Today’s guest post is by Jami Curl, Owner of
Saint Cupcake QUIN PDX. Friends, you will LOVE her Tomato Soup recipe! And be sure to pair it with her amazingly awesome Cheese & Herb Pull Apart Bread and Who Doesn’t Love a Brownie? Cookie! In her own words…
I’ve always felt that one of the best things about having kids is that they serve as a great excuse for me to eat the way I want to eat without feeling guilty about it. Homemade macaroni and cheese on Wednesday followed by Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread on Thursday? No problem! Pancakes for dinner on Friday followed by French toast on Saturday morning? Totally acceptable. (You’re with me on this, right? Right?) As the saying goes, a baby changes everything, and that absolutely includes pre-baby habits of eating (boring!) salad greens and chicken breast for dinner four nights a week. (Now, if you tell me your kid happily eats salad greens and chicken breast for dinner four nights a week I am probably going to give you a medal. Then go right back to eating this bowl of spaghetti with meatballs.)
And, of course, when kids are around holidays are so much sweeter. Even Valentine’s Day: While the day of pink hearts and roses isn’t exactly high on my list of (actual) holidays, my kid loves it. The excitement builds at school with their special exchange of sweet notes and then he comes home expecting a spirit of celebration as well. So, each year I try to whip up a dinner that’s special without
being too much work. Something we can all enjoy, something that honors the fact that the calendar still says it’s winter. My favorite menu so far: Simple Tomato Soup with Cheese and Herb Pull-Apart Bread and rich brownie cookies.
The soup is our family go-to for simple tomato goodness. In fact, it’s such a standard in my life that we also serve it every Friday at my bakery. And the Cheese and Herb Pull-Apart Bread is a busy-person’s version of a similar savory delight so popular at the bakery. And the cookies? A little spin on something we like to call the Who Needs a Brownie? A super easy recipe that can be whipped up a few days in advance and then held in the refrigerator until baking time.
Wow your family on Valentine’s Day with this simple and warming meal. And if you have big plans for just you and your special someone that evening, save this meal for a night when the family needs a big hug in the form of food. (be sure to scroll to after the recipe for the links to the Cheese and Herb Pull-Apart Bread and cookie recipes!)
• This recipe is easily doubled for a larger crowd or for stocking the freezer.
• To freeze: Simply ladle the soup in to a freezer-safe container, label it with the date and freeze. To serve, let the container thaw in the fridge while you’re at work during the day (it will not thaw completely but enough that you can slide the frozen mass out of the container) and reheat.
• Look for cans of whole tomatoes that are labeled as BPA free. My favorite brand of canned tomatoes is Bionaturae.
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock you can use water in a pinch!
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup half & half or whole milk if you are not a half & half person
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a nonreactive soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and let cook until golden but
- nowhere near over-browning.
- Add the 2 cans of tomatoes and the stock.
- Put a lid on the pot and bring to a lively simmer. Let cook, lid on, for 15
- Remove the lid of the pot and allow the soup to simmer boldly for 15 more
- minutes without the lid. This will reduce the soup a bit and intensify the
- Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until no
- large pieces of onion or tomato remain.
- Once blended, pour in the half & half (or whole milk) and stir until
- completely incorporated.
- Return the pot to the heat and bring up to temperature then stir in the salt
- and pepper.
Tomato soup would not be complete without the addition of Cheese and Herb Pull-Apart Bread. Just the scent of the bread baking in the oven starts my tummy grumbling and my mouth watering! Serve a big bowl of this soup with nice hunks of pull-apart bread – dip the bread in the soup, don’t dip the bread in the soup but do enjoy this simple twist on a classic family favorite!
And for dessert: Who Needs a Brownie? Cookies. Cookies that are rich and chewy like brownies but offer the mix-ahead/bake later convenience of a cookie.
Jami Curl is the owner and chief baking officer of Portland’s Saint Cupcake. You can find her online at http://www.jamicurl.com.