Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tomato Soup...

Just before the fires last week, my parents shipped two large boxes of New Jersey tomatoes to me – the last of the season. When the fires closed the Post Office (and we were evacuated), the delivery that should have been made last Tuesday or Wednesday was delayed until this Tuesday – an entire week late.

My mother was sure that the content of the boxes would have putrified by then, but when Debbie picked up the boxes, she discovered that most of the tomatoes were fine. In fact, most of them weren't even completely ripe yet. So I set them aside for a few days to let them fully ripen. The few that ripened earliest disappeared into a few evening snacks of tomato salads and tomato sandwiches. Lovely things, they were.

But they don't hold a candle to what I did with the remaining 16 dead-ripe New Jersey tomatoes today: I made a large batch of Boston-style cream of tomato soup. Debbie, our best friend Jim, and I gorged ourselves with two gigantic bowls of this delectable concoction; it was our dinner tonight. The recipe was simple enough – I'd never made this particular style before, but there wasn't much that could go wrong. The base of the soup is a puree of the tomatoes (with some carrots and onions) and a little whipping cream for texture and body. The tomato flavor is enhanced with a strong component of fresh thyme, plus parsely and fresh-ground pepper. The result was right up there with the very best tomato soups I've ever had.

I made about six quarts of soup; there is only about a pint left. All three of us are sloshing as we walk. But we have smiles on our faces…that soup was good enough to make us wonder if it might not be a controlled substance!

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