August 28, 2008

Creamy Tomato Soup with Smoked Paprika

Creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese is a nostalgic meal for me. When I was young my mother and grandmother would serve them together always with pickles on the side. My mom was creative with her variations of cheese and bread. One of my favorite combinations she would make was Swiss cheese with Jewish rye. I'm sorry to say that I haven't really carried on this tradition. Alex can't have dairy and doesn't like tomato soup. I make him grilled Chreese sandwiches but skip the soup. I love tomato soup still but grilled cheese sandwiches just don't feel worth the calories. I'd rather have a cookie with a salad instead.

Well, I finally created a tomato soup worth making just to have a good bowl of soup. I was stuck with a bunch of over ripe tomatoes. It's so hard not to buy way too much when everything at the farmer's markets looks so nice. Plus, my own tomato plants are still producing like crazy. The tomatoes were way too soft for a salad so I came up with a quick tomato soup with smoked paprika. It was a great way to use up mushy tomatoes and I loved the smoky taste. I've made it twice more to figure out the ideal amount of paprika. My parents came over to help me finish off the plum dumplings and got a batch with way too much paprika, whoops! I use a little soy milk in the soup but cow's milk would do just fine instead. Today wasn't a great day for photography, hence the limited amount of pictures. It's cloudy and drizzling and perfect for a warm bowl of soup. I made Alex a grilled Chreese and had a slice of crusty bread with marinaded bocconcini on the side for myself. He thinks the soup "tastes too much like tomatoes" (duh) but I got him to try it by telling him it was just like ketchup. Maybe he'll like it after a few more times?

Creamy Tomato Soup with Smoked Paprika
Makes 2 large bowls

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
5 medium over ripe tomatoes, quartered
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (I used Dulce for this)
1/2 cup soy milk* (or cow's milk)
*I suggest Silk Enhanced Omega-3, it's one of the creamiest.

-Add the oil and garlic to a pot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the garlic is fragrant and starts to sizzle just a little. Don't brown or burn the garlic.
-Add the tomatoes, salt and paprika and cook on medium high for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to tomatoes to break down most of the way.
-Remove from heat and place the soup in a blender.
*If you've never blended hot liquid BEWARE. You need to crack the inner cap a small amount and cover it with a dishtowel. The spinning hot liquid will create a lot of steam and if you don't have a way to release it the top will blow off and cover you in pain. Also do NOT fill the blender more than halfway. If you choose to double the recipe or have a small blender do this step in smaller batches.
-Blend the soup until it reaches an even consistency.
-Add strain to remove the skins and seeds and add the soy milk.
-Add more soy milk and salt to achieve the desired seasoning and consistency. If the soup has cooled too much place it back in the pot and rewarm over medium heat. Optional: If the tomatoes aren't over ripe then you might want a pinch of sugar or a small amount of agave nectar.
-Serve hot with bread or grilled cheese/Chreese.

Abbie came to see what's cooking.