enjoyable in any season. In winter for an easy dinner, I pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches on pumpernickel bread and serve apple crisp for dessert. In warm weather it is a delightful starter for a barbecued meal; I serve it in mugs, as we are sitting and chatting on our screen porch.


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