Monday, February 4, 2008

A Bowl-full

In the month of February I am plotting two things: a jaunt to warmer weather to thaw my chilled body, and when I am back in the deep freeze a bowl of soothing pleasure. There are days when I can put a pot on the stove at eight o’clock in the morning, and spend a lazy day watching movies, puttering around the house contemplating that closet that needs to be organized.

A house full of aromatic notes dancing to the rhythmic holler of a winter’s wind tempers my disdain for these cold months. But then there are days when I need a quick and easy dose of love, and tomato soup always takes me there. It must be the memories I have as a child having canned tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches that never failed to satisfy a deep internal need.

Now, as an adult and self-proclaimed food snob I cannot imagine opening that red and white labeled can to serve up that moment. Fortunately, tomato soup is a fast and easy cure, and given I have a freezer with bags of frozen summer ripeness my tomato soup takes on heights that only a day on the beach can surpass.

Tomato Soup – yields approx. 6 servings

4 pounds tomatoes – skins removed (or, 26 ounces canned tomatoes)
2 shallots – roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves – roughly chopped
6 to 8 curry leaves
1 inch piece ginger – peeled
1/4-cup quinoa
1 lime - juiced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, curry leaves and ginger in a blender and process until very smooth.

Pour the pureed tomato mixture plus 1 cup of water into a 2-1/2 quart saucepan, and bring to a boil over a medium low flame. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to low, then stir in the quinoa, cover, and cook the soup for an additional twenty minutes. Season with limejuice, salt and pepper, and serve.

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