So this month pretty much marks the end of the summer growing season in most places, but I have the suspicion that some of you gardeners out there might still have some tomatoes hanging around that you need to use up quickly before the first fall frost claims them. (Or maybe there are still some decent tomatoes to be had at the local farmers’ markets around? It’s worth checking!)
Either way, it’s definitely time to savor the end of those delicious summer veggies we’ve been enjoying these past months, and bid them goodbye until next summer. Summer is great for eating tomatoes bite by bite like an apple, sliced up on a sandwich, dropped into salads, and in cool, refreshing, gazpacho.
But what to do with them as we head towards the heart of the autumn season? Cook up a big pot of delicious tomato soup, I say! It’s warm, it’s savory, it’s a little spicy (if you like it that way) so it’s the perfect culinary transition from summer’s end into fall.
Before saying anything else, I need to confess something: I’ve never, EVER been much of a fan of tomato soup. But I now blame this wholly on the fact I had only tasted the canned stuff until I made it myself. (Thanks, Mom and Campbell’s.) The real deal is worlds and worlds better.
Start with some fresh, organic, and preferably local tomatoes, like these (straight from the garden):
Getting hungry? Here’s what you need:
- 6 cups of diced, peeled (unpeeled if you prefer) tomatoes (minus as many of the seeds as you can get out)
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced, with seeds removed
- 1 cup of onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- about a dozen or so fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup of cream (or to taste)
- sea salt, white pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- miniature mozarella balls (2-3 per serving)
Start by heating up the olive oil in a pan and then cooking the onions until they’re translucent over medium/medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
Toss the tomatoes, basil, and red pepper slices into a food processor and blend until smooth. (Process in batches, if necessary.)
Combine the tomato basil mixture with the garlic and onions in a pot, adding in the the fresh thyme, sea salt, white pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until soup cooks down some.
Add the cream, and heat on low until ready to serve.
Serve in bowls with 2-3 mozarella balls and a garnish of basil leaves.
What’s your favorite end-of-summer-into-fall recipe or food?