Wow. Things have been busy around here. Magazine shoots (yet to be published), restaurant shoots, food festival shoots, you name it and I’ve been pretty much doing it. As always, my blog falls by the wayside during these busy times and I find I always have a lingering sense of guilt in my gut for not posting recipes. I try to appease you with photos that offer a glimpse into my world when I’m not shooting a recipe for you, but it’s not the same, I know. With the weather turning my favorite shade of grey, however, it offers me much more time to make pictures in my kitchen (instead of rushing to beat the horridly colored bounce that the bright sunshine brings). So let’s hope that means you’ll be seeing more food photography and recipes on leek soup. Hurray!
Today I offer you an incredibly simple tomato basil soup recipe. There are a about kazillion versions of tomato basil soup floating around the internet, so I won’t necessarily claim this as my own, but there’s really no one to credit either.
The second recipe is lifted directly out of the pages of (as usual, I know) Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce. The only think I tweaked was the flour (used whole wheat instead of all-purpose) and the milk (used almond instead of whole) so the recipe is fully Kim’s. You will love these crackers. Kim has a nifty trick of grating perfectly (and I mean perfect) boiled egg yolks in the flour mix to create a moist and tender center in the cracker. Just delicious and goes oh so perfectly with tomato basil soup.
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Tomato season is just about at a close, but I think you could easily make this entirely with high quality canned tomatoes.
2 lbs ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Generous pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1 1/2 cups shallots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 quart chicken stock
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Slice your tomatoes in half and toss them with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the tomatoes out in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
Warm the rest of the olive oil and the butter in a soup pot or dutch oven.
Add the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions turn brown and are starting to char a bit. About 10 minutes.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock.
Add the roasted tomatoes including the juices and oil on the cookie sheet.
Bring to a boil and let simmer, uncovered, for 4o minutes.
Ladle small batches of the soup into a blender and purée to desired consistency.
Serve warm or cold.
Adapted from Kim Boyce’s Bird Crackers, Good to the Grain
Once you boil eggs Kim’s way, you’ll never go back.
1 1/2 cups barley flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup almond milk
1 egg for egg wash
Poppy and sesame seeds
Coarse sea salt
Fill a small saucepan with cold water and place eggs in the pan.
Bring the eggs to a boil, turn off heat, and let rest for 18 minutes.
After 18 minutes is up, rinse the eggs in cold water and place in an ice bath.
Warm your oven to 450 degrees
Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and seeds in to a large bowl. Toss in any seeds and bits of flour sitting at the bottom of the sifter.
Using your hands, add the butter to the dry mix and rub until the butter is the size of peas.
Peel your eggs and toss the whites.
Using a micro plane, gently grate the yolks into the dry mix.
Add the almond milk and stir until just combined.
Scrape out your dough onto a generously floured work surface.
Fold it a few times to bring all the bits together, but don’t knead.
Roll out the dough until it’s about a 1/4 inch thick.
The dough will be crumbly and dry but just use your fingers to help press all the broken bits together.
Use a biscuit cutter or a knife to cut out your crackers and place on a parchment lined baking sheets.
Whisk the egg into an egg wash and gently brush each cracker twice. Dust with seeds and coarse sea salt.
Bake in the oven for 10 -15 minutes rotating halfway through.