Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeding your indecision and optimism, one slurp at a time

Update: Now including the poem in comments!

I just spent thirty minutes digging through an ancient e-mail account trying to find a poem written for me long ago by my dear friend Allie. The poem was called "You Are My Tomato Soup," and was an ode to the comfort of a long lasting friendship. I think she wrote the poem in early college (or maybe it was late high school, in which case my e-mail searches were always going to be fruitless). Whenever it was brought into the world, I tacked it onto my bedroom wall and it moved with me for years. No doubt it's now in a box of lovely paper things that were also on various bedroom walls over the years. The wall posting is what matters with this poem, not the exactly timing, because the fact is, Allie and I have been friends since elementary school, and with that kind of history, it's okay to lose the specifics a bit.

(I write this knowing full well that if Allie drops by for a visit one day and sees this post, she'll remember exactly when she wrote "You Are My Tomato Soup" and could probably recite it on the spot. The woman's memory knows no bounds.)

I'm thinking about tomato soup this morning because I've fallen for a new recipe, even though it strikes me that new tomato soup recipes are almost besides the point. The dish is one of comfort; it soothes with a steadfast presence. We wouldn't want a new tomato soup recipe to shake our moorings too much; we look to other dishes for that kind of inspiration. But for times when you want the soothing nature of tomato soup and a little spunky conviction running through it (in the form of, say, sriracha sauce), this is your soup. I think it's best eaten in times of indecision, when you're most in need of a jolt of spicy optimism.

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup
from "Michael Symon's Live To Cook" by Michael Symon

Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue cheese*

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a three-fingered pinch of salt and sweat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice and the stock and bring to a simmer with a small pinch of salt. Add the cream, sriracha sauce, and oregano and simmer for 45 minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender, add the blue cheese, and blend until smooth, working in batches if needed. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot, taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and reheat to serve. The soup will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for a few days. (My note: Or buy an immersion blender - I have a cheap Kitchenaid that works beautifully - and puree the soup right in the pan, and don't bother with any of the pouring or straining.)

*This cheese is available at Central Market, if you're in Texas. If you can't find it, look for the creamiest blue cheese available (buttermilk is best), or try a creamy gorgonzola if you're my sister and think you hate all blue cheese, even when melted amidst other flavors in soup form. Hmph.
**Credit for finding this soup goes to the Amateur Gourmet


  1. Tell me about your immersion blender. I registered for an awesome one at WS, then no one bought it for me- I assume no one know what it was.

  2. Oh, and the soup sounds super good. I eat tomato soup constantly, and apparently say "tomay-toe soooop!" in such a way that Hubs feels the need to exclaim it whenever I mention the word tomatoes, dinner or soup.

  3. Can't get enough tomato soup recipes! With my husband’s work schedule I often cook for myself and I usually make soup – most often tomato or roasted cauliflower. Thanks for a new addition!

  4. Hey Samma - You probably registered for the Breville, which is the best on the market and priced that way. I considered that one, but decided I'd start at the low end first, since the bulk of what I'd be using it for was simple soup pureeing, as with this recipe. I bought this Kitchenaid on Amazon and love it: http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KHB100ER-Hand-Blender-Empire/dp/B00008GSA5/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1257871901&sr=8-2. I can't tell you how much easier it makes soups and sauces, especially since I use an enormous (and enormously heavy) dutch oven that would make pouring hot liquids a major hassle.

    On that note, I was going to do a post soon for EAD Living summing up some of my kitchen must-haves, so I'll let you know when it's there.

  5. This sounds heavenly. Any ideas to sub for heavy cream? Super sensitive tum no likey.

  6. I would rather enjoy reading that poem about tomato soup :)

    So I LOVE my immersion blender!! I am definitely going to check out this recipe. That added blue cheese sounds divine!

  7. I'm up for the challenge:

    From: Allie Lee
    Sent: Sunday, December 07, 1997 10:54 AM
    To: Maggie Adams
    Subject: Tomato Soup

    You are my tomato soup-
    The most inviting of all sustenance.
    Sometimes you are cheesy,
    And you bring a mirthful joy
    into my life.
    But I appreciate you most for your essentials-Your warmth and smoothness,
    Your soothing coating which
    Never hesitates to protect,
    And delighting chunks of personality
    Always rising to the surface--
    I greet them all with a spoonful of spark.
    You, my friend adorned who
    Needs no adornments,
    You are my tomato soup.

    Thank you for your hospitality, my dear dear Maggie.

  8. ALLIE!!!!

    I KNEW you would have this. How amazing. Totally happy-crying over here. 'Cheesy' indeed!!

    Love, love, love you!

  9. That poem is the sweetest, I love it! And the soup looks amazing, obviously. Love, an ex-blue-cheese-hater

  10. Sounds yummy. Question (which may demonstrate my culinary ineptitude) for you - what is sriracha sauce?

  11. No worries, Kelly! Sriracha is an Asian hot sauce. It's pretty readily available (Whole Foods usually has it), and has a recognizable bottle. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sriracha_sauce


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