This Soup is Smokin’

Tomato soup is one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  In my opinion, comfort food needs to have the ability to be made quickly in order to eat it when you want it the most.  I know plenty of recipes for tomato soup that call for roasting them in an oven and sautéing multiple ingredients together to reach the desired flavor.  I, on the other hand, would like to keep comfort food simple.  This recipe has very few steps and ingredients. The tomatoes have their own sweetness and creaminess and therefore it takes very little to make it very delicious.  I used liquid smoke to give the tomato soup it’s signature toasty flavor….in virtually one second! 
Next time you have a craving for tomato soup (and how about some grilled cheese?!) open up a few cans or slice a few tomatoes and let your immersion blender do the rest!


Smokey Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 4

4 Cups Tomatoes (Fresh or Diced in Can), with juices
1 – 6 Oz. Jar Tomato Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbs. White Miso Paste
1/2 Tsp. Back Pepper
1 Tsp. Basil, dried
1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
1/4 Tsp. Liquid Smoke
Optional Toppings: Sour Cream, Bread Croutons, Arugula, Basil

Pour in a pot the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, pepper and basil.  Heat through.  When the tomatoes begin to simmer turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender or vitamix till smooth.  Add the milk and smoke and blend until desired consistency has been reached.  Ladle into bowls and garnish.  This soup may be served hot or cold.

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

I just returned back from Israel about a week ago and I have been thinking about so many wonderful Israeli dishes and food I ate on my vacation.  The one theme that keeps going through my mind is “Fresh.” Everything we ate, from vegetable and fruit, to fish, poultry and meat…it was all fresh!
 
We traveled all around Israel, mouth, nose and eyes wide open, experiencing as much as we could in the short amount of time we were there.  We went to two market places, one called Machane Yehuda (The center of Jerusalem) and the other Shuk HaCarmel (the center of Tel Aviv/Yaffo).  Both are filled with produce that has literally just been picked from the fields and baked goods you can smell a mile away.  In the crevices of the long rows and the aisle of little shops, lay some of the best products and produce you would ever find! We witnessed the process of making techina (tahini), freshly ground sesame seeds that were made into a paste with morter and stone, we tasted the smoothest halvah, smelled the freshly baked laffa and pita, stood mesmerized while watching our lunch of fresh pasta being kneaded, rolled out and boiled, watched and tasted fruit and vegetable juice combinations squeezed right in front of our eyes,  we were privy to see the largest collection of kosher cheeses and so much more!

This week I haven’t had one day pass without making a classic Israeli salad.  The flavor of the vegetables we have in our supermarkets don’t even compare to the flavors in Israel, but they are still delicious and tasty! 

Israel is no doubt the inspiration for this dish.  We must have eaten watermelon everyday of our trip.   The combination of tomatoes and watermelon are such a perfect match and meld so beautifully with the feta cheese, creating a beautiful and fruity salad as a snack or with fish as a main course.   I know you will enjoy this fantastically fresh salad!

 


Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad
6 C. Watermelon, cubed
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 C. Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
8 Oz. Feta, crumbled
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbs. Fresh Mint, chopped (more for garnish)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Serve cold.